Abbott, Trump laud jobs plan unveiled last year,
But cable company says president still deserves credit for its confidence.
Flanked by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and top executives of Charter Communications, President Donald Trump on Friday lauded and took some credit for the broadband company’s plans to hire about 20,000 U.S. workers — including 600 for a bilingual call center in McAllen — although much of the expansion had been announced before his election.
“We’re embracing a new economic model — the American model,” Trump said during the White House meeting. “You are going to see thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs and companies and everything coming back into our country.”
The president said Charter has now joined many other companies “that have recently announced billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs coming into the United States following my election victory.”
Abbott also gave Trump credit on Friday.
“First, I’m proud of you,” he told the president. “We have a president who is living up to his campaign promises, and that is to create more jobs but also to create more jobs by returning jobs from overseas back to the United States.”
Abbott said the McAllen call center is a “win for the president, it’s a win for Charter and it’s a win for the great state of Texas.”
Charter, based in Stamford, Conn., has had plans for a number of years to relocate its international call centers back to the U.S., which it has said would create 20,000 new U.S. jobs, and it also unveiled plans last August for its first bilingual call center in McAllen. Trump was elected president in November and took office in January.
But the company said Friday that Trump rightfully deserves credit because, in addition to its hiring plans, it now intends to invest about $25 billion in new
infrastructure in the U.S. It noted that it previously hadn’t put a monetary estimate or a time frame around its infrastructure investment but now intends to complete it and the hiring within four years.
“It’s due to the confidence we have in the deregulatory policies of the administration and the FCC,” Charter spokesman Justin Venech said.
Last August, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said during a conference call with financial analysts that the company had “already begun in-sourcing efforts” that “will require that we hire 20,000 people, train them, and equip them with trucks, tools and test equipment, and house them in new and expanded facilities,” according to a transcript of the call.
Rutledge said then that the process “has already started, as we are building Charter’s first Spanish-language call center in McAllen, Texas, with approximately 600 seats,” according to the transcript.
On Friday, Rutledge repeated much of those plans as he stood beside Trump, who was seated at his desk, with the addition of the $25 billion figure and the fouryear time period.
“We’re excited about the opportunity in the right regulatory climate and the right tax climate to make major infrastructure investments,” Rutledge said.
He and other Charter executives who participated in the event Friday said the McAllen call center will open next month, and about 100 people already have been hired for it.
The call center eventually will employ about 600 people and be Charter’s first bilingual facility, they said.
Call center jobs at Charter pay $15 an hour, on average, and also come with healthcare benefits, retirement accounts and discounted or complimentary Spectrum cable service, according to the company.
Charter bought Time Warner Cable last year in an estimated $55 billion deal. Rutledge said Friday that about half of the calls coming into Time Warner were being handled by international call call centers, but said Charter is in the process of relocating all of them to the U.S.
A spokesman for Abbott’s office did not respond Friday to a request for comment.
‘We’re excited about the opportunity in the right regulatory climate and tax climate.’ Tom Rutledge Charter CEO
Gov. Greg Abbott listens at left as Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington on Friday, after meeting with President Donald Trump. Charter has long planned to return outsourced call center jobs to the United States.