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Trump touts jobs commitment made during Obama era

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    From left, Reed Cordish, Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge, left the White House in Washington, today, to talk to reporters following their meeting with President Donald Trump.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott listened, at left, as Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge spoke to reporters outside the White House in Washington, today, after meeting with President Donald Trump.

WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump today praised a plan by cable company Charter Communications to hire 20,000 American call center workers. But the hiring initiative dates back to 2015 as part of the company’s successful efforts to merge with Time Warner Cable.

It’s the latest corporate jobs announcement made at the White House that capitalized on plans made before Trump won the presidency. Other major companies including General Motors and Ford have allowed Trump to take credit for job decisions that either pre-date his election or involve market forces outside the administration’s direct control.

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge had said at an investment conference in December 2015 that the company would have to make about 20,000 hires once it acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House to bring outsourced jobs in-house.

But after meeting with Trump in the Oval Office today, Rutledge credited the administration’s call to reduce regulations and corporate tax rates for contributing to the hiring decision. He went on to say that uncertainty over whether the administration can deliver those corporate tax cuts — in light of the muddle this week over replacing former President Barack Obama’s health care law — could influence the company’s hiring commitment.

As part of the 20,000 jobs to be added over four years, Rutledge said the company will also invest $25 billion and open a new call center in McAllen, Texas, that will employ 600 workers. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also attended the meeting.

Charter spokesman Justin Venech said the company previously had no timeframe for hiring the 20,000 workers. The company said today that it would happen over four years. Venech also said the $25 billion investment was new, although market analysts were expecting the company to spend roughly $30 billion on capital expenditures, such as buying cable boxes and maintaining its network, through 2020.

Call center jobs at Charter have a base pay of $14 an hour and total annual compensation of nearly $29,000, according to the jobs site Glassdoor.

Trump says the plans will be great for American workers, telling Rutledge, “You watch, it will be one of your really fantastic decisions.”

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