Cable company to hire 20K workers over 4 years

FILE - This April 1, 2015, file photo, shows a Charter Communications van in St. Louis. Charter Communications is closing on its $67 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The deals make Charter the second-largest home Internet provider and third-largest video provider in the U.S. Charter says its Spectrum brand will replace the Time Warner Cable and Bright House brands over the next 18 months or so. The name Time Warner will eventually be phased out and the company will be known as Charter Communications. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) —President Donald Trump on Friday 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.

RELATED: Reports: Time Warner Cable, Charter overcharging customers

Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge, after meeting with Trump in the Oval Office, credited the administration’s call to reduce regulations and corporate tax rates for the hiring decision. But the uncertainty about replacing former President Barack Obama’s health care law has raised concerns among investors about whether the administration can also deliver tax reform. Whether the administration completes tax reform, Rutledge said to reporters, 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.

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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