Trump, Charter's Rutledge Hail Call Center Repatriation, Investment

Charter chairman Tom Rutledge was in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump Friday to talk up the company's repatriation of Time Warner Cable call center jobs, something it pledged in its deal to merge with the company, as well as a big infrastructure investment in the new regulatory climate.

The President praised the company, its executives, and the $25 billion Charter was pledging to make in infrastructure investment, as well as the 20,000 U.S. workers Charter said it would be hiring over the next four years as it was completely ending offshore call centers, a move the President called "such a big deal."

Charter pledged to repatriate the call centers as part of the Time Warner Cable deal, but it has now committed to a time frame and put some numbers to the effort, which clearly pleased the President, as did the infrastructure pledge. 

The first new call center is in McAllen, Texas, with 600-plus jobs. The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who was also at the announcement, called it a win for Charter and Texas.

Rutledge called those new jobs high-paying, good, solid, middle class jobs.

"Charter has been insourcing jobs for the last five years," Rutledge pointed out, saying "high-skilled, high-quality workers actually saves money. If you do the job right the first time, it is a lot less expensive than redoing it."

He said that was what helped them do their transaction with Time Warner and Bright House and "put together this tremendous company, and as part of that, we're going to insource all the calls that Time Warner outsourced," which he said had been 50%.

Rutledge signaled the $25 billion spend was "predicated on a regulatory consistency and efficiency that we expect as a country," including the right tax climate.

The President said Rutledge had done a great job with the company. He said the company, five years ago, was a struggling company that had emerged from bankruptcy. Now, he said, thanks to "hard work and unbelievable leadership, truly great leadership," he billed it as "the fastest growing television, Internet, and voice company in the nation."

Trump said Rutledge and the Charter team had turned the company around "through a culture of customer service and excellence."

The President said he wanted companies to thrive and grow in America and wanted them to use American workers and American citizens. He called staffing the call centers with American jobs "great for their workers, great for the customers, and certainly great for the United States."

The President has held a series of similar announcements with businesses making investments or creating American jobs or announcing they were not moving jobs elsewhere.

The President Tweeted about the event, saying: "Today, I was thrilled to announce a commitment of $25 BILLION & 20K AMERICAN JOBS over the next 4 years. THANK YOU Charter Communications!"

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.