Mar 7, 2013
CWA and dozens of House Democrats are urging the Federal Communications Commission to impose job-protection conditions on the proposed T-Mobile-MetroPCS merger.
In a filing on Monday with the FCC, CWA said solid evidence provided by T-Mobile to the FCC show that — absent conditions — the merged T-Mobile-MetroPCS will cut a significant number of jobs in the United States, despite claims to the contrary from T-Mobile and MetroPCS.
After the FCC forced T-Mobile and MetroPCS to substantiate their initial claims of job growth, the companies admitted there will actually be "job reductions." According to the CWA filing, the companies now attempt to characterize those jobs losses as a "relatively small number." CWA pointed out, through document after document, why the applicant's characterizations just are not true. The synergies touted by T-Mobile and MetroPCS are indeed euphemisms for firing workers, and CWA believes the numbers reflected in those documents are significant, not "small."
"The CWA filing indicates that before making a decision on the merger, it is critical that the FCC understand the specific job impacts of the 'synergies,'" said CWA Telecommunications Policy Director Debbie Goldman. "The FCC should add conditions to any deal that would keep the 'synergies' from evolving into a fancy word for 'firings,' as is now the case."
The filing arrives just days after 62 members of Congress wrote to FCC Chair Julius Genachowski, urging him to "consider requiring the companies to commit to preserving U.S. jobs as part of their merger agreement" and "seek enforceable commitments."
These actions build on comments filed previously by a wide range of national public service organizations that include the NAACP, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Sierra Club, National Consumers League, Alliance for Retired Americans, Center for Community Change, Jobs with Justice and USAction.
State and local officials — including mayors in Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia — also previously filed letters with the FCC urging substantive commitments to protect existing jobs, as well as expand opportunities in the United States.
If approved, the transaction would combine T-Mobile, with 30,000 employees and 33.2 million customers with MetroPCS, which directly employs 3,700 to service about 9.3 million customers.
Unfortunately, both have a history of shipping good jobs overseas. MetroPCS, the fifth largest U.S. wireless carrier, already outsources 100 percent of its customer service work to overseas call centers. Last year, T-Mobile closed seven U.S. call centers affecting 3,300 workers; the Labor Department certified that workers were entitled to trade adjustment assistance because T-Mobile offshored that work to the Philippines and Central America.
T-Mobile workers would not be facing this grim reality if the FCC hadn't rejected the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile two years ago. In that proposed deal, AT&T promised zero layoffs, keeping all call centers open, and returning home 5,000 offshored call center jobs. Moreover, AT&T, the only unionized wireless company, would have given T-Mobile workers a real opportunity to vote for union representation.