Statement by the Communications Workers of America on T-Mobile USA’s closing seven call centers and cutting thousands of jobs:
Washington, DC — T-Mobile USA’s decision to close seven call centers, employing 3,300 workers, is a bad one. It harms workers and communities, and in several locations, abuses taxpayers who provided funds to the company in exchange for employment and economic development.
Jobs could have been brought back from Asia and Honduras. Instead, T-Mobile USA did what CWA predicted would happen to a company without a path to a 4G-LTE network: it cut U.S. workers’ jobs.
Lothar Schröder, member of the ver.di board which represents more than 2 million workers in Germany, including T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom workers, criticized the decision. “In the United States, intelligent solutions are needed to persist and grow in the market in the long term. Unimaginative austerity policies including the closure of workplaces and the dismissal of thousands of employees have never been successful and never lead to lasting solutions.”
Schröder called the company’s offer to a certain number of employees to relocate to another call center a “sham.” Nobody can move thousands of miles with their family into economic uncertainty with the risk to have no housing, no friends and in the long run, no secure job at the new location, he said.
He called on the head of Deutsche Telekom in Germany and the management in the United States to talk with CWA about the situation to find intelligent solutions that take into account the interests of the company and employees. “ Ver.di will support CWA and American workers and advocate for the preservation of jobs,” he said.
CWA had sought to help resolve T-Mobile’s significant customer and volume loss through supporting a merger with AT&T that would have in fact protected call center jobs in the U.S. and returned 5,000 jobs from overseas.
The Federal Communications Commission instead chose not to approve that merger. Now we’re seeing the result of that decision to put good jobs at the bottom of the FCC’s priorities: significant job loss affecting thousands of workers and their families in an extremely sluggish economy.
It’s common knowledge that high road customer service is done by U.S. workers. Contractors and offshore workers typically read scripts rather than solve customer problems. That’s one reason that legislation to stop the offshoring of call center jobs has gained so much traction, in Congress and state legislatures.
T-Mobile USA has cut American jobs, yet keeps its offshore work in Asia and Central America. The U.S. will never have a solid economy recovery in this country if cutting jobs and offshoring work is the unchallenged business model.
T-Mobile USA’s action also is an abuse of U.S. taxpayer dollars. In four of the seven communities where centers are slated to close, T-Mobile USA received millions in taxpayer dollars from state and local economic development subsidies. A September 2011 report by Good Jobs First spotlighted these subsidies:
Frisco, TX - $3.7 million
Brownsville, TX - $5.3 million
Lenexa, KS - $3.9 million
Redmond, OR - $1.3 million
[Source: Good Jobs First, "Money on the Line: State and Local Economic Development Subsidies Received by T-Mobile Call Centers," September 2011]
CWA will continue to work with T-Mobile USA workers who want the right to freely choose union representation, and not the atmosphere of hostility and fear that T-Mobile has created in workplaces, where workers who even take a union leaflet are threatened with reprisals.
CWA also will work in every community where T-Mobile USA is shutting call centers, to spotlight the company’s abuse of taxpayer dollars and its failed business plan. The call centers to be closed are: Allentown, Pa.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Frisco, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Thornton, Colo.; Redmond, Ore.; and Lenexa, Kansas.
For release March 23, 2012
Contact: Candice Johnson, CWA Communications, 202-434-1168, firstname.lastname@example.org