As Sprint and T-Mobile prepare to face questions on a potential merger from lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, new analysis from the Communications Workers of America shows that the merger could cause massive job loss of more than 30,000 jobs across the country. To avoid this outcome, CWA is calling on Sprint and T-Mobile to make a binding commitment not to eliminate jobs in their proposed merger, and to stop violating federal labor laws and fully respect workers’ rights.
T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges declared, most recently at the DT shareholders´ meeting on May 17 in Bonn, Germany, that T-Mobile will create new jobs, bring back jobs from overseas, and open many new stores. But without those statements coming in a binding form to the FCC and to their employees, those promises cannot be enforced.
According to CWA analysis, the majority of these potential job losses, around 26,000, would occur as a result of store closures spread throughout the country. CWA estimates that store closures would include 2,300 overlapping Sprint/T-Mobile stores and 2,750 overlapping Boost (Sprint) and MetroPCS (T-Mobile) prepaid wireless stores, including corporate and authorized dealer retail locations. About 4-5,000 would come from the elimination of overlapping headquarters-based staff in Overland Park, KS and Seattle, WA.
That the Sprint-T-Mobile merger could come at the cost of U.S. workers should come as no surprise, as both Sprint and T-Mobile have compiled up to now a long track record of closing U.S. call centers and committing workplace violations.
Since 2011, T-Mobile has been subject to approximately 60 unfair labor practice charges including surveilling and terminating workers for union activity and interference with employees’ right to free speech. Sprint’s anti-union corporate policy dates back to the closing of a Hispanic telemarketing center to avoid a union election. Current and former Sprint employees have sued the company multiple times for alleged wage and hour violations.
Additionally, T-Mobile and Sprint have moved thousands of call center jobs offshore to the Philippines, India, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Canada. In June 2012, T-Mobile laid-off 3,300 U.S. workers when it closed seven call centers and sent the work offshore. Sprint has steadily cut U.S. employment every year since 2007 at the same time it’s been outsourcing call center work. In 2010, Sprint outsourced 6,000 positions and the management of its wireless network to Sweden-based Ericsson.
T-Mobile and Sprint must make a clear statement to regulators and to their employees that they will not interfere with union organizing activities and make binding guarantees to maintain, create, and bring back jobs, without cutting current compensation for workers.
If T-Mobile and Sprint are not willing to address these issues, CWA will not be able to support the approval of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.