In a country where union regulations have been tightening and participation rates have been declining, the Communication Workers of America have been making plenty of noise about job cuts in call center positions and about employee benefits in contract negotiations.
This week, CWA is sounding the alarm on an estimated 28,900 jobs that will be lost if Sprint and T-Mobile, the nation’s fourth- and third-largest carriers, are allowed to merge. The union filed comments against the deal with the FCC yesterday, blasting industry consolidation as a decrease in competition and claiming that the corporations have not sufficiently proven that a merger would be in the public interest.
The union also criticized Sprint’s equipment procurement tie-ups with Huawei and ZTE, both Chinese entities being regarded by the nation’s top intelligence agencies as cybersecurity threats.
However, the foremost concern for CWA is the redundancies that will have to be made as part of the merger. Former Sprint stores will turn into T-Mobile stores and a number of them will be closed due to proximity. It’s expected that more than 12,000 positions will be lost in postpaid operations.
Meanwhile, while the fate of the combined company’s prepaid carriers — T-Mobile’s MetroPCS with Sprint’s Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile — is up in the air as they take a majority of their respective market, if all operations were to remain intact, another approximately 12,000 employees woud be pink-slipped.
The partners also revealed in their original merger announcement that the new T-Mobile would retain both current headquarters in Washington and Kansas. However, CWA has counted 4,500 jobs out of the picture.
“The proposed merger would combine two companies with a long history of violation of employment law and workers’ rights,” CWA wrote in its brief. “This history speaks volumes about the trustworthiness and corporate character of these companies.”
Examples mentioned include the quashing of sexual harassment complaints and fomentation of a toxic work culture at T-Mobile.
Unfortunately for the CWA, it’s not often that employment concerns are taken seriously and especially by the FCC, which has little to no jurisdiction. The current conservative-run administration would likely not consider labor impacts in approving or denying the merger.
But that number making the press rounds might help the public opinion case.