T-Mobile workers seek assurances from DT CEO about merger-related concerns

Execs from T-Mobile and Sprint discuss merger
Sprint and T-Mobile executives insist their merger will create jobs, but CWA isn't buying it. (T-Mobile)

T-Mobile employees who are worried about the loss of jobs and cuts in wages sent a letter to the CEO of T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom (DT) earlier this week seeking assurances and specific commitments should the proposed merger with Sprint get approved.

In the letter to DT CEO Timotheus Höttges, who along with members of DT’s supervisory board were in Seattle this week for a supervisory board meeting, the workers said they’re concerned that the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint will mean the loss of American jobs, cuts in wages and commissions and “a corresponding reduction in quality to our customers.”

Specifically, the letter calls for commitments that that New T-Mobile will “secure our jobs without cuts to compensation; bring back outsourced jobs from overseas and in the USA, and respect our rights on the job by stopping management interference with our right to organize.”

T-Mobile workers presented the letter, signed by the chief stewards of T-Mobile Workers United (TU), during a meeting with employee representatives on the DT supervisory board on Tuesday. During the meeting, they discussed their concerns about the merger and about T-Mobile management’s “ongoing interference with their efforts to join together to form a union,” according to a press release.

Höttges wasn't present at that meeting, but the representatives reportedly promised to deliver the letter to him.

A representative from DT wasn't immediately available for comment. 

TU is an organization of T-Mobile employees made up of hundreds of call center reps, retail associates and technicians; it’s an organizing local of Communications Workers of America (CWA) in partnership with workers at the parent company DT, who are members of the German union ver.di, according to CWA.

During a Labor Day town hall in Seattle that was attended by the TU workers, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich said the T-Mobile/Sprint proposed merger should not be allowed to take place, and he encouraged the workers to engage with the employee representatives on the supervisory board.

RELATED: T-Mobile, Sprint promise to create thousands of jobs if merger is approved

While T-Mobile CEO John Legere and other executives have repeatedly said the merger will lead to job creation rather than job reduction—which usually happens with mergers when redundant positions are eliminated—the CWA says the pledges are not verifiable or legally binding.

In fact, CWA’s economic analysis shows that the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger will lead to the loss of 30,000 jobs due to closing of duplicative stores and headquarters functions. It also said that none of the developments over the past few months regarding the merger have changed CWA’s fundamental assessment of it as a “job-killing merger.”

The two companies, however, insist that from Day One, the combined entity will employ more people in the U.S. than both companies would separately. New T-Mobile’s investment in Customer Experience Centers, for example, will create more than 5,000 additional American jobs by 2021, and they pledged the combined company will have 7,500 more customer care professionals in 2024 than the two standalone companies would employ.