Union to Sprint/T-Mobile: Make ‘binding commitment’ on job promises

Sprint store (with new logo, use this)
The CWA said Sprint and T-Mobile would close stores, which would result in layoffs, if they are allowed to merge. (Sprint)

The Communications Workers of America union, which represents 700,000 workers across the United States, said it plans to withhold its approval of the Sprint and T-Mobile merger until the companies make a “binding commitment” not to eliminate jobs in their proposed merger.

“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,” the association said, citing a report it published. The CWA explained that many of the cuts it expects would stem from expected store closures spread throughout the country following the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. “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.”

A representative from Sprint didn’t comment directly on the CWA’s announcement. A T-Mobile representative didn’t immediately respond to questions about CWA’s statement.

The CWA doesn’t represent many employees at Sprint or T-Mobile; the bulk of its members in the wireless industry work at AT&T and Verizon. Nonetheless, the organization continues to work to secure additional job securities for its members. For example, early this year the CWA launched a new association called “Wireless Workers United” that it said stands as “the first-ever national network of union and non-union workers organizing to protect good jobs and quality customer service.” The association aims to jointly organize wireless employees from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

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For their part, Sprint and T-Mobile announced a merger agreement in April, and at the time promised that the merged company would actually employ more workers than the two separate companies would. That message represents a key pillar of the companies’ efforts to obtain regulatory approval for their proposed merger transaction.

Indeed, company executives are scheduled this afternoon to attend a Senate hearing on the mergerwhich is likely why the CWA released its statement yesterday.

“While the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint is strategically sound, the regulatory approval process is far from certain,” wrote the analysts at Barclays in a note to investors released this morning. “T-Mobile and Sprint have put their best foot forward in positioning the deal to meet what they perceive will be the most important considerations (political and otherwise) for approval. Whether that sways the regulatory review process is still difficult to gauge at this juncture. We would argue, however, that this is the best window for both parties to attempt a merger given the composition of the current administration and timing around expected spectrum auction related anti-collusion rules expected later this year.”