MetroPCS merger: CWA urges FCC to Protect US Jobs

CWA press release

WASHINGTON, DC – In comments filed today [November 26, 2012] with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said the proposed joining of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS presents the FCC with a golden opportunity to preserve and grow jobs here in the United States, jobs that would otherwise continue to head to foreign shores.

“The FCC should impose specific conditions protecting T-Mobile USA employment,” said CWA Senior Director George Kohl.  “Otherwise, we’re concerned that T-Mobile and MetroPCS’ identified post-merger ‘efficiencies,’ ‘transaction-specific savings’ and ‘network and non-network synergies’ will once again translate to U.S. job losses. The FCC should make this a ‘growth and opportunity merger’ for U.S. workers too.”

Photo: Workers rally to protect T-Mobile Call Center jobs.

If approved, the transaction would combine T-Mobile, with 30,000 employees and 33.2 million customers with MetroPCS, which directly employs 3,700 to service about 9.3 million customers. The FCC’s public interest analysis of the proposed deal includes consideration of the impact of the transaction on employment. In the AT&T/Bell South merger for example, the FCC cited the company’s commitment to return call center jobs to the U.S. as a significant merger-related benefit. Similarly, in the failed AT&T/T-Mobile merger, AT&T committed to return 5,000 call center jobs from overseas and no job loss for non-management employees.

The FCC has consistently maintained that it has the goal of confirming commitments to grow jobs here at home.

In its filing, CWA noted both the potential loss of 10,000 jobs in the United States. The filing also noted MetroPCS already outsources its entire customer care, billing, payment processing and logistics operations, and a number of its vendor call centers are located in countries such as Mexico, Antigua, Panama and the Philippines.

For its part, since its failed attempt to merge with AT&T, T-Mobile -- a subsidiary of German-based Deutsche Telekom – has announced plans to close seven of its 24 U.S. call centers, displacing 3,300 employees and moving the work to the Philippines and Central America.

“If T-Mobile adopts MetroPCS’ practice of outsourcing its entire customer care operation to foreign workforces, once again U.S. employment will take the hit as their quality of customer service goes into the tank,” Kohl said.

Full CWA filing available here: http://www.cwa-union.org/20121126-TM-MetroPCS-Comments