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Union Doesn't Want Sprint/T-Mobile Merger

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a reply brief filed on Friday with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 9 demonstrates that the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger is “not in the public interest and cannot lawfully be approved as structured” and calls on the CPUC to “deny the proposed merger as currently structured.” The brief notes that the merger would:

“[E]liminate more than 3,000 California jobs, increase wireless employers’ power to unilaterally set wages and combine two companies with a long history of labor and employment violations. The proposed merger also raises serious competitive concerns that would disproportionately impact low- and moderate-income customers.

Among the new and significant components of the brief are the following:

T-Mobile’s jobs commitment is wholly insufficient because it does not cover retail workers employed by independent authorized dealers - which comprise more than 83% of T-Mobile stores.
As the brief explains in detail, T-Mobile’s jobs commitment, pledging “no net job losses in California,” is disingenuous (at best), if not willfully misleading. That’s because T-Mobile’s jobs commitment would apply to none of the employees at authorized dealer stores, which comprise more than 83% of all T-Mobile stores. Detailed economic analysis by CWA shows that 28% of duplicative T-Mobile and Sprint stores in California would close from the merger, eliminating approximately 3,342 California jobs.

T-Mobile is backtracking on its rural commitment, reducing its 5G commitment to 90% of cell sites in its engineering plan for California and pushing back the timetable to reach this lower benchmark by one year.
A recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding the proposed merger between the companies and the California Emerging Technology Fund states, “[w]ithin six years of the Transaction close date” New T-Mobile would deploy 5G technology “at 90% of the cell site locations in its network plan for California.” The MOU is “a step backwards,” reducing post-merger 5G service to 90% of cell sites in its original plan and delaying reaching even that lower benchmark by one year. As the brief notes, the “MOU’s 10% reduction in the number of upgraded sites would result in post-merger service in rural areas that is inferior to the service described in the Applicants’ testimony.”

To illustrate this point, the brief highlights an example of Humboldt County. If a single cell site in the southeastern part of the county were part of the 10% not upgraded, “almost all of the projected 5G mid-band enhancement proposed in the county from 2021 to 2024 would be left out.”

The full CWA District 9 brief is available online here.

Communications Workers of America (CWA)

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