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Union Urges CA to Reject T-Mobile/Sprint Request to Backtrack on Jobs

T-Mobile/Sprint is promising to maintain its California workforce, but has asked to get out of its prior commitment to add 1,000 jobs in the state. (D3Damon/iStockphoto)
T-Mobile/Sprint is promising to maintain its California workforce, but has asked to get out of its prior commitment to add 1,000 jobs in the state. (D3Damon/iStockphoto)
June 25, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The telecommunications company T-Mobile merged with Sprint a few months ago. It's already begging off some of its promises, and that's raising alarm bells with workers' advocates.

When the California Public Utilities Commission approved the merger in mid-April, T-Mobile promised to create 1,000 jobs in California and roll out a 5G wireless network in four years.

Now, it's laying people off and saying the 5G network will take at least two years longer, blaming COVID-19.

The Communications Workers of America District 9 covers California, Nevada and Hawaii. District 9 President
Frank Arce alleges that the company's pre-merger pitch was untrue.

"It just was, to me, very much a bait-and-switch," said Arce, "'You let us merge, we're going to bring so many jobs to California, especially in those neighborhoods where it's really needed.'"

The union, which does not represent T-Mobile/Sprint workers, opposed the merger at a CPUC hearing in 2018, and predicted then that it would result in the loss of 30,000 jobs nationwide.

Recently, the company laid off several hundred workers in Kansas and Missouri, but may offer some employees other jobs in the company. It also has sent termination notices to hundreds of T-Mobile authorized dealers around the country.

Arce and the union are urging the CPUC to reject T-Mobile/Sprint's request to backpedal on its obligations.

As Arce described it, "Not roll back their building of a 5G network, not cut down the 1,000 jobs in the State of California. The PUC needs to stick to its guns and insist that T-Mobile sticks to its commitment."

In its filing, the company said the COVID-19 crisis "makes the imposition of a mandate to create additional jobs infeasible and unwarranted."

The CPUC will consider the proposal and is expected to issue a ruling sometime later this year.

Disclosure: Communications Workers of America contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA