New CWA District 9 supplemental testimony: T-Mobile-Sprint merger remains harmful to California workers

CWA District 9 submitted supplemental testimony to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger. CWA’s testimony demonstrates that the companies’ new federal commitments, such as the DISH divestiture, do not remedy the merger’s potential harms. CWA is calling on the CPUC to deny the merger in light of its continued failure to meet “any reasonable definition of the public interest.” 

In the supplemental testimony, available in full here, CWA says that the proposed merger remains harmful to California workers, putting “30,000 U.S. jobs at risk, including more than 3,000 retail jobs in California.” The testimony includes new analysis detailing the companies’ “alarming” shrinking prepaid retail footprint in California since the proposed merger announcement in April 2018. The supplemental testimony also provides fresh evidence of T-Mobile’s anti-worker behavior, citing NLRB Region 32’s finding that T-Mobile unlawfully tried to discourage employees at a T-Mobile retail store in Pinole, CA. from organizing a union by threatening retaliation. 

Below are key details from CWA District 9’s new supplemental testimony:

More than 3,000 retail jobs in California remain at risk. The new supplemental testimony notes that T-Mobile’s proposed divestiture of Sprint’s prepaid business does not change CWA’s initial estimate of postpaid retail job losses in California.  “We project the proposed transaction will cause a net loss of 1,707 postpaid retail jobs in California.” Regarding, prepaid jobs, CWA notes that despite the divestiture of Sprint’s prepaid business to DISH, neither DISH nor T-Mobile have made any commitments to maintain employment levels in the prepaid retail operations. Thus, CWA continues to believe that as many as 1,300 prepaid jobs are at risk. 

New analysis shows T-Mobile and Sprint’s “alarming” shrinking prepaid retail footprint in California since the proposed merger announcement in April 2018. Since that date, the companies have reduced their prepaid retail footprint by a net 225 retail locations in California (368 closures and 143 openings). This net reduction equates to 41 percent of the prepaid store closures and job losses that CWA initially projected to take place following the merger. T-Mobile and Sprint’s’ shrinking prepaid retail footprint in California is alarming because this directly contradicts the companies’ prior claims that there would be no change to their prepaid strategy and that their merger would create jobs. Rather, this evidence indicates that the prepaid market is shrinking and will make it even more challenging for DISH to become a bona fide competitor from a prepaid subscriber base.

NLRB Region 32 finds merit to a new unfair labor practice charge at a T-Mobile retail store in Pinole, CA. CWA District 9’s initial testimony to the CPUC detailed substantial evidence of T-Mobile’s long history of violating labor law and workers’ rights. Subsequent to that filing, the new supplemental testimony highlights that the National Labor Relations Board’s Region 32 has found merit to the following unfair labor practice charge allegations that CWA filed against T-Mobile on September 16, 2019 regarding employer behavior at a T-Mobile retail store in Pinole, CA. 

“Within six months, the employer threatened employees with discharge in response to protected concerted activity. The employer, through the same person [name], interrogated employees about their protected concerted activity. [Name] further precluded employees from addressing group or workplace concerns, impliedly threatened employees with transfer in retaliation for protected concerted activities, and advised employees of the futility of organizing a union.”

Read the CWA District 9’s Supplemental Testimony to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) here