Workers press T-Mobile on safety, merger-related job cuts as T-Mobile holds shareholder meeting

On T-Mobile’s shareholder meeting day, T-Mobile retail worker Carlos Silva, from Pinole, CA, who along with his coworkers recently voted to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA), asked T-Mobile to protect workers from COVID-19 as they reopen and make sure workers’ incomes are not affected by the company’s recent merger with Sprint.

Silva attended the meeting and asked the following question: “T-Mobile is calling retail workers back to work across the country. However, we are worried about the reopening protocols. Also, workers are worried that after COVID and the Sprint merger are over, their incomes will be less than before the pandemic. How is T-Mobile addressing the issue of workers being underemployed and underpaid throughout the company?”

Also at today’s meeting, the CtW Investment Group, which works with pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with Change to Win, presented a proposal asking the Board of T-Mobile to limit the amount of stock awards to executives if the company has a change-in-control. The current policy may permit an undeserved windfall -- in 2020 a change-in-control could have accelerated the award of over $274 million worth of stock to the company's five named executive officers, with former CEO John J. Legere alone entitled to over $117 million.

In presenting its proposal, CtW also asked about T-Mobile’s failure to uphold its commitment to protect jobs following the Sprint merger: “Unions and public interest organizations have estimated that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will result in 30,000 job losses. T-Mobile denied those estimates and repeatedly promised that ‘the New T-Mobile will be jobs-positive from Day One and every day thereafter.’ Yet, T-Mobile has taken actions that will eliminate 6,000 jobs just this year through the closure of retail stores. How do you explain this clear violation of your commitments?”

As the T-Mobile-Sprint merger was finalized, reports surfaced that T-Mobile will close 1,500 to 2,000 Metro by T-Mobile prepaid stores across the country, not as a result of the pandemic, but due to the merger. The move will eliminate thousands of jobs and comes despite promises by T-Mobile not to cut jobs following the merger.

Meanwhile, as wireless workers provide essential support during the COVID-19 pandemic, T-Mobile engaged in an intense union busting campaign at a store in Del Rio, TX. At the height of the pandemic, a T-Mobile manager from Laredo drove three hours to the store multiple times to meet with its eight workers indoors for forced captive audience meetings to pressure them to vote against union representation.

In a filing with the FCC in 2018, CWA estimated that the merger was likely to eliminate 30,000 jobs, with authorized retailers and prepaid stores being hit the hardest. Unfortunately, because the regulatory bodies approving the merger have failed to implement adequate job protections, CWA’s predictions on job loss have begun to come true. 

CWA also raised concerns with the merger over T-Mobile’s history of running aggressive anti-union campaigns when its employees have tried to have a voice on the job and improve their working conditions. The company has been found to violate US labor law on multiple occasions.

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As T-Mobile has its shareholder meeting, workers press company on safety and merger-related job cuts (CWA, June 4, 2020)