T-Mobile Employees Want Promises They Won't Be Fired Post Merger
from the good-luck-with-that dept
We’ve noted repeatedly how the Sprint, T-Mobile merger isn’t great. There’s forty years of history showing how telecom industry megamergers almost always result in less competition, higher prices, and fewer jobs, and this deal is no exception. Eliminating one of just four US wireless carriers is likely to result in higher prices (see: Canada or Ireland). And Wall Street analysts not only predict the deal could eliminate anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 jobs, data suggests the consolidation could result in employees across the sector making less money even if they work at other companies.
Of course if you ask T-Mobile and Sprint executives, they’ll tell you that none of this will actually happen. They’ll tell you that the deal will somehow create more competition and jobs, despite (again) history showing that this rarely, if ever happens and such deals almost exclusively benefit executives and shareholders.
Hoping for a little reassurance, T-Mobile employees this week penned a letter to Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges (Deutsche Telekom has a majority stake in T-Mobile) asking for guarantees they won’t see layoffs and pay cuts in the wake of the deal:
“T-Mobile US retail employees and technicians delivered a letter late Tuesday for Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges, seeking assurances that their jobs and paychecks will be safe if the wireless carrier is allowed to merge with Sprint, its smaller rival.
T-Mobile Workers United, with about 500 members and backed by the Communications Workers of America and the German union ver.di, urged Hoettges to ?make solid and verifiable? assurances that jobs will be safe, paychecks will not shrink and management will not interfere in union activities.”
These workers shouldn’t hold their breath.
From Comcast to AT&T, telecom merger after telecom merger begins with a laundry list of promises that nothing whatsoever will change and if things do change, it will only be for the better. Then, everything changes as redundant retail support, and executive positions are inevitably eliminated. It’s a finely oiled machine you could set your watch to, yet each time a new merger is proposed the press collectively nods dumbly as if pre-merger guarantees mean much of anything, and government doesn’t have a multi-generational history of failing to hold companies accountable when they blatantly ignore merger conditions.
It’s a problem that’s particularly pronounced in the telecom sector, where tens of thousands of jobs are being lost due to mindless consolidation and a mantra of “growth for growth’s sake.” Saturated growth in fixed and mobile broadband has driven companies to mergers in the hopes of attaining growth, but as AT&T’s Time Warner and DirecTV acquisitions or Frontier’s gobbling up of aging phone lines have made clear, being bigger doesn’t magically equate to being better. In fact it’s usually the opposite as even bigger, debt-saddled companies fail to scale customer service to handle the growth.
Why the US seems incapable of learning from history on this subject is a question for the ages. Right Now, T-Mobile is telling regulators that the merger will magically create thousands of new jobs. It’s also promising to keep both Sprint’s Overland Park, Kansas and T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Washington headquarters both intact. All while we see zero negative impact and increased competition despite fewer overall competitors. History has repeatedly shown such claims to be little more than fluff and nonsense, yet regulators at both the FCC and DOJ (both not coincidentally now run by former telecom lawyers) are happy to believe the promises.