WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications Workers of America was successful in gaining Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits for up to 3,300 T-Mobile USA workers after the company closed seven call centers in June.
The Department of Labor granted CWA’s petition and affirmed that because “there has been an acquisition from a foreign country by the workers’ firm of article/services that are like or directly competitive with those produced/supplied by the workers’ firm,” workers should receive assistance. The TAA designation makes employees eligible for enhanced unemployment benefits, tuition assistance for job retraining programs and tax credits for family health insurance, among other benefits.
“T-Mobile disrupted the lives of 3,300 workers and their communities. The TAA program exists so workers do not bear the cost of corporate decisions to close U.S. facilities and send that work overseas,” said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins.
Last month, T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of German-based Deutsche Telekom, closed seven U.S. call centers including two in Texas and one each in Florida, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Oregon.
The TAA designation for T-Mobile USA employees comes a month after a majority of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives refused to allow a vote on the bi-partisan “U.S. Call Center and Worker Protection Act” (H.R. 3596) that has over 130 co-sponsors. The bill would prevent corporations from receiving any type of federal loan, grant or tax subsidy for five years if they decide to move U.S.-based call center jobs overseas. Further, the bill requires that U.S. consumers be told of the location of the call center to which they are speaking, and gives them the right to ask for a transfer to a U.S.-based call center.
CWA represents 700,000 workers nationally, including more than 150,000 customer service professionals.