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Citing 3,185 Jobs at Risk, CWA District 9 Files Motion to Become Party in CPUC Review of Proposed T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

Proposed Merger Would Lead to Fewer Jobs and Higher Prices in California
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Washington, DC – The Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 9 announced today that it has filed a motion with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) seeking to become a party to the CPUC’s review of the proposed T-Mobile and Sprint merger. Earlier this month, the CPUC issued a scoping memo, signaling its intention to undertake a review to determine whether the proposed merger would be in the public interest for California residents.

In its motion, CWA District 9 cites the merger’s potential negative effects on its 57,000 members in California, both as workers and consumers. CWA research demonstrates that, as presently constructed, the proposed merger would result in the loss of 3,185 retail jobs in California due to store closures and consolidation while potentially lowering wages for workers in the industry. The merger also would reduce competition, likely leading to price increases for consumers, particularly low-and moderate-income CWA members who rely on pre-paid services.

According to Thomas Runnion, CWA District 9 Vice President , “As currently structured, the proposed T-Mobile and Sprint merger is against the public interest in California, including for 57,000 CWA District 9 members who are state residents. The merger would result in nearly 3,200 job losses in California and more than 28,000 job losses across the country. Meanwhile, the reduction in competition would lead to higher consumer prices, especially for price-conscious pre-paid wireless customers.”

Below are key excerpts from CWA District 9’s newly-filed motion to the CPUC, which is available in full online here:

“CWA District 9 represents more than 57,000 workers in California in telecommunications, media, airlines, public service, higher education and other sectors. CWA District 9 represents more than 20,000 workers in the telecommunications industry, including almost 4,000 employees in the wireless industry at AT&T Mobility and as members of T-Mobile Workers United, an organization of T-Mobile and MetroPCS employees.

The T-Mobile/Sprint merger will have a significant impact on CWA members, both as workers in the industry and as consumers of wireless services. CWA’s research shows that the merger will result in the loss of 3,185 retail jobs in California due to store closures and consolidation. In addition, the proposed transaction could increase concentration in the wireless industry labor market with negative impact on industry-wide wages.

The merger will also reduce competition in an already highly concentrated industry, which will likely lead to price increases that impact CWA members as consumers of wireless services.

Because T-Mobile and Sprint dominate the pre-paid wireless market, reduced competition will have a particularly negative impact on low- and moderate-income CWA members as consumers of wireless services.

CWA District 9 would like to join this proceeding as a party to ensure that the merger is in the public interest, including the interest of the telecommunications companies’ employees. CWA District 9 intends to actively participate in this proceeding. No other party in the proceeding can adequately represent the interest of telecommunications companies’ employees.”

For more information, read CWA’s substantive comments and analysis to the FCC submitted in late August, viewable in full here.

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