Last week, the pretend defenders of private sector unions on Fountain Street bought the line that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger was a bad idea. Typical double speak. Here is a good counter argument from the Communication Workers of America:
If you repeat a made-up falsehood over and over again, will reasonable people start to believe it?
That’s what the critics of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger are hoping. They’ve manufactured a fact, claiming that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger will lead to 20,000 layoffs of T-Mobile workers. The problem is: they are just plain wrong. The proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger is good for workers and good for job creation.
Certainly, with unemployment hovering at a stubborn 9 percent, the impact of the proposed merger on jobs today and in the future should be a top concern of policymakers.
Let’s look at the so-called evidence the critics put forward.
1. They say: AT&T has cut 100,000 jobs over the past decade.
The Real Story: Job loss has been on the wireline side of AT&T; the company lost almost half its landlines when customers cut the cord or switched providers. CWA is not defending job cuts at AT&T, but critics need to get their facts straight. On the wireless side of AT&T, there has been very little drop in employment despite multiple mergers. In 2002, there were 70,000 employees at AT&T Mobility and its predecessor companies. Today, there are 67,000 employees at AT&T Mobility. Certainly no evidence to point to massive wireless job cuts at AT&T.
2. They say: Mergers always lead to layoffs.
The Real Story: As we have in the past, CWA will both negotiate and enforce agreements with AT&T to ensure that no AT&T Mobility or T-Mobile occupational workers will lose their jobs. In CWA’s long experience in working with AT&T on mergers and acquisitions, not one CWA-represented employee has ever lost his or her job due to that fact.
3. They say: T-Mobile workers will be better off if regulators reject the merger.
The Real Story: There is no future for an independent T-Mobile. Because T-Mobile is losing customers, with declining revenues and profits, its parent company put it up for sale. There were two bidders: AT&T and Sprint. Sprint outsources and offshores much of its customer service work and network management. It is notorious for its violation of workers’ rights. In contrast, AT&T is a financially strong, respects workers’ rights (it is the only unionized wireless company), and has a contractual obligation with CWA to eliminate outsourced work before laying off employees.
4. What they don’t say: Investment drives job creation.
The Real Story: AT&T has committed to invest an additional $8 billion — over and above its typical $6-9 billion annual wireless capital expenditure — to build out high-speed broadband to virtually every corner of the country. The Economic Policy Institute estimates this will create 96,000 jobs. Critics dismiss this important merger-related benefit, claiming that stand-alone T-Mobile would have invested $8 billion. But T-Mobile’s parent Deutsche Telekom announced in January of this year that it would stop funding T-Mobile network investment. An independent T-Mobile would not put the job-creating capital into infrastructure that AT&T plans to do. Moreover, AT&T’s planned near-universal, high-speed wireless broadband deployment will spur the growth of Internet-related jobs throughout America, closing the digital divide, and providing a needed lifeline to rural America.
The full report is available here: AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Creates Jobs for the U.S. Economy and Job Security for T-Mobile Workers