Sprint Merger With T-Mobile Would Kill 20,000 Jobs, Union Says

  • Most cuts would come from shutting stores, call centers: CWA
  • Wireless providers push cost benefits from combination
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A merger of Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc., the subject of talks between the wireless providers, would eliminate at least 20,000 jobs, according to the Communications Workers of America.

Most of the cuts would come from closing stores and shutting down call centers, the CWA said in a statement Tuesday. The union doesn’t represent any workers at the companies. Sprint had 28,000 employees at the end of March, while T-Mobile had 50,000 at the beginning of the year.

“We oppose the deal,” said Candice Johnson, the union’s national spokeswoman. “It’s about jobs, in general.”

Representatives for Sprint and T-Mobile declined to comment. Sprint, controlled by SoftBank Group Corp., has been in on-and-off discussions since May with T-Mobile’s controlling company, Deutsche Telekom AG. The No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless carriers have said that consolidation is necessary to compete with larger rivals Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc.

Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with New Street Research LLC, estimated 18,500 jobs would be eliminated, split between store employees and corporate workers. However, if the combined company thrives more skilled jobs like network engineers would be added, he said.

T-Mobile US Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter in May estimated that a merger with Sprint would yield more than $30 billion in cost savings.

SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son, who holds the same position at Sprint, pledged to President-elect Donald Trump in December that he would help create 50,000 jobs related to a $50 billion tech investment in the U.S. That gesture was preceded by a promise from Sprint to return 5,000 jobs to the country.

“This administration is supposed to be about creating jobs and bringing them back from oversees,” CWA’s Johnson said. “A deal like this is not good for U.S. workers.”

— With assistance by Olga Kharif

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