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Opinion: Blocking the AT&T and T-Mobile merger cripples job growth

Jobs – the number one issue on the minds of Californians.  

And Californians are rightfully demanding that their elected officials in Sacramento AND Washington take action to help get people back to work – now.

 
Gov. Brown, the state Legislature and President Obama have all said job creation is the single most important factor in getting our economy growing again.  But in my world, actions speak louder than words.  

The Department of Justice decision last week to file suit to block the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA is a blow to job creation in California and across the U.S. and will lead to even more good American jobs being sent overseas.   

On the very day the DOJ revealed their surprise lawsuit, AT&T publicly announced it would not only return a net 5,000 jobs to the U.S. workforce on completion of the merger, it would also  guarantee that no call center employees will lose their jobs as a result of the merger.  In this economic environment we need those jobs.

AT&T plans to invest an additional $8 billion in its U. S. mobile infrastructure – investment that will result in not just jobs, but good jobs – up and down California.   This means creating jobs without tax breaks or government incentives.

Killing this merger also kills the opportunity for thousands of T-Mobile’s workers to finally have a voice by joining a strong American union; an opportunity for good wages, benefits and worker protections.  AT&T is the ONLY wireless company where workers have a voice on the job.

The other reality is that T-Mobile is going away. Their parent company Deutsche Telekom is not going to invest any more money in the U.S. market and the company is for sale.  The other potential purchaser for T-Mobile is Sprint, who is infamous for their outsourcing and offshoring of jobs and for bungling the integration of technology on their last merger with Nextel. The prospects for consumers and workers if this were to happen is so bad that the Communications Workers of America launched a website to shed light on the issues  (www.eyeonsprint.org).

This lawsuit flies in the face of all the rhetoric about understanding what is truly on the minds of working people in California and across this country.  

Hear us: We want to get back to work.  We want to support ourselves and our families.  No more rhetoric. It’s time for action.  

Instead, the DOJ has acted to block a deal that actually will benefit those who have been left out.  That is just wrong.  And that’s why the California Labor Federation supports this deal and will work to make sure Washington and Sacramento understand the benefits the AT&T/T-Mobile merger will bring to working families.  


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