T-Mobile elimiantes jobs, still qualifies for incentives; CWA to fight layoffs

The Dallas Morning News reports that T-Mobile, which recently announced that it will close seven of its US call centers including two in Texas, will receive $3.6 million in job creation incentives from the State of Texas and a local economic development corporation. Meanwhile, the Communication Workers of America announced that has launched a campaign to keep the US call centers open even though T-Mobile is a non-union company that has resisted efforts by its workers to join CWA.

T-Mobile’s downsizing comes after a deal to merge with AT&T fell through last December. CWA, which supported the merger, warned federal regulators at the time that failure to approve the merger would result in job losses at T-Mobile, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom of Germany.

Six years ago, the Texas governor’s office offered T-Mobile incentive money to open a call center in Frisco, Texas, a Dallas suburb. The Frisco Economic Development Corporation also offered incentives. The rationale for the incentives was that the call center would create nearly 1,000 jobs.

T-Mobile’s Frisco call center at its peak exceeded expectations. At one time, the US’s fourth leading mobile communications company employed 1,200 workers at its Frisco call center.

But T-Mobile didn’t have the communication network to keep up with AT&T and Verizon, and as its business position eroded, it began eliminating jobs. When the company announced the call center closures in March, the company was employing only 615 people, well below the 855 jobs that its incentive agreement with the state called for.

Nevertheless, T-Mobile won’t have to return any incentive money the Morning News reports because “T-Mobile exceeded the number of jobs it had to create under the (Texas Enterprise Fund) agreement, according to people in the governor’s office.”

In addition to the Frisco closure, T-Mobile it terminating call centers in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Brownsville, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Lenexa, Kansas, Redmond, Oregon; and Thornton, Colorado. The closures, according to CWA, will eliminate “the livelihood for 3,300 families.” The layoffs become effective in June.

In addition to the Texas incentives, T-Mobile received job-creation incentives totalling more than $10 million from other state and local governments where it is closing call centers.

Call center workers at T-Mobile have been involved in a nationwide campaign to make T-Mobile a union company like its parent company Deutsche Telekom is back in Germany. They have been working with CWA to do so.

The T-Mobile workers’ organizing committee and CWA have decided to fight the closures. Last Friday, T-Mobile activists and supporters rallied at the Allentown call center to protest the call center’s closure, which will eliminate 400 local jobs.

“There’s no other job here that pays even remotely that well for the trade we’re involved in,” said Jim Brilhart, a technical support specialist in Allentown. “It’s difficult for a lot of us locally. This is a serious blow to the local economy.”

The German union that represents Deutsche Telekom workers, ver.di, has also joined the fight. On March 28, the New York Times ran a full-page add that the German union helped produce, urging Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile to rethink its anti-union stance and consider working with its employees to save jobs and produce better service.

CWA is also urging its members and others to support laid off T-Mobile workers facing layoffs. The union reports that T-Mobile has outsourced 6,000 jobs to other countries and has begun a letter writing campaign to convince T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm to return some of these jobs to call centers slated for closure.

T-Mobile has said that it will consider laid off workers for positions at its call centers that remain open, but moving to a new city with no guarantees is a big gamble for workers who are already facing an uncertain future.

John Brookshire, a technical support specialist at the Frisco call center, said that he looked into relocating to other call centers. To avoid a big pay cut, he would have to move to Colorado Springs or Albuquerque, one is more than 700 miles away and the other more than 600. “Both those economies over there are a lot worse than Dallas, so that’s kind of a gamble,” Brookshire said.

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5 thoughts on “T-Mobile elimiantes jobs, still qualifies for incentives; CWA to fight layoffs

  1. It would’ve been nice if you had provided a link to the Dallas Morning News article that you referenced.

  2. Hey, Will. Good story, as usual. Gee, want to know where your tax money goes?
    Just one little typo in the title. Should be “eliminates.”

  3. I have been waiting for the gop and the tea to starting to paying corporations to get ride of JOBS just to make Obama LOOK BAD! suckers!!!

  4. I was the 100th employee to be hired at the Brownsville location. Worked there for 1mth and then schooled the supervisor on proper call center protocol & service. They! Upper management! Saw this as an opportunity to show me not to make them look like what they truly were –> DUMBAS*ES. Immediately after they thought they had something on me; which I provided for them, “LOL” and they ran to HR to report me, by which time I had fixed it. HR calls me in 5 min later and WALLA! I did nothing wrong. As a matter a fact, I had handled the situation with perfect precision and was offered a raise!

    Here is my so called wanna be Boss sitting across from Me the HR Supervisor & Secretary looking like a DUMB-A*S

    So he calls me out and begins to quote Company Policy & Procedure, then asks me “Why I don’t seem to appreciate “HIS” office with a higher regard!”, I then replied “Because none of this is ours, It belongs to the Company and is just another tool by which to help customers with”. HR agrees and He EXPLODES! Turns Super-Red then says, “Be careful on how you answer the following question; “What does working here mean to you” and watch your words!”, I calmly replied “Working here gives me satisfaction that I help those in need.” HR agrees again. The Guy turns Purple.

    Now! “Why! don’t you seem to appreciate the “Office!”, I reply “Because I thought it was different/better and have come to realize it isn’t, due to incompetence. I even provided examples which were confirmed by HR, which took names for supervisor re-training .” The Guy can barely breath by now & Is about to loose it. Like about to have a Heart-Attack! So I cut him a break.

    I say hey! It’s Ok! If you feel strongly about it I guess I’ll go somewhere else. He starts to breath facial color goes from green, to purple, to red, to pink, to flesh. Geeeez!

    Same day I quit the CEO <- nice guy by the way, calls me and agrees with me about the incompetence issue and doesn't blame me for Not returning to a lost cause. WOAH!

    He informed me that the only reason T-Mobile put up with such PRIX! like this Guy was because they were somewhat needed for the up-coming merger with AT&T; However, he went on to assure me that If it didn't work out all of these Idiots were being Setup for what CEO's back then called it "THE BIG FLOP!".

    LMAO BIG-TIME! AT&T deal fell thru & I knew it was just a matter of months, JUNE is the DEAD-LINE!
    *** LOL *** *** LOL *** *** LOL *** *** LOL *** *** LOL *** *** LOL *** *** LOL ***

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