Politicians and unions urge FCC to prevent T-Mobile layoffs from MetroPCS deal

T-Mobile’s proposed deal to gobble up MetroPCS could be approved early next month. But before anything is set in stone, several entities are urging the FCC to make sure jobs are protected as a result of the merger.

In a filing submitted today with the FCC, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) found that the merger will cut a “significant number of jobs” in the United States.

Though T-Mobile and MetroPCS did admit the deal would result in a “relatively small number” of job losses, the CWA says that the two companies are using the word “synergies” as a euphemism for firing workers and are underestimating the effect of the merger.

“The CWA filing indicates that before making a decision on the merger, it is critical that the FCC understand the specific job impacts of the ‘synergies,’” CWA Telecommunications Policy Director Debbie Goldman said in today’s statement. “The FCC should add conditions to any deal that would keep the ‘synergies’ from evolving into a fancy word for ‘firings,’ as is now the case.”

In a similar attempt to prevent job loss, 62 House Democrats penned a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last week, urging him to force T-Mobile to include job-protection conditions are part of the MetroPCS deal.

It has been more than four months since T-Mobile announced its intentions to gobble up MetroPCS. T-Mobile plans to issue a $1.5 billion cash payment as part of the deal, and give MetroPCS shareholders a 26 percent ownership in the new entity. 

If approved, the transaction would combine T-Mobile with MetroPCS, which directly employs 3,700 to service about 9.3 million customers.

T-Mobile is the country’s fourth largest wireless carrier, and it is looking to outgun Sprint, which is involved in its own merger efforts with Clearwire. Both T-Mobile and Clearwire are based in Bellevue, so these deals will have special importance to the Seattle tech region.

Last month, T-Mobile reported lower fourth quarter revenue and profits overnight, and gave a clear signal that it will be making additional cuts in attempt to to shore up its business.

The Bellevue-based company, part of Deutsche Telekom, reported a 5.2 percent decline in total revenue, to $4.92 billion, from the same quarter a year ago. The company’s operating profit, before certain expenses, fell 25 percent to $1.04 billion over the same time period.

Previously on GeekWire: AT&T bashes T-Mobile with full-page newspaper ad