T-Mobile USA Lied About Not Offshoring Jobs From Shuttered Call Centers, Labor Dept. Concludes
July 18, 2012
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
, TMCnet Contributor
Anyone who pays attention to the news these days knows that the offshoring of U.S. jobs is a political hot potato that few companies want to get caught holding. While many U.S. companies claim they don't offshore jobs, it would appear that not all of them have been telling the truth.
Wireless company T-Mobile USA – owned by Deutsche Telekom AG (News - Alert) (DTE) – is one of those companies that swear it hasn't moved any jobs offshore, but the U.S. Labor Department is contradicting those claims. Conversely, they say that the Bellevue, Washington-based company has cut local call center jobs and moved them offshore. The Department of Labor made this determination as the result of an investigation regarding certification of T-Mobile USA's eligibility to apply for worker adjustment assistance.
With the help of The Communications Workers of America (CWA (News - Alert)), about 3,300 call center workers whose jobs were cut will gain what's called “trade adjustment assistance” (TAA) benefits.
The Department of Labor investigation concluded that “...[the] firm has acquired from a foreign country services like or directly competitive with services supplied by the workers which contributed importantly to worker group separations at T-Mobile (News - Alert) USA.” Based on this conclusion and the TAA designation, the agency determined that the workers are entitled to apply for government assistance that includes enhanced unemployment benefits, tuition assistance for job retraining programs and tax credits for family health insurance, among other benefits.
Which is great for the workers who lost jobs, but not so great for a company that claims it hasn't offshored the call center jobs it cut from U.S. employment.
Earlier this year, T-Mobile USA closed seven out of 24 call centers and cut 1,900 jobs to reduce costs amid a shrinking client base after the failure of a proposed $39 billion sale to AT&T (News - Alert) Inc. last year, Bloomberg is reporting. In May, the company said it would cut another 900 jobs. Deutsche Telekom Chief Executive Officer Rene Obermann is currently seeking a new chief for the unit after Philipp Humm left the carrier last month to join rival Vodafone (News - Alert) Group Plc (VOD) in Europe, said Bloomberg.
At the time of the call center closures, T-Mobile had said none of the jobs eliminated would go offshore.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo