Tax Day is perfect day for T-Mobile to save U.S. jobs

More than 100,000 petition signatures urging T-Mobile to stop the job-killing closures of service centers were delivered to the corporate headquarters in Bellevue on April 17. (Photo by Jim Levitt)



It’s Tax Day in America. The day when we pay up for the common good. Well, at least some of us pay up. It is interesting, but not surprising, that while some 200 years ago we became a nation through violent revolution over the issue of “taxation without representation,” and today corporations have special representation without hardly any taxation at all.

“They say downsize! We say organize! They say downsize! We say organize!”

That was the chant heard by those driving by T-Mobile’s headquarters in Bellevue yesterday afternoon. About 75 union members and labor activists protested T-Mobile’s decision to close down seven call centers around the United States, laying off more than 3,300 workers. T-Mobile was the recipient of tax breaks for opening call centers in Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon and yet now they are ditching these workers and pushing more costs onto these very states.

Lynne Dodson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, along with a small group of union leaders from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), delivered 100,000 signatures collected around the country asking T-Mobile to stop the closures and to be a good corporate citizen. The petitions were received by T- Mobile’s head of security who assured the worker delegation that the appropriate person at T-Mobile would receive and deal with the petitions. (Anyone holding their breath?)

Two T-Mobile workers from call centers slated to close spoke eloquently about their efforts to stop the closures.

“I bleed pink (T-Mobile’s corporate color), I love this company,” said Roland Ellis of Nashville, Tenn. “But they have to understand that over 3,000 hard working T-Mobile workers are losing their jobs — workers who care about the company and who care about customer service. The company may be  able to get workers in other countries to work for lower wages but the quality of service will go down. And where is the loyalty? We want CEO Philipp Humm to know that it is not too late to save our jobs.”

Jamone Ross of Frisco, Texas, thanked everyone for supporting T-Mobile workers and said that he was not afraid of losing his job because it was more important to stand up for what was right.

“It is time to stop outsourcing  American jobs,” he said.

Roland and Jamone  are right; it is not too late for T-Mobile to change it’s mind and do the right thing. It is not too late for T-Mobile to thank the states for the profits they were able to receive from the sweet tax deals they were given to set up shop there.

Tax Day would be a perfect day for T-Mobile to announce that they will not close these call centers after all and that they will pay their fair share of taxes to support the common good.

This is a good day for you to send a message to T-Mobile, too.

Jeff Johnson is President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the Evergreen State, representing the interests of more than 500 local unions and 400,000 rank-and-file union members.

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