T-Mobile let go hundreds of Sprint workers this week and AT&T plans layoffs as well, according to published reports. T-Mobile VP James Kirby on Monday told hundreds of Sprint employees their services were no longer needed. He declined to answer questions, citing the “personal” nature of employee feedback, and ended the conference call, reported TechCrunch.
TechCrunch obtained leaked audio of the call, which was said to be one of several held by T-Mobile leadership throughout the day to lay off staff across the organization. The layoffs come just two months after its acquisition of Sprint closed.
On the call, Kirby said T-Mobile was eliminating Sprint’s inside sales unit, a division that focuses on small businesses. The executive didn’t say how many staff were laid off. Almost 400 people were in the phone meeting, a person on the call told TechCrunch.
Kirby said the layoffs would make way for 200 new positions, and encouraged employees to apply for one of the new jobs. The employees who were laid off Monday will keep their jobs for another two months until August 13, said Kirby.
The exact effect the merger has had on employee headcount is murky. Last month, the Communications Workers of America estimated it would impact some 30,000 jobs as corporate roles and retail stores consolidated.
In a statement, T-Mobile told TechCrunch it’s looking at its entire merged organization, “to ensure that we focus our resources in the places where our customers need us the most. This will result in additional career opportunities for many, as the company positions itself for long-term healthy growth. As part of this process, some employees who hold similar positions are being asked to consider a career change inside the company, and others will be supported in their efforts to find a new position outside the company. We will work with all employees and support them.”
Meanwhile, AT&T told the Communication Workers of America it plans to cut over 3,400 technician and clerical jobs over the next few weeks. In addition, the carrier plans to permanently close 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores, impacting 1,300 retail jobs.
CWA and AT&T have been working together to protect worker and customer health and safety and to provide premium pay for essential workers, according to CWA President Chris Shelton. He noted the carrier showed an interest in investing in its workers and its network by cancelling planned stock buybacks.
“AT&T could help lead the country toward recovery by partnering with its workforce to build next generation networks. Instead the company is adding to the pain of the recession already underway,” said Shelton.
AT&T said in a statement to Business Insider, “economic impact and changed customer behaviors” due to the pandemic drove the layoffs and store closures. AT&T said it’s eliminating more non-payroll workers, many of which are based outside of the United States, than it is managers or union-represented employees.