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Hundreds Of Kansas City Sprint Employees Laid Off As T-Mobile Merger Nears

Two shoppers walk into the T-Mobile store, which is next door to a Sprint store, in the Ward Parkway Center in Kansas City.
Peggy Lowe
KCUR 89.3
Two shoppers walk into the T-Mobile store, which is next door to a Sprint store, in the Ward Parkway Center in Kansas City.

While not surprising, given the merger was approved two months ago, the end of the Sprint era in Kansas City is near.

Hundreds of Sprint employees in Kansas were laid off this week as the $26 billion merger with T-Mobile nears.

The shedding of middle managers who work on the Sprint campus is not unexpected because the merger was completed two months ago and the Sprint brand will be retired Aug. 2. Reports said hundreds of Sprint employees were told during a conference call with T-Mobile representatives that they will be let go in two months.

A Sprint spokeswoman directed comment on the news to a T-Mobile statement, which said that the company is “working to rapidly evolve and transform our workforce into an even more effective and efficient team.”

T-Mobile has long said, including in testimony on Capitol Hill, that the deal would mean an increase in employees. The most recent statement said the company has embarked on an “ambitious hiring initiative to add 5,000 new positions over the next year.”

But critics of the deal, including the Communications Workers of America, have said the new jobs would mostly be in call centers, which require fewer skills and pay less than the positions being cut.

Jeff Moore, principal at Wave 7 Research, a wireless industry intelligence company, said these mergers always trigger cascading rounds of lay-offs as the merged companies get rid of job redundancies and as they consolidate network and retail stores.

“So it always starts at the senior executive level, talking about the CMO and the CFO, the very top executives. Then it happens at the vice president level. Then it happens at the director level. Then it happens at the worker bee level,” Moore said.

At the end of 2019, T-Mobile had 53,000 employees, with most based in the company’s hometown of Seattle. Sprint has approximately 30,000 employees nationwide and roughly 6,000 at Sprint headquarters in Overland Park, according to the company.

The new company, which will be called “The New T-Mobile,” will continue to be headquartered in Seattle with a secondary location, what they’re calling “HQ2,” on what will soon be the former Sprint campus.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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