Unionists target T-Mobile before anti-offshoring vote

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WASHINGTON - Saying T-Mobile is stripping U.S. workers of their jobs, a group of unionists demonstrated at one of the firm's retail stores in D.C. on July 12, just before a Senate vote which could take place the next week on an anti-offshoring bill.

The demonstration included a satire of a T-Mobile commercial that features a woman on a motorcycle. The unionists then entered the store, where CWA activist Tony Daley discussed the campaign against offshoring with the store manager, asking her to forward the issue to her regional manager. Other CWA activists told the store's workers the union would back them if they want to organize.

In recent weeks, T-Mobile has moved 3,300 call center jobs offshore, mostly from areas in the U.S. where few other opportunities are available, to low-wage foreign countries. It has also broken labor law in resisting the Communications Workers' ongoing organizing drive there. One small T-Mobile unit in Connecticut is organized.

T-Mobile's offshoring is "Exhibit A" in labor's latest online campaign, to pass the Bring The Jobs Home Act, by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., introduced that measure in GOP-run House. It's buried in a committee there.

"We need to be exporting our products, not our jobs," Stabenow said when the two unveiled it on July 6. "Instead of letting companies use tax loopholes that help them ship jobs overseas, we need to be cutting taxes for companies that create jobs in America. It's time to stop rewarding companies that send jobs to other countries and instead support businesses creating jobs here at home."

"Passing the Bring Jobs Home Act will stop our tax code from providing corporate welfare by closing the loopholes that encourage outsourcing, and give incentives to businesses to reverse the flow of jobs back home," Pascrell added.

The measure gives firms a tax credit of the cost of creating new jobs and business activity in the U.S., returning it from overseas. It also "ends a tax deduction for companies that outsource jobs and business activity," a congressional fact sheet says.

"Right now, the cost of moving personnel and components of a company to a new location is defined as a business expense that qualifies for a tax deduction," even if the location is abroad, the fact sheet adds. The measure "will keep this deduction in place for companies that bring jobs and business activity back home but businesses would no longer be able to get this tax benefit for shipping jobs overseas."

The AFL-CIO, mounting an online campaign for Stabenow's bill, said it would come up in mid-July. But in July 11 debate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., objected to even considering it. That forecasts a Senate GOP filibuster threat to kill Stabenow's bill and another vote for "show" only on Capitol Hill.

Photo: Communications Workers of America