CPUC Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen was in attendance and an administrative-law judge led the hearing. L.A. residents and representatives from national organizations like Free Press Action, the Center for Media Justice, Common Cause and Demand Progress all voiced concerns about the deal, which would make wireless prices skyrocket and disconnect the communities that need affordable service the most.
The judge introduced the commissioner and asked each speaker to explain why they either supported or opposed the merger. The judge asked folks who weren’t affiliated with the Communications Workers of America or T-Mobile — the two groups that had the most representation at the hearing — to raise their hands and speak first.
Unfortunately, many organizations representing people of color, youth and the disadvantaged were out to advocate for the merger, claiming T-Mobile’s promises of better service from its future 5G rollout and continued low prices would benefit their members and communities.
Many of these groups admitted to receiving contributions from T-Mobile or Sprint. T-Mobile reps and employees were out in full force with their talking points, and many people who spoke in favor of the merger appeared to be reading from the same script.
Luckily there was strong opposition at the hearing from community groups, national groups, California-based organizations and unions including CWA, the L.A. Federation of Labor and the Writers Guild of America that came equipped with the facts and stories from their members about this deal’s many harms. Four Free Press members and two staffers were in attendance.
We attended to lift up the voices of our California members, who have shared their opposition to the deal, and to urge the CPUC to reject the merger. We underscored how the deal would hurt low-income communities and people of color and lead to 28,000 job losses — including more than 3,000 in California alone.
Check out the video and photos from the hearing below: