Sprint Softbank deal raises big questions for workers

The impending $8 billion deal between Sprint and Tokyo-based SoftBank has a lot of U.S. investors rubbing their hands with anticipation (but Softbank investors are not so happy - Softbank stock dropped 28 percent on news of the deal.). According to the present terms, Softbank will invest $3 billion immediately and when the deal nears completion will add another $5 billion. Investors can cash out immediately. A majority of shares (55 percent) will be bought out at $7.30 apiece, a handsome profit for shares currently valued at $5.76.

However, it remains to be seen whether Sprint's 40,000 employees will see any benefit, or whether they'll be treated as many Sprint workers were in the wake of past deals. The Overland Park-based company is famous for outsourcing, and offshoring, many of its functions and employees.

For instance, in July, 2009, Sprint transferred 6,000 employees to Ericsson Services in what one newsletter said was "an outsourcing deal with Ericsson to hand over management of its nationwide wireless and wireline networks."

Anxious Sprint employees probably got no reassurance from CEO Dan Hesse's enthusiastic public message his "Sprint teammates." He said:

"You will undoubtedly have questions. Over the coming months, we will keep you updated. The most important thing right now is to focus on serving our customers as we enter into the busy fourth quarter. Our customers are counting on us to deliver the wireless service that has become central to their lives."

In other words, investors first, customers second and workers a distant third.

Sprint shareholders can cash in big -- but not all their shares (KC Star, Oct. 15, 2012)

Sprint Outsourcing Deal Includes 6,000 Jobs
(Wireless Week, Jul. 9, 2009)

Sprint build-out? Shutdown more like it. (EyeOnSprint, Feb. 10, 2012)