Stand with T-Mobile Workers
T-Mobile Workers Organizing!
Workers are optimistic following the recent merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA!
T-Mobile is the fourth largest wireless company in the US. It has 38,000 employees in the United States and 33 million US customers. It's big!
Until recently, T-Mobile was a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom AG based in Germany. The company's workers in Germany are unionized and earn good wages and benefits. The relationship between the company and the union in Germany has been mutually beneficial for both employees and managers.
But T-Mobile workers in the US were not so fortunate under the direction of Deutsche Telecom. In contrast to their practices of their parent company in Germany, T-Mobile routinely distributed anti-union handbooks for managers and conducted organized campaigns to stop unionization when workers tried to form a union. T-Mobile had been cited several times for National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) violations for interfering with workers rights to organize.
Since the announcement of AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile, however, employees with the company have been hopeful that AT&T will honor its commitment to workers' right to form unions without fear or intimidation. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) already represents 42,000 AT&T wireless employees, in addition to 104,000 AT&T workers on the wireline side of the company. AT&T has maintained a policy of true neutrality regarding union representation which has enabled its employees to make their own choices.
CWA has a majority sign-up /neutrality agreement with AT&T that would apply after the merger closes. After the AT&T/Cingular merger, as well as other AT&T transactions, workers at the acquired companies chose union representation and quickly gained coverage in collective bargaining agreements.
Workers are hoping that AT&T will continue its tradition of neutrality with respect the workers' decision to form a union. As T-Mobile employees continue to their unionization efforts, there a number of ways that you can support them:
What you can do
1) If you are a T-Mobile customer, talk with your local store manager about your concerns. Email firstname.lastname@example.org about the response you received.
3) If you live in near any of the call centers, consider ways to surround the workers with prayer, encouragement and support. For example, you might:
- Meet with the workers and find out more about their situation.
- Find a congregation near the call center where workers could meet
- Invite area clergy to talk with workers about faith traditions' support for workers rights to organize. Perhaps there might even be one or two clergy members who might agree to serve as chaplains for the call center workers.
- Organize a delegation of community leaders to meet with the call center management and encourage them to respect workers rights to organize without employer pressure.
3) Participate in worker sponsored events.
T-Mobile call centers are located in:
Colorado Springs, CO
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
If you'd like to be involved in any other of these communities, contact Jonathan Currie at email@example.com.
For the CWA campaign website, visit www.loweringthebarforus.org.
American Rights at Work prepared an excellent report on the company called, Lowering the Bar or Setting the Standard?: Deutsche Telekom's U.S. Labor Practice. Download a free copy.
Human Rights Watch prepared a report, A Strange Case: Violations of Workers Freedom of Association by European Multinational Corporations (September 2, 2010), that looked at a number of European companies that respect workers rights to organize in Europe, but not in the U.S. There is a chapter on Deutsche Telekom. Click here to get a free copy