T-Mobile US Workers Unite for Respect

T-Mobile Workers United photo.

With a new website—TMobileWorkersUnited.org—workers at T-Mobile US are connecting with each other to build strength in their drive for workplace justice and respect.

Working with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), T-Mobile Workers United (TU) is an alliance of hundreds of call center representatives, retail associates and technicians who are standing up to discuss the issues and challenges they face at the new T-Mobile US, a merger of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS.

For the past several years, T-Mobile workers say they have faced an extensive anti-union campaign by the company that last year closed seven call centers in the United States and shipped more than 3,300 jobs overseas. Continue reading

Will FCC Chairman Genachowski Allow More Job Destruction in a T-Mobile/MetroPCS Merger?

by Nathan Newman

tmobileoffshoreFCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has made job creation a top priority. Here’s a test: will he require conditions to protect jobs in the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger?

When merging companies talk about “transaction-specific efficiencies” and cost savings through “synergy,” the workers involved know that pink slips are usually on the way. That’s what we can expect if Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski allows a proposed merger of T-Mobile and MetroPCS to go through without conditions to protect employment.

Without conditions, the prospects for T-Mobile workers look grim. T-Mobile and MetroPCS claim the merger will result in $1 billion in “cost reductions” in both customer support and back office operations (see p. 42-44 of their merger request to the FCC), euphemisms for job loss and outsourcing. Today, MetroPCS outsources its entire customer service staffing, with many of those jobs overseas in the Philippines and the Caribbean. It appears that T-Mobile is prepared to adopt this low-road path after the merger in order to realize $1 billion in “synergies” and “efficiencies.” Continue reading

Going Global at T-Mobile: German Union Members Seek Better Treatment for U.S. Wireless Workers

By Steve Early

When telecom technician Werner Schonau came to Nashville last February, it wasn’t for a fun-filled vacation, inspired by some Teutonic affection for country music. Instead, Schonau, an elected member of the works council at Deutsche Telekom (DT) in Neunkirchen, was part of a fact-finding mission that included twelve other German workers, union leaders, and parliamentarians.

In Nashville, this foreign delegation, organized by Germany’s largest union, ver.di, by-passed the Grand Old Opry and went directly to the customer service center operated by T-Mobile, the nationwide wireless carrier wholly-owned by DT. In a pattern that was repeated at other stops on their U.S. labor rights tour, the Germans tried to meet with T-Mobile workers in non-work areas during non-work times, only to be barred by company managers and private security guards at every facility.

In Frisco, Texas, call center supervisors acted like kindergarten teachers, hurriedly closing all the window blinds to prevent customer service reps from seeing those gathered outside, under a union banner. The center director sent his entire staff an email reassuring them that this attempted European invasion was just a “publicity effort.” He also re-iterated the company’s longstanding position that, in the U.S., “it is better for both T-Mobile employees and our business to maintain a direct working relationship between management. The vast majority of our employees have chosen not be represented by a union.”

Continue reading

Deutsche Telekom CSR Report “Misleading”–T-Mobile Cited

ITUC On-line

4 June 2012: The “Corporate Social Responsibility” report released last week by German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom contains misleading corporate spin, according to the ITUC.

International Trade Union Confederation

The report claims that, on issues such as training, employment and offshoring, “Of course, we involve employee representatives when making all of these decisions.”

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “This claim may be true in Deutsche Telekom’s operations in Germany, but it is blatantly false outside the company’s home country. In the US for example, its T-Mobile subsidiary is actively trying to stop its workforce getting union representation, using all the tricks of the notorious union-avoidance business. It is alarming that this company, which is in the process of dismissing thousands of call-centre workers in its US operations, is putting such a huge effort into denying it’s employees legitimate representation. Deutsche Telekom should respect international labour standards across its global operations and stop making public statements which directly contradict the real facts.”

Continue reading

Global Union Alliance Files OECD Complaint against Deutsche Telekom for Union-Busting

12 July 2011: A complaint filed today with the OECD describes how Deutsche Telekom has engaged in anti-union activity in the United States and Montenegro that violates the organisation’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The complaint, filed by the German union ver.di, US union the Communications Workers of America and global union federation UNI Global Union, details the union-busting activity in the United States, where the management of wholly-owned subsidiary T-Mobile USA “has engaged in a pattern of conduct designed to undermine and frustrate employees’ efforts to choose union representation freely and to deny employees their rights to collective bargaining.”

It also reveals that in Montenegro management of Crnogorski Telekom, which is majority owned by Deutsche Telekom, has engaged in conduct designed to undermine employees’ ability to engage in collective action and to exercise their rights to collective bargaining.

Continue reading

Progressives Should Support The AT&T– T-Mobile Merger

by Nathan Newman

Why should progressives care about the proposed merger of AT&T with T-Mobile?   Because AT&T is the ONLY unionized wireless company in the country and the merger would ensure that 20,000+ T-Mobile workers would have the chance to join the 43,000 currently unionized AT&T Mobility employees with decent wages and legal protections on the job.

There are a range of other likely benefits from the merger, from a projected deployment of high-speed broadband to over 97% of the population and better service for existing AT&T and T-Mobile customers from more efficient integration of available spectrum from both companies.  But stepping away from the impact on consumers, which is being endlessly debated, progressives should be focusing as well on the massive gain for workers rights from the merger.

Continue reading