Blake Poindexter, a former T-Mobile USA worker who lost his job in the shuttering of seven call centers, addressed shareholders at the Deutsche Telekom (DT) annual meeting in Cologne, Germany, today. Poindexter, who now is working with CWA to help T-Mobile USA workers gain bargaining rights, worked at the Frisco, Tex., call center. That center, along with six others, will close in June affecting the jobs of 3,300 workers.
Poindexter asked Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann this question: "Mr. Obermann, will you instruct your managers at T-Mobile USA to refrain from campaigning against workers' attempts to organize a union? Will you end the barrage of negative statements and actions from management each time workers seek to organize a union?"
Despite DT's history of positive union relations in Germany, its subsidiary T-Mobile USA has used a variety of union avoidance tactics to stop workers from choosing union representation, including; holding mandatory captive audience meetings, management intimidation of workers, hiring lawyers and consultants to pursue "union avoidance," and even threatening workers who take a union leaflet. Those union avoidance tactics also are very much in evidence in Connecticut, where 15 technicians who voted for CWA representation a year ago still can't reach a first contract due to the company's superficial bargaining.
In contrast, DT and T-Mobile just reached a new agreement with 50,000 T-Mobile workers in Germany that provided a 6.5 percent wage increase over two years; negotiations are continuing with a T-Mobile technician group.
Also today, an ad signed by prominent U.S. officials, academics and former secretaries of labor appeared in the Bonn newspaper, Bonner Generalanzeiger. This ad reinforces the message from German leaders and scholars who signed a similar ad in the New York Times in March. Both call on DT to give U.S. workers the same respect as German workers when it comes to bargaining rights.
A global online petition is being launched so supporters can show their solidarity with T-Mobile USA workers and their fight for bargaining rights. Go to http://cwa-union.org/savetmobilejobs for more information.