Washington, D.C. – A former T-Mobile USA worker who lost his job as T-Mobile USA shuts down seven call centers will address shareholders attending the Deutsche Telekom (DT) annual meeting in Cologne, Germany, on May 24. Blake 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 and his Frisco colleagues worked for union representation at their call center, but have faced management intimidation and interference. In his remarks on Thursday, Blake will ask Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann to end T-Mobile USA’s interference in workers’ efforts to gain union representation.
Poindexter will ask: “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.
Nearly a year ago, 15 T-Mobile USA technicians in Connecticut voted for CWA representation. But since that election, the company has only engaged in superficial contract bargaining.
In contrast, DT and T-Mobile recently 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. DT and T-Mobile acknowledge ver.di, the union representing German telecom workers, as a partner in the company’s work. That same recognition is nowhere to be found in the U.S.
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 earlier this year. 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 also is being launched so supporters can show their solidarity with T-Mobile USA workers and their fight for bargaining rights. Go to www.weexpectbetter.org for more information.