Aug 29, 2013
An amazing National Day of Action energized thousands of DT and T-Mobile workers across Germany. They're telling management to stop the intimidation of T-Mobile US workers. In Dusseldorf, ver.di activists put up a huge "Josh" sign and ran out of leaflets and buttons because of the great demand.
In a tremendous display of solidarity, Deutsche Telekom workers, members of ver.di, Germany's biggest union, held a nationwide Day of Action today at 20 T-Mobile locations. The German workers are shocked by the unjust terminations and management's treatment of workers at T-Mobile US and are supporting their U.S. colleagues who want union representation.
Actions took place in Berlin, at corporate headquarters and the office port in Bonn, in Brüehl, Dortmund, Duesseldorf, Dresden, Kempten (and Schweinfurth), Leipzig, Ludwigshafen, Schwerin, Heilbronn, Koblenz, Mainz, Mannheim, Munich, Saarbruecken, Stuttgart, Trier and other locations. The scale of this action is unprecedented; 10,000 or more workers participated, distributing leaflets, wearing buttons, taking photos and most important, promising to join in even more solidarity actions.
"Unions and employees in the United States must be treated with respect, dignity and fairness. Arbitrariness, threats and dismissals are 'management tools' from the early years of capitalism and unworthy of a modern German company with operations in more than 50 countries around the world," said Lothar Schröder, member of the Executive Board of the United Services Union (Ver.di). "I urge the (DT) Executive Board: Allow US workers to have a voice in the workplace through CWA!"
"We are all Josh" was the message in Brühl (above) and Dortmund (below) as ver.di activists spread the word about T-Mobile US's intimidation of workers.
German workers are protesting the escalating attacks against T-Mobile US employees who actively support CWA representation, as well as the anti-union attitude from upper management of the company, a subsidiary of DT. Workers who want union representation face sanctions up to and including dismissal, ver.di pointed out.
One victim of this practice was Josh Coleman, a customer service rep and union activist who was fired despite having won several awards and praise for his outstanding job performance. German workers have taken Josh's case on as their own, wearing t-shirts that say "We Are All Josh" and hanging "Josh" signs in call center locations. ver.di members say that Josh has to be reinstated, otherwise the protests will be extended and expanded. ver.di also reported that "In the factories there were many good discussions with our colleagues. These discussions were marked by horror at the behavior of T-Mobile US management and of great solidarity with their colleagues in the United States."
The action is part of the international campaign "We Expect Better," anchored by several international union organizations.
Last week, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere was visiting Witchita, Kan. On his way out, he stopped where Coleman was hand billing. Coleman introduced himself and said he is a former employee and asked Legere to reinstate him and Legere repeated "I appreciate what you're doing" and drove off. Here's the flyer that activists handed out: