Why did T-Mobile management agree to a settlement of unfair labor practice complaints in Wichita?
Probably because the decision by the National Labor Relations Board general counsel to consolidate recent unfair labor practice complaints brought against T-Mobile US is going forward, and T-Mobile US knows that there is clear evidence, especially through the company's "third party activity reports," that its anti-worker campaigns are directed by and orchestrated by top management at headquarters in Bellevue, Wash.
The telecommunications company has been cited for its relentless and escalating attempts over the past 10 years to stop workers from obtaining union representation.
The next NLRB hearing is taking place in Albuquerque, NM, where at least two T-Mobile US workers were illegally disciplined after being identified as union activists and supporters; both were fired after they made their support public.
The activists were organizing in an environment just as, or maybe more, hostile than Wichita, since the New Mexico supervisors more openly threatened workers. The NLRB also will prosecute its claims that the company's handbook and other policies used nationwide violate federal labor law because of their intimidating effect on workers who want a union.
Over the past decade, NLRB complaints were repeatedly issued against T-Mobile in different regional offices. The decision to consolidate a group of current unfair labor practice complaints challenging the company's disciplinary actions targeting union activists and its overly broad company rules and policies into one national case is an important step by the NLRB. The company will need to defend its systemic anti-union behavior in one proceeding where the board can order broad relief for employees at every T-Mobile location.
The decision requires one hearing officer to hear all complaints, witnesses and evidence regarding T-Mobile's efforts to block workers from voting for union representation.
The general counsel's decision was affirmed by an administrative law judge. The NLRB is responding to the history of broken promises by T-Mobile when it comes to following U.S. labor law. Consolidation will allow the NLRB to issue more effective remedies to finally stop T-Mobile's outrageous conduct.