May 10, 2012
CWAers in Miami show their solidarity with their German colleagues in ver.di.
In a big victory for Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile workers, ver.di — the union representing more than 2 million workers — announced a tentative agreement with DT that provides for a 6.5 percent pay increase over two years for 50,000 workers in Germany. Negotiations are continuing for workers at DT's T-Systems unit.
ver.di members have been holding rolling strikes and mobilizing for a fair contract. They've also been supporting the efforts of T-Mobile USA workers who want the right to bargain here in the United States. In 2010, CWA and ver.di formed TU, a joint union representing T-Mobile workers in both countries, and ver.di union activists have taken on the fight of T-Mobile workers in dealings with DT.
CWA President Larry Cohen said the settlement is a huge step forward for ver.di, TU and the global labor movement: "Why is this settlement possible in Germany, yet in the United States, T-Mobile USA management continues a campaign of fear and intimidation in workplaces where workers want to organize and engages in superficial bargaining at best in Connecticut, where technicians voted for CWA representation last year?"
The difference is that ver.di and the support for collective bargaining is so strong in Germany and many other countries, including those in Latin America and Asia, Cohen said. Bargaining is the way to end income inequality for working Americans, he said, adding, "this is what democracy looks like."