Dec 5, 2013
TU activists Adrian Dominguez and Josh Coleman meet with CWA President Larry Cohen.
TU activists Josh Coleman and Adrian Dominguez met with the CWA executive board this week.
They both talked about CWA's partnership with ver.di and the fight to get workers a voice on the job at T-Mobile US and MetroPCS.
Coleman used to work at a T-Mobile call center in Wichita, Kan. He was illegally fired because of his union activity, and the NLRB is now prosecuting T-Mobile for violating U.S. labor law.
Dominguez helped organize the first MetroPCS retail store since T-Mobile purchased the wireless carrier. In September, workers at the Harlem store voted 7-1 for CWA representation. Even though the store had just nine employees, T-Mobile US executives kept up an intense anti-union campaign.
"Management used every trick in the book to break our unity. They lied about dues. They asked for a second chance," he told the board. "They said CWA was a 'third party.' They brought in a technician from Connecticut to bash the union. They flew in the VP for HR from Washington to brow beat us. They held dozens of forced meetings in the basement with us, literally reading from an anti-union script. A few days before the election, the CEO of the company even showed up at our little store in Harlem! Of course, this company underestimated our courage, our solidarity and our knowledge."
Thousands of union members at T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom in Germany – who have a significant voice on the job, collective bargaining and many seats on the company supervisory board – have taken on U.S. workers' cause and are protesting their company's treatment of T-Mobile US employees. Recently, their union, ver.di, sent a letter to Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile US, telling the company it should cease the captive audience meetings that workers have been forced to attend. And Coleman was able to travel to Germany, where he visited five cities and spoke to more than 5,000 Deutsche Telekom workers.
"The standing ovations, the many hugs and the countless words of encouragement from Ver.di members were unexpected and beyond my imagination. I don't consider myself a fired worker, but an activist and organizer that's part of a bigger cause," Coleman said.