Global Unions Respond to T-Mobile USA’s latest union attacks

10. Juni 2011: Global labour has responded to the latest anti-worker attacks initiated by Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile USA

Global labour has responded to the latest anti-worker attacks initiated by Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile USA, and have written to Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann asking for an immediate intervention to stop management’s violations of international labour conventions.
Last week the company in the United States launched an aggressive anti-union campaign against a group of more than 40 technical workers that were trying to organise for the purposes of collective bargaining in the state’s of New York and Connecticut with the trade union the Communications Workers of America.

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings and ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said in a joint letter, “We write to express extreme disappointment over the recent turn of events involving Deutsche Telekom’s subsidiary in the US, T-Mobile USA. After a long record of opposing unionisation at every turn, we believed that T-Mobile USA would change its behaviour after the announcement that AT&T had made a bid for its purchase. But, in yesterday’s hearing to decide the terms of an election regarding unionisation, T-Mobile USA embraced the classic anti-union tactics of the ‘union avoidance’ industry in the US.”

Global labour has launched a campaign called “We Expect Better” calling upon T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom to adhere to international labour standards of non-interference for employees on the question of unionisation. In addition, UNI Global Union has been seeking a Global Agreement with Deutsche Telekom for a number of years without result.

In addition to legal procedures to delay the election, the CWA is also reporting that individual managers have actively been discouraging employees to support union organising through threats of losing current benefits if they voted ‘yes’ for a union.

“We urge you to immediately intervene to demand a different outcome. T-Mobile USA should recognise the union where there is majority support, without delay. We expect better from Deutsche Telekom,” said Jennings and Burrow.

AT&T has an agreement with CWA that allows for workers to choose a union without management interference. That policy would apply if the merger of T-Mobile and AT&T is approved by U.S. regulatory authorities. UNI and the ITUC have publicly supported the merger based on its benefits for workers and the build out of high-speed broadband. The German government holds a 30% stake in Deutsche Telekom and if the deal goes through DT would become the largest shareholder in AT&T.

Download the letter:

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Letter to Deutsche Telekom CEO on T-Mobile union avoidance