The world is watching, Global Unions take on T-Mobile campaign

CWA Press Release

16. Februar 2011: When the Communications Workers of America and ver.di, the German union representing two million workers, including telecom workers at Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile, announced the formation of TU, it established a bold and innovative, global union that is working to end discrimination against workers at T-Mobile USA and other Deutsche Telekom subsidiaries. T-Mobile workers in both countries would belong to TU and together would have a powerful voice at the company.

Since then thousands of German T-Mobile workers have stood up in support of their U.S. colleagues and have called on DT to end its double standard of supporting workers’ rights in Europe but completely opposing them in the United States.
Now, the entire world has joined the campaign. The global union movement, the International Trade Union Confederation, has announced it is launching a major global campaign to convince Deutsche Telekom to end anti-union discrimination and allow T-Mobile USA workers the right to join a union if they choose.

Deutsche Telekom has repeatedly refused to stop the anti-union campaign being waged by T-Mobile USA. “We expect better from Deutsche Telekom,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. “With operations in some 50 countries, it has established union relations with much of its workforce. However, in the USA in particular, the company massively violates its responsibility to be neutral towards trade unions, and tries to keep unions out of its workplaces. We’re simply asking Deutsche Telekom to respect fundamental rights for all those who work for it around the world, in line with international legal standards.”

T-Mobile’s determination to stop employees from joining a union has included engaging specialist union-busters in the U.S., intimidation and harassment, and even firing union supporters. Detailed evidence of the anti-union campaign was revealed last September in a special report published by Human Rights Watch. The report “...details ways in which some European multinational firms have carried out aggressive campaigns to keep workers in the United States from organizing and bargaining, violating international standards and, often, U.S. labor laws.”

“Our message to Deutsche Telekom is this: We’re tired of the face of cooperation in Germany and then the club of intolerance in the United States. The global union movement expects better. We expect Deutsche Telekom to follow the standard it has set in Germany – respect for workers’ rights,” said CWA President Larry Cohen.
“With the whole world pushing back at Deutsche Telekom, we know that T-Mobile USA workers will get the union voice they want,” he said.

Ado Wilhelm, divisional director of mobile communications for ver.di, said “the German people are shocked that a flagship company like Deutsche Telekom is allowing such union discrimination and bad behavior.”

Starting this week, billboards and other public advertising will be going up in several cities where T-Mobile USA operates, including Richmond, Va., Allentown, Pa., Salem, Ore., and more.