News

By Ado Wilhelm, Campaign Director, “We Expect Better”

As front-line workers in retail sales and call centers, and as telecommunications technicians, we are concerned that the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint will mean the loss of many Ameri

T-Mobile and Sprint announced their intention to merge, with T-Mobile paying Sprint $26 billion and keeping control of the proposed new corporation in the hands of T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

At the Forum of the Deutsche Telekom's Works Councils on November 16, this year's guest speaker, the chair of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) Reiner Hoffmann, addressed the situation at T-Mobile US.

He received a lot of applause for his comment that what is happening at T-Mobile US cannot be tolerated. The situation is absolutely clear, Hoffmann said: "We expect better!". In a globalized economy, the company is responsible for good working conditions and compliance with workers' rights of its employees not only in Germany, but also abroad.

Greg Caron is a 14-year veteran T-Mobile employee who recently decided it was time to take action as major changes threatened to devalue skilled positions at the company. Back in May Greg attended a town hall meeting at the T-Mobile call center in Colorado Springs where Vice President Callie Fields explained the transition to Team of Experts (TEX) customer care call center units. Callie told the crowd at the meeting that there was a strong possibility that Specialized Technical Care (STC) would be outsourced or dissolved and rolled into TEX.

Our partners at ver.di, Germany’s second-largest labor union and the union representing workers at T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom (DT), are helping to build solidarity with our co-workers in Germany.

From Zagreb, Croatia, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, union members around the world are demanding dignity for T-Mobile US employees. At a conference in Zagreb in June, the information technology and telecommunications workers of UNI Europa ICTS unanimously backed our demand that the company respect our right to organize our union.

We've all read the headlines: T-Mobile and Sprint are talking merger . . . again. Sprint is notorious for outsourcing good call center jobs to low-wage contractors in and outside of the United States, cutting its workforce by more than 50 percent in the past 11 years, and exporting thousands of jobs to the Philippines, Mexico, India, and other countries. So what action can we take to protect ourselves?

We're pleased to report that earlier this month, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed 11 guilty findings in a case arguing that many rules in the T-Mobile handbook are illegal. The court also found T-Mobile guilty of maintaining a rule that unlawfully bans all types of recordings in the workplace. This confirms that the rule in our employee handbook prohibiting employees from using their phones to take photographs or to make audio or video recordings without permission from a supervisor or manager is not legal.

CWA members at AT&T Mobility in 36 states are fighting for a fair contract right now. In May, TU members stood shoulder-to-shoulder with tens of thousands of CWA members from AT&T Mobility across the United States when they struck for three days.