T-Mobile, the telecom company that earlier this year closed seven call centers in the United States and shipped more than 3,300 jobs overseas, is running its remaining U.S. call center operations under what workers describe as a “climate of tyranny,” says Lothar Schroeder of German union ver.di, which represents workers at Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s parent company. Schroeder spoke with Reuters.
Schroeder came to the United States through a partnership with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to witness T-Mobile call center facilities and speak with workers who are trying to organize. Schroeder says he's appalled by the working conditions at the T-Mobile sites he visited and returned to Germany to make change at Deutsche Telekom, where he sits on the supervisory board.
Workers at a number of T-Mobile call centers are mobilizing to win a voice at work with CWA and have been met with a fierce anti-union campaign. The story of T-Mobile workers trying to organize has resonated across the globe, garnering major press mentions in the U.S. and Europe from Schroeder's comments.
Says CWA President Larry Cohen:
Workers at T-Mobile on both sides of the Atlantic are standing together to stop their company's attack on bargaining rights. This story resonates in Germany, where workers' rights are respected, but at most employers in the U.S., workers face constant harassment and intimidation for wanting a union voice. CWA working with ver.di and all our progressive allies, is determined to change that.
Also, a few weeks ago, T-Mobile announced a merger with competitor MetroPCS that CWA has “serious concerns" about, including its impact on workers’ rights. Both unions plan to launch a campaign highlighting the working conditions and T-Mobile’s treatment of its workers, along with opposition to the merger.
MetroPCS shares T-Mobile’s U.S. job-killing record. The company has "outsourced all of its customer contact center services to maintain low operating expenses" through a partnership with Telvista, a call center outsourcer. Good American jobs are now going to Mexico, Antigua, Panama and the Philippines, according to the MetroPCS's 10-K filing.