United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) students at dozens of campuses across the country are launching a new campaign to demand that universities cut commercial ties with T-Mobile unless the company changes its ways. With T-Mobile workers fighting for a voice on the job and the company engaging in a vicious, anti-worker campaign, students are stepping up to put an end to the exploitation of T-Mobile workers in their names. T-Mobile has important contracts on campuses that grant the company preferential access to market to students and staff, contracts to purchase wireless service for staff and, most importantly, construction of cell tower infrastructure on campuses.
Jamila Brown, a USAS member at the College of Charleston, sends us the following update on her chapter's activity for the T-Mobile campaign:
Early this month at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, our USAS local, members of the community and workers joined together to demand respect in the workplace for T-Mobile employees in Charleston and nationwide.
For years, anti-worker company T-Mobile has been disrespecting their workers in retail stores and call centers and discouraging them from seeking a voice on the job. Workers are under such stressful conditions that many T-Mobile employees have had to seek medical care. Some of these stressful conditions include unrealistic sale goals, lack of job security, strictly monitored bathroom breaks and constant pressure from management. It’s even been reported by workers that their supervisor made them wear a dunce cap.
Colleges and universities, including College of Charleston, have contracts with T-Mobile all across the country. We are very disappointed by T-Mobile’s systematic abuse of its workers, and we believe our institution should only do business with companies who respect workers’ rights. Like other USAS locals, we are demanding that our president end all ties and cut our contract with the anti-worker company, T-Mobile.
This month at the College of Charleston, our USAS local held a teach-in and candlelight vigil in support of T-Mobile workers. During the teach-in, students, workers and members of the community were briefed about the campaign through a short video, as well as by guests from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and students in the Charleston USAS local.
After the teach-in, students led a candlelight vigil to the administration building, demanding our president to cut the school’s contract and all ties with T-Mobile. T-Mobile call center workers from Wichita, Kan., Charleston and Albuquerque, N.M., gave worker testimonies concerning their experiences at T-Mobile. One worker spoke about the difficulty of working in such stressful and unstable conditions and how that makes it very difficult for her to go home and take care of her children. Another worker spoke about T-Mobile drastically decreasing his self-esteem because of the awful things management says and does on a daily basis. Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile’s parent company) workers were present to show their support for justice for T-Mobile workers. One of the German workers spoke, and this person made it very clear that T-Mobile is behind the times when it comes to respecting workers and workers' rights. The Deutsche Telekom workers are very disappointed in T-Mobile’s behavior and have been standing in solidarity with T-Mobile workers.
Our local USAS group is looking forward to supporting T-Mobile workers in Charleston, and all across the country.
The AFL-CIO has a national partnership with USAS. Read more here.