The Communications Workers of America accused T-Mobile of illegally creating a company-controlled union to gain ground in a long-running fight between the two sides, according to Bloomberg.
CWA claims that a T-Mobile executive sent employees an e-mail in June 2015 announcing the rollout of a group called T-Voice, which purportedly comprised employee "representatives" from each call center to be selected every six months by the company. The executive wrote "T-Voice is your voice" in the first of several messages that CWA claims contradict federal labor rules.
Bloomberg reported that T-Mobile didn't respond to interview requests for the story; representatives weren't immediately available to respond to an inquiry from FierceWireless.
But Bloomberg noted that a company manager in Missouri several months ago described T-Voice as "a direct line for Frontline feedback to senior leadership" and said representatives would relay worker complaints to management who would track them and respond accordingly. The carrier "has also cited T-Voice's input in e-mails to workers announcing perks such as spa days for longtime employees, free Wi-Fi, and cell phone charging stations," Bloomberg wrote.
The battle between T-Mobile and groups trying to unionize the operator are well documented. In January, a self-described "retail and labor watchdog" backed by three major unions called on the FCC to investigate allegations that T-Mobile "fraudulently enrolls subscribers into costly, unwanted add-on services" such as insurance plans, unlimited data offerings or upgrade plans."
CWA also claims that employees are required to attend anti-union meetings during which managers cite T-Voice as a reason workers don't need a union.
Labor strife is nothing new to mobile and fixed-line telecoms, of course. The image of Verizon's FiOS and wireless businesses are increasingly tarnished by an ongoing labor strike, and a CWA division in the Southeast called for a strike against AT&T last year before the two sides hammered out their differences.
A National Labor Relations Board ruled a year ago that T-Mobile's employment practices violated U.S. labor laws by making it difficult for workers to organize and discuss their salaries, and last August a group of 20 House Democrats wrote a letter to parent company Deutsche Telekom seeking more information on the labor practices of its U.S. subsidiary.
- see this Bloomberg report
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