Unions push to organize T-Mobile USA employees

The Communications Workers of America and a German union called ver.di have forged an alliance to persuade Deutsche Telekom to allow unionizing at its U.S. subsidiary, T-Mobile USA. The two unions have formed a new organization called TUnion, which CWA President Larry Cohn said will try and end the "double standard" of Deutsche Telekom supporting unionized workers in Germany but not in the United States.

Ver.di will represent T-Mobile USA workers and the CWA in negotiations with Deutsche Telekom in Germany. At the same time, the CWA said it would renew its efforts to organize at the nation's fourth largest carrier. The CWA, which for most of the year waged battles with AT&T's wireline division over new contracts, said T-Mobile has persistently tried to stop unions since the company began operating in the U.S. market.

"We're really here to say to multinational companies, in this case Deutsche Telekom, we're tired of the face of cooperation in Germany ... and then the stick in the United States, the club of intolerance," Cohn said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., according to Reuters.

In a statement, T-Mobile defended the workplace environment at the company, and pointed out that "multiple anonymous, third party employee satisfaction surveys taken over the last several years"  have shown that more than 70 percent of T-Mobile‘s 40,000 employees are very satisfied with their employment.

"Despite the Communication Workers of America's periodic organizing efforts for more than nine years, no group of T-Mobile employees has ever chosen to be represented by a union," the statement said.  "While our company is always striving to find ways to improve, year after year, employees continue to view T-Mobile as a good place to work where they have no need for, or interest in, a union."

For more:
- see this AP article
- see this Reuters article

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