Watchdog slams Deutsche Telekom over T-Mobile USA labor practices

A watchdog group released a report that attacks Deutsche Telekom, among other companies for their poor labor practices in the U.S.

The report, released by Human Rights Watch, said that Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA subsidiary blocked an effort in 2006 to unionize a call center in Allentown, Pa., in part by making workers attend meetings that attacked unions. The report also targeted practices at companies like retailer Tesco and security group G4S for their U.S. labor practices. The report said that tactics generally included threatening workers who wanted to unionize with firing and having the police intimidate workers who wanted to get union literature. 

Deutsche Telekom told the Financial Times that its actions "are absolutely correct and above board. As a company, we respect all rules and laws, even in the U.S. It's baffling that we are being named in this context and firmly reject all the allegations."

This is not the first time Deutsche Telekom has come under fire for its labor practices at T-Mobile. In November 2009, the Communications Workers of America and a German union called ver.d forged an alliance to persuade Deutsche Telekom to allow unionizing at T-mobile. The two unions formed a new organization called TUnion, which CWA President Larry Cohn said at the time was going to try and end the "double standard" of Deutsche Telekom supporting unionized workers in Germany but not in the United States.

At the time, T-Mobile pointed out that despite the CWA's efforts for more than nine years to get T-Mobile workers to unionize, no group of employees as chosen to do so. The company also said that T-Mobile employees have found no need for, or interest in, a union. 

For more:
- see this FT article

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