T-Mobile

The exterior of a T-Mobile store in Manchester, Connecticut is seen in this 2014 photo. (Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/cc)

Inspired by Starbucks and Amazon Worker Wins, 300 T-Mobile Customer Service Staff Unionize

"We hope not just to secure protections for ourselves, but be the spark that unites T-Mobile's frontline fight," said the new union.

Citing "mass layoffs and recent pay deductions" and inspiration from unionizing workers at Starbucks and Amazon, hundreds of workers at telecommunications giant T-Mobile on Wednesday announced that they are forming an independent union, the T-Force Social Care Alliance.

"It's been more and more layoffs, more and more pay cuts, more and more work pressure."

The nascent TSCA--which represents around 300 T-Mobile social media customer service workers--said in a statement that it has "tried to work with" the company, whose U.S. branch alone is worth over $170 billion, but "has been brushed aside."

TSCA tweeted Thursday that its "mission is to have management recognize our union, advocate for our fellow workers through empowerment, economic justice, job security, and healthy work standards for all."

More Perfect Unionreports:

The effort has been spurred by two moves from management: One, to force workers back into the workplace, despite years of remote work; and two, to restructure workers' bonus pay system, in some cases cutting workers' take-home pay by thousands of dollars.

More broadly, workers are looking to the union for job security. T-Mobile merged with Sprint in 2019, promising government regulators that the move would result in job creation "from day one"; instead, the company has shed over 6,000 jobs in the years since, with further layoffs announced as recently as July.

The Communication Workers of America estimates the job loss is closer to 20,000. Watching the company eliminate positions as part of "organizational shifts" has customer service workers worried they might be next.

"If we don't do something as far as getting federal protection through unionizing, our jobs are next," TSCA member Tyler Roquemore toldDemocracy Now! Wednesday. "And, you know, ever since the merger with [Sprint], it's been more and more layoffs, more and more pay cuts, more and more work pressure. So, this is what we feel is the right thing to do, is stand in solidarity for worker rights."

In 2017, the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered T-Mobile to rescind illegal workplace rules that prohibited discussions about pay, employment conditions, and other issues, and banned documentation of safety violations and other problems.

"T-Mobile's culture made it a perfect stronghold against unions for years, but the clear shift to profits over people has changed the perception of many of their employees," TSCA said.

The new T-Mobile union comes amid a wave of labor organizing across the United States. Defying corporate union-busting, workers at more than 200 U.S. Starbucks locations, as well as employees of companies including Amazon, Amy's Kitchen, Apple, Chipotle, HelloFresh, and Trader Joe's have moved to unionize, as have Minor League Baseball players.

"The TSCA hopes to follow in the footsteps of the brave Starbucks and Amazon workers who have shown us this is possible," the new union said. "We hope not just to secure protections for ourselves, but be the spark that unites T-Mobile's frontline fight."

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