For Immediate Release
New Report Exposes Labor Relations Double Standard at T-Mobile USA
WASHINGTON - Today the American Rights at Work Education Fund
issued a comprehensive report exposing a systematic campaign to prevent
employees from forming a union by T-Mobile USA and its parent company,
German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom (DT). The report,
“Lowering the Bar or Setting the Standard? Deutsche Telekom’s U.S.
Labor Practices,” presents overwhelming evidence that DT is guilty of
operating by a double standard: The company respects workers’ rights in
Germany, where it cooperates closely with unions, but mistreats workers
in the United States and interferes with their right to organize.
“Respecting workers’ rights and needs benefits employees, their
families, and a company’s bottom line. T-Mobile’s parent company became
a leader in the telecom industry in Europe by working with their
employees and proving that there is a better way to do business,” says
Kimberly Freeman Brown, Executive Director of American Rights at Work
Education Fund. “It is inexcusable that our dysfunctional labor law
system allowed T-Mobile USA to disregard its employees’ rights here in
the United States.”
The failure of U.S. labor law to protect America’s workers from
pervasive unionbusting is well-documented. Yet little attention has
been paid to the practice of foreign companies operating in cooperation
with their employees in their home countries, where labor laws are
stronger, while failing to respect the rights of their workers in the
United States. The same company, under two different systems of law,
results in two very different situations for workers.
Based on Deutsche Telekom’s strong record of supporting workers’
rights in Europe, the American labor movement helped open the door for
the company to enter the U.S. wireless market in 2001. Larry Cohen,
President of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), says, “Since
then, we have seen no respect for workers’ rights, just eight years of
intolerance and hostility toward workers and complete disregard of
their rights to organize and bargain collectively. It’s now time to
hold DT and T-Mobile USA accountable.”
The disparities between employees of Deutsche Telekom on opposite
sides of the Atlantic have led to an unprecedented partnership between
U.S. and German workers. CWA and ver.di, which is Germany’s largest
union, have joined forces to create a new union known as TU to
collectively advance fair treatment and collective bargaining for all
“We believe that through this new union, we will contribute to better
working conditions for workers in both countries,” says Lothar
Schröder, member of the Federal Executive of ver.di. “Management must
get used to the idea that we are representing the interests not only of
German workers but of American workers as well. This is the right
response to globalization.”
CWA and ver.di have been working with UNI Global Union to win a
commitment from T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom that it would
guarantee basic worker and union rights to all of its employees
everywhere in the world. “This agreement would end the double standard
now in place when it comes to workers’ rights,” said UNI General
Secretary Philip Jennings.
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American Rights at Work is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to promoting the freedom of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively with employers. Through action, research findings, and outreach inside and outside of the labor community, we expose injustice in the workplace and fight for the rights of America's workers.
As a leading advocate, American Rights at Work is a readily available resource on workers' rights and labor-related issues. We can also connect you with other advocates, policy experts, activists and figures within the labor movement.