At a joint news conference today in Bonn, Germany, unions blasted the way Deutsche Telekom (DT) conducts business worldwide, most notably what it calls anti-union practices on the part of T-Mobile USA – allegations that T-Mobile USA categorically denies.
ver.di, the union representing workers at Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile operations in Germany, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and UNI Global Union said “DT management’s double standard in the way it treats workers in different countries must end now.”
According to a press release, CWA and ver.di formed TU last November to stop what they say is a double standard that has allowed T-Mobile USA to “harass and intimidate workers” in the United States who want union representation. Lothar Schröder, an executive board member of ver.di, is responsible for relations with Deutsche Telekom, and CWA’s President Larry Cohen has responsibilities for organizing and working with telecom workers and TU members in the United States.
In a statement, T-Mobile USA rejected what it calls the CWA’s “misleading rhetoric” regarding alleged unfair labor practices “and its propagation of such fallacious claims.”
“T-Mobile USA respects the rights of unions to exist and recognizes and respects employees’ rights to organize or to refrain from organizing. To date, T-Mobile employees have chosen not to join any union,” the company said.
In the press release, Schroeder said that “in Germany and many countries, DT complies with its Social Charter, which directs the company to adhere to internationally recognized norms, directives and standards.” Schroeder said that DT also respects the human rights standards of the International Labor Organization and upholds the labor principles of the United Nations Global Compact regarding freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
“But when it comes to U.S. operations, which employs about 40,000 workers and produces about 25 percent of DT’s revenue, DT’s Social Charter is nowhere to be found,” Schroeder said.
T-Mobile USA points to its record as one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work in the United States in 2009 and says it has been recognized elsewhere as a best place to work. “T-Mobile provides an employee-friendly workplace where our people enjoy excellent working conditions, competitive pay and benefits, and direct, open and frequent communication with managers,” the company said.