T-Mobile USA to Butt Heads With NLRB Over Union Complaints

By Josh Long Comments
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In a press release last November announcing NLRB's plans to prosecute the mobile carrier, CWA claimed the management of Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile USA "has stepped up a campaign of fear, intimidation and harassment against U.S. workers who want the same union voice" as Deutsche Telekom employees. The German labor union Verdi represents employees of Deutsche Telekom.

NLRB's March 31, 2014, order details charges against T-Mobile for maintaining "overly broad and discriminatory" rules in its employee handbook, confidentiality agreements and other materials.

The federal agency also contends T-Mobile managers in Albuquerque have discouraged workers from engaging in union activities partly through interrogation and threats in violation of the National Relations Labor Act. The order also states some employees were discharged or suspended for their union activities.

Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile, the nation's fourth-largest wireless carrier, has very little union representation. According to T-Mobile's annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, fewer than 20 of its roughly 40,000 full-time and part-time employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Chuck Porcari, a spokesman for CWA, said some MetroPCS employees in Harlem, N.Y., have union representation, and about a dozen T-Mobile technicians in Connecticut are union workers as well.

Last year, T-Mobile USA completed its acquisition of MetroPCS, merging companies that had 2012 revenues totaling $24.8 billion and 43 million subscribers as of March 31, 2013.

As of Dec. 31, 2013, T-Mobile provided service to roughly 47 million customers, with 69 percent of revenues deriving from postpaid customers, 26 percent from prepaid customers, and 5 percent from wholesale customers, roaming and other services. The three-month period ending the year marked T-Mobile's third consecutive quarter of more than 1 million customer additions, according to an investor presentation.

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