Pinole, Calif. -- Workers at a Bay Area T-Mobile retail store in Pinole, Calif., voted last week to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The vote was 7-2 in favor of union representation.
During the election campaign, T-Mobile engaged in unlawful intimidation of the workers, holding one-on-one interrogations about their union activity and threatening to fire them. The T-Mobile employees in Pinole persisted despite T-Mobile’s threat of retaliation. The National Labor Relations Board’s regional office in Oakland, Calif., investigated and found merit in CWA’s allegation that T-Mobile engaged in conduct that violates protections for these workers that are guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act.
“I am so proud of what we’ve done to stand up for ourselves,” said Symone Ramirez, a Mobile Expert at the Pinole T-Mobile store. “Most people are too afraid to try to make a difference at work, especially when managers threaten to fire you for speaking out. But we found out that if you stick together as a team, even a small group of people can make a big change.”
Workers at T-Mobile and MetroPCS have been organizing for a voice and fair treatment at work as part of T-Mobile Workers United (TU), which is affiliated with CWA and ver.di, the union that represents German telecom workers at T-Mobile and its parent company Deutsche Telekom. Concern among workers has been growing due to the uncertainty created by the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger and the potential for layoffs. Retail workers at a Metro by T-Mobile store in New York are also represented by CWA.
“All wireless workers deserve a voice on the job to address wages, benefits, and working conditions,” said CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce. “This is just the first step. T-Mobile has already shown their disregard for laws that protect workers. We will be keeping a close eye on the company as these workers negotiate their first contract to make sure that the talks proceed smoothly and without delay.”