WICHITA, Kan. — Today T-Mobile Workers United (TU) opened its first field office to the support the growing momentum and energy of the union’s organizing campaign at T-Mobile US and MetroPCS.
“TU members are advocating to improve their work lives and their company,” said George Kohl, CWA senior director for policy and legislation. “They have stood up against illegal harassment and intimidation for a voice on the job. They rallied allies both locally and globally. They have been effective and have won powerful improvements in their workplaces. These outstanding employees and brave activists have come together to grow the company and make T-Mobile a better place to work. This field office in Kansas is a testament to their hard work, perseverance, and future ambitions."
The Wichita field office will be a place where workers can learn more about TU and members can ramp up their efforts to improve call centers, retail stores and other facilities.
“T-Mobile workers in Wichita are ready for a seat at the table, and the opening of this Local office is proof of the momentum of our campaign to come together as workers and collectively bargain with our employer,” said Angela Melvin, a customer service representative at T-Mobile’s call center in Wichita. “We have come such a long way in building our union at T-Mobile, and I know there is much work to be done. I cannot wait to see what the building of this union has in store for us!”
TU is a new kind of union, following in the footsteps of Our Walmart and the Fight for $15. Like them, TU has been winning big — paid parental leave, fairer scheduling, vital free-speech protections and more — even as workers build their union. This past spring, they took another major step forward by formally electing Chief Stewards, co-workers who are their union representatives.
TU is supported by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Germany's largest union ver.di, which represents workers at T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom in Germany. Together, they recently created a national organization for T-Mobile workers, TU Local 6457, and launched the TU Council to promote cooperation on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Ver.di and CWA have been working in solidarity and friendship together for many years,” said Lothar Schröder, a ver.di union leader and vice-chairman of the Deutsche Telekom Supervisory Board. “Forming TU in 2008, we made an important and unique step for the global labor movement in furthering our international union cooperation. Now with the opening of the TU field office in Wichita, we continue on this path. Ver.di and I are committed to do what it takes so that T-Mobile workers can freely decide whether they want to join a union to have a voice in the workplace.”
The grand opening also featured speeches from Kansas State Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, Kansas State Rep. Gail Finney and Community Operations Recovery Empowerment Inc. (CORE) Executive Director Brandon Johnson.