The Truth About Working at T-Mobile

What an exciting time! TU’s good friends, Ado Wilhelm and Kornelia Dubbel, have been visiting the U.S. since Monday July 19, talking with T-Mobile workers, leafleting workplaces, meeting with CWA staff. You have seen their message of solidarity.

CWA and ver.di are planning TU actions over the coming months to dramatize the low road taken by Deutsche Telekom in the U.S. We can’t specify now but suffice it to say that they will be noticed by employees, investors, consumers, and communities – some of the stakeholders of T-Mobile USA.

Ado and Kornelia are hearing the horror stories of working in unorganized workplaces. They hear stories of favoritism – managers treating their friends one way and everyone else another. Or the customer service rep who is sleeping with her supervisor but gets away with angering customers while the hard working employees are downgraded for taking a legally mandated break later than the scheduled break – all because they were serving a customer!

They hear stories of job ads for their positions – the feeling that tomorrow they will not have a job! Not only are their jobs being threatened, but they have to fix the mistakes made by those outsourced workers. They hear stories of schedules that change on a dime, making family situations, child-rearing impossible.

A manager came to one employee: if you know what’s good for you, stay away from the union. Another worker was disciplined for speaking favorably about the union.

In other meetings, Ado and Kornelia hear of supervisors who bully workers not to file disability claims and instead abuse the Family and Medical Leave Act: workers are encouraged to take leaves rather than file for the income support that is guaranteed to worker under Workman’s Compensation. They met one worker who told a story about how her performance standards did not change with FMLA leave: she was still expected to met her targets even though she was on leave. It is a crazy chaos at T-Mobile. And they wonder why morale stinks!

At the Ft. Lauderdale call center, there was scheduled to be a visit from “corporate” on Friday July 23 – in this case both Bellevue (T-Mobile USA) and Bonn (Deutsche Telekom). Employees were told effectively to misrepresent the truth: all was well at the call center! If you are asked if work was stressful, don’t tell them about your friends who have stress-related disabilities.

Don’t tell them about how you are penalized if you take a break later than scheduled because you wanted to complete a call. Don’t tell them about the idiotic metrics that are constantly shifting and can’t be met. Don’t tell them about the worker with 12 years seniority who was demoted and almost fired for not being sympathetic enough with a customer (when the reason for the alleged lack of sympathy was because he was multi-tasking and covering for a manager who was absent). Tell them how T-Mobile gives you a wonderful opportunity to earn an income in a depressed economy! Put on a happy face!

Who is kidding whom?

This is powerful information. This is powerful information we are collecting to share with journalists, politicians, regulators, investors. Ado and Kornelia will be taking this information back to Bonn and Berlin to press for change at Deutsche Telekom.