A Bloomberg story reports that the cellular phone company T-Mobile is being accused of creating a fake union as a way to fight off gains by the real union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
The company is accused of pretending to have a system that represents workers to management as a way of making employees think they do not need a union. In fact the representation system is the company itself.
According to the story, “T-Mobile Accused of Fighting a Real Union by Creating a Fake One“:
For more than a decade, the Communications Workers of America has been trying to unionize T-Mobile, the U.S. subsidiary of German giant Deutsche Telekom, which is now the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier. The campaign has so far won only two union contracts, covering about 30 of T-Mobile’s roughly 45,000 employees. Now CWA is alleging to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that T-Mobile has adopted an anti-union tactic that’s been illegal since 1935: creating a company-controlled union to drain support for an independent one.
So T-Mobile has created a system where the company selects “representatives” from each call center, every six months. They will “provide feedback” to management. The system is called “T-Voice” and is funded by the company. From the Bloomberg story:
CWA alleges that in anti-union meetings employees are required to attend, managers are citing the existence of T-Voice as a reason workers don’t need a union. “I find it insulting,” says CWA supporter Angela Melvin, a customer service representative in Wichita. “Because again it’s T-Mobile telling you what’s best for you.”
CWA calls T-Voice a “company-dominated” labor organization. The government made this illegal during the New Deal because it suppresses the ability of unions to organize, which at the time the government considered essential for the proper operation of the economy and a means of fighting inequality.