In a recent editorial
supporting the NLRB's proposal to streamline union representation elections, the LA Times
In fact, employers can and often do begin pressing the nonunion line on each worker's first day on the job.
This isn't hypothetical: Target is not alone in making new employees watch an anti-union video their first day on the job, and a recent study found that employer abuses begin before union representation petitions are filed. Union organizing drives last a finite time; employer anti-union campaigning often lasts the entire duration of a worker's employment.
T-Mobile is another such company. T-Mobile workers are trying to organize into a union (specifically the Communications Workers of America), and:
the company has hired union-busting attorneys and is conducting a classic anti-union campaign with mandatory captive audience meetings, delaying tactics and other intimidation measures, says UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings.
But T-Mobile is not Target or Walmart. It is owned by Deutsche Telekom, which itself is 30% owned by the German government and which has a unionized workforce in Germany. In fact, Deutsche Telekom:
boasts in its annual report on corporate responsibility that it is committed to the global labor standards established by the International Labor Organization (ILO), a branch of the United Nations.
So while T-Mobile is acting as a typical American company in trying to intimidate its workers away from joining a union and using delay tactics and frivolous complaints to buy time for further intimidation, unions are taking the fight international. This week the CWA, German union ver.di and UNI Global Union filed a complaint with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development:
The OECD guidelines, to which both Germany and the United States are signatories, have set a single standard that all governments must promote with employers, including the right of workers at multinationals to form or join trade unions of their choice.
Unions are also lining up political support in the U.S., including Rep. Tim Bishop and Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Additionally, if AT&T and T-Mobile merge, T-Mobile workers will benefit from a neutrality agreement in place between AT&T and CWA.