April 28, 2011
STATEMENT BY UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION PRESIDENT JOE HANSEN ON THE AT&T AND T-MOBILE MERGER
Washington, D.C. – The acquisition of T-Mobile USA by AT&T is good news for workers, consumers and the U.S. economy. This merger represents an opportunity for the U.S. to expand high speed broadband and buildout, narrow the digital divide and improve the quality of service for consumers. This merger also gives T-Mobile workers the same protections and bargaining power as the 42,000 unionized workers at AT&T, the only wireless provider that has a unionized workforce.
A strong partnership already exists between the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the German trade union, ver.di, and the two unions formed a joint organization called TU that represents T-Mobile workers on both sides of the Atlantic. In Germany, Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile, fully recognizes workers’ bargaining rights, and ver.di is a full and positive partner. That has not been the case in the U.S., where T-Mobile workers have been discouraged from forming a union.
Amid the anti-union legislation sweeping through the country, this merger is a positive step in the right direction for workers who want to make their own choice about having a bargaining voice. The UFCW has no doubt that T-Mobile’s workers will benefit from their association with the CWA and the union’s president, Larry Cohen, and finally have a voice in their workplace.