According to a new report, T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom is feeling heat to address working conditions at T-Mo.
Sources speaking to Reuters say that a pair of “major investors” in Deutsche Telekom are concerned with the way that T-Mobile US employees are being treated. Additionally, lawmakers in both Washington D.C. and Berlin want the German government to ensure that DT addresses these worker issues. The German government controls 30 percent of DT.
These investor concerns stem from issues that two labor groups have with T-Mobile US. Last year, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge said that T-Mobile had 11 different illegal policies, including forbidding employees to discuss their pay with one another and speaking to the media about their work environment. T-Mo is in the process of appealing two of the 11 policies that’ve been deemed illegal, accepting the other nine but saying that the judge’s ruling is “a technical issue in the law” and that there are no claims that an employee has actually been impacted by illegal policies.
Meanwhile, a second NLRB ruling in August said that T-Mobile staff at call centers in South Carolina and Maine were forbidden from discussing the employment conditions and that they were asked to sign confidentiality agreements during internal investigations. T-Mo says that it has changed its policies in response to this NLRB ruling.
Finally, the Communications Workers of America union claims that there have been several incidents of employee mistreatment at T-Mobile. One Chattanooga call center employee says that the worker with the lowest sales numbers would be forced to wear a dunce cap. The CWA also alleges that one pregnant employee was prohibited from taking bathroom breaks.
In response to there reports of poor working conditions, T-Mobile says that John Legere and other execs regularly visit call centers and openly talk with the employees. T-Mo also says that its average retention rates are “better than ever.”
John Legere regularly shows himself visiting call centers on Periscope and in photos posted to Twitter, including the Bellingham, Wash., team that he visited yesterday. Despite Legere’s efforts to visit employees, talk with them, and boost morale, though, these reports suggest that the working conditions at some locations are poor. Getting multiple complaints from organizations like the NLRB and CWA is significant, which is why several US Congress members and a German trade union have petitioned the German government to do something about these allegations of poor worker treatment at T-Mobile. The German government hasn’t issued an official response on the matter, but it did respond to one German lawmaker that reached out about T-Mo’s working conditions by saying that it respects workers rights “in accordance with US law.”