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Der Spiegel: Employees at T-Mobile USA Face ‘Brutal Psych Terror’

The German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel has just published a major review and analysis of the “brutal psych terror” faced by workers at T-Mobile USA. Der Spiegel is one of Europe's largest publications, with a weekly circulation of more than one million and is known for its attention to detail and comprehensive reporting.

Here’s how the report begins:

“The business hotel in Cargo-City South close to the airport in Frankfurt was chosen with caution: the anonymity of the conference rooms provided space for two powerful unionists to meet in private. One of them is Lothar Schröder, Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Telekom and Board member of the powerful union ver.di. The other is Larry Cohen, head of the 700,000 member strong American telecommunications union, CWA.

“What the two of them concoct in the following two days might be a fairly unique campaign: The organizations are planning to mobilize workers on both sides of the Atlantic in the following weeks, engage the US Congress, Bundestag and ministries and provide the media with sensitive information.

“The target of these extraordinary efforts is Deutsche Telekom in Bonn. The reason is they are allegedly harassing working conditions for workers at T-Mobile USA…

“For several months, Schröder and Cohen worked on a dossier about working conditions at T-Mobile in the United States. They talked to employees for many hours, recorded video interviews, evaluated old and new interviews and collected testimony. In the end, the result paints a picture of a company that, according to a ver.di spokesperson, 'treats its employees with brutal psycho terror.'

“Union staff from ver.di’s headquarters in Berlin, who were assigned to assess the interviews even call it ‘tyranny.’”

Read the full report here:

T-Mobile USA workers have faced this campaign of harassment and intimidation in every location where they look to have a union voice. In Connecticut, technicians needed the support of leading U.S. senators and members of Congress to finally get the bargaining rights they are entitled to under law. In New York, union supporters were maligned by company executives, and across the T-Mobile USA system, workers are told that they're under surveillance by management whenever union organizers are around. Read more at

When it shut seven call centers in June, T-Mobile USA denied that it was sending the work overseas and opposed any help for workers to obtain trade adjustment assistance, which provides training and other benefits for workers who lose their jobs because work has gone overseas.

CWA fought for TAA benefits for some 3,300 workers affected by the closings, and provided the U.S. Department of Labor with information from call center workers in the Philippines and Central America regarding the large quantity of T-Mobile calls being handled by their centers. The Labor Dept. then certified that workers were eligible for TAA.

CWA represents 700,000 workers in telecommunications, media and broadcasting, airlines, public service, health care and manufacturing.

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