Sunday’s breaking business story is the announcement that unionized AT&T will be buying union-free T-Mobile for $39 billion. With 42,000 mostly union-free employees, German-owned T-Mobile has long been a target of the red-shirted Communications Workers of America. Now, as the mostly unionized AT&T Mobility has agreed to allow the CWA to unionize its employees without secret-ballot elections (via neutrality and card-check), the red-shirted union bosses are seeing the green that will likely come from T-Mobile’s employees.
With 42,000 unionizable T-Mobile employees and the potential of raking in 1.3 percent of their paychecks—an estimated $15 million in union dues each year—top union boss Larry Cohen wasted no time on Sunday declaring the union’s interest in unionizing the T-Mobile employees:
CWA and ver.di, the largest union in Germany, have partnered to support T-Mobile workers in the U.S., and the global union movement has been a strong supporter of this effort. CWA and ver.di formed a joint union – TU – that represents T-Mobile workers on both sides of the Atlantic. Hundreds of TU members in the U.S. will welcome this news since of all the possible partners, AT&T will mean better employment security and a management record of full neutrality toward union membership and a bargaining voice. For T-Mobile USA workers who want a voice in their workplace, this acquisition can provide a fresh start with T-Mobile management. Some 42,000 ATT mobility employees are union represented.*
Over the years that the CWA has targeted T-Mobile employees, most have been resistant to the CWA’s pressure tactics. Now, however, with AT&T Mobility likely to turn the employees (and their paychecks) over to the CWA, if CWA’s tactics are rebuffed, the union can always use surrogates to threaten them with the full support of the union-controlled NLRB.
* Footnote: The vast majority of employees of AT&T Mobility’s main rival, Verizon Wireless, are not unionized.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776