T-Mobile US has this week been ordered to revise its policies after a labor agency judge ruled the business violated federal laws when it suppressed its employees’ efforts to organize themselves. T-Mobile banned employees from discussing basic workplace issues such as wages or joining a union. T-Mobile US had restrictive email policies and a confidentiality agreement within the employee handbook, preventing employees from talking to colleagues or the media about their policies, according to an administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board, Christine Dibble. She ruled that the policies were illegal and ordered T-Mobile to post a notice to the staff reaffirming their rights to form or assist a union and listing policies that T-Mobile is not allowed to enforce, something of a black eye for the business!
A statement from T-Mobile spokesperson explained that, “This is simply a ruling about a technical issue in the law that relates to policies that are common to companies across the country. There are no allegations that any employee has been impacted by these policies.” T-Mobile has been something of a disruptive influence on the US carrier market thanks to the Uncarrier project, which has ultimately pushed a price war onto the three other major networks, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless.
This ruling is good news for the Communications Workers of America union, CWA. The union has been involved in a long-standing dispute with T-Mobile US’ majority shareholder, Deutsche Telekom, over the rights of workers to join the CWA. Larry Cohen, CWA President, said: “This decision exposes the deliberate campaign by T-Mobile US management to break the law systematically and on a nationwide scale, blocking workers from exercising their right to organize and bargain collectively.”
This news is potentially very good for T-Mobile’s hardworking employees, as collective bargaining and the backing of a union brings important benefits including easier remuneration and conditions of work negotiation. For T-Mobile US, it could perhaps be bad news as they may be forced to pay a more competitive wage. It could be good news for the business as a more open and transparent organization could increase employee happiness.