The CWA (Communications Workers of America) is celebrating today after a judge found T-Mobile guilty of violating federal labor laws. The company was found to have illegally restricted employees from organizing or even discussing work issues with each other. Judge Christine Dibble cited the company's policies that barred workers from discussing their wages and working conditions, and their repeated efforts to discourage them from reaching out outside organizations for help. As an example, she highlighted the procedure for filing a wage and hour complaint, which requires the notification of management first, and threatens discipline if the rule is broken. That would prevent employees from banding together to address issues collectively. Of the 13 policies brought before the court, 11 of them were found to be illegal and they must be reversed immediately. All employees must also be notified that these policies violated the law.
This closes out the four cases filed in Albuquerque, NM; Wichita, KS; Charleston, SC, and New York City, but there are more in the works. The National Labor Relations Board will have another trial in front of it in Charleston, South Carolina this June, and others are in various stages. So, while the CWA (which currently represents workers at Verizon and AT&T) is certainly happy about the outcome in this case, it knows the war isn't over yet. Even if it manages to bring T-Mobile employees into the union, it will likely be a constant struggle to keep the un-carrier honest.
T-Mobile is, predictably, downplaying the decision saying that it relates to a "technical issue" with "policies that are common to companies across the country." More importantly, a spokesperson told Engadget that "there are no allegations that any employee has been impacted by these policies." Of course, charges that employees have been unable to organize would seem to be a direct impact.