Nov 18, 2015
T-Mobile: Stop Muzzling Workers
Bellevue, Wash. – Local union members, workers’ rights activists and community allies rallied outside of T-Mobile’s corporate headquarters today to deliver 15,000-signature petitions urging the company to stop silencing women who speak out against sexual harassment.
The woman behind these petitions is Angela Agganis, a former employee at T-Mobile’s call center in Maine. After Angela reported unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances from her supervisor, T-Mobile threatened to fire her if she discussed the situation with her coworkers and then tried to pressure Angela into signing a nondisclosure agreement. Not wanting to be silenced, she resigned and contacted her union, TU. Together they went to the National Labor Relations Board, and T-Mobile was found guilty of violating her rights.
But T-Mobile only had to withdraw that illegal policy at Angela’s call center. The rest of T-Mobile’s 46,000 employees don’t know they have the right to speak to each other and seek assistance from others about workplace issues like sexual harassment.
“Sexual harassment is a pernicious, endemic problem among low-wage women workers, and women come forward when they have support from co-workers who may be victims themselves,” said Becky Smith, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project. “Gag orders like that at T-Mobile ensure that harassment and discrimination continue.”
“These gag-order policies put workers at risk everyday. And we know of many other workers who have been through the same ordeal and are too scared to speak out. This needs to stop!” said Jeanne Stewart, president of CWA Local 7803. “Fifteen thousand petition signers agree with us: T-Mobile should do the right thing and let workers know in all its locations across the country that this policy is unlawful. The company needs to let all employees know they have the freedom to speak out, so that sexual harassment, discrimination and other kinds of harassment cannot be swept under the rug any more.”
“We wireless workers have to stick together and fight back attempts to pit us against each other in a race to the bottom. Whatever happens at T-Mobile concerns everyone working in wireless,” said Kimberly Anderson, an AT&T Mobility worker. “That’s why I’m here today. I want T-Mobile and especially T-Mobile workers to know that we AT&T Mobility workers support our brothers and sisters at T-Mobile and together we’re building a movement of wireless workers to lift up standards for everyone.”