Why does T-Mobile treat its American workers worse than their foreign counterparts?

We don’t need to be lectured on values by Chancellor Angela Merkel, when Germany exploits American workers and takes our jobs through outsourcing and off-shoring.

How is it possible or permissible that a foreign business would treat its workers in its own country better than its American employees who perform the same functions here in the USA?

Sadly, that is exactly the case when it comes to Germany’s Deutsche Telecom and the way it treats German communications workers, in comparison to the workforce at its American affiliate, T-Mobile.

What better time than now, after President Trump met with German and other European leaders at the NATO and G-7 summits, to start asking questions about the way a German corporate giant mistreats its American employees.

What is Deutsche Telecom? 

ADVERTISEMENT

It is a German telecommunications conglomerate that operates in over a 30 countries, including the United States. In fact, the government of Germany owns 32 percent of Deutsche Telecom. So, Angela Merkel’s governing coalition in Germany has a vested interested in Deutsche Telecom and how it conducts its business at home and abroad.

 

In Germany, 75 percent of Deutsche Telecom’s workforce belongs to a union and generally receives good pay and benefits. This workforce is made up of retail sales, customer service representatives, and technicians.

While Deutsche Telecom treats it workers well at home, its American subsidiary, T-Mobile, has a track record of under-compensating and mistreating hard-working Americans from small towns in the Midwest and the South, to cities on the East and West coasts.

As a Conservative Republican, I am not accustomed to siding with American Unions. However, their arguments perfectly underscore what President Trump means when he says that the U.S. is not getting “good deals” or “fair treatment” from foreign business arrangements.

Today, T-Mobile is the fourth largest American wireless company. It has a workforce of about 35,000, has 35 million customers and generates revenue of $20 billion annually. T-Mobile represents over 25 percent of parent Deutsche Telecom’s worldwide income.

I remember back in 2000 when we Conservatives spoke out against Deutsche Telecom’s proposed acquisition of “VoiceStream,” a U.S. communications company. 

Our concern at the time was over having a German government interest through Deutsche Telecom in an American communications company. 

Our objections were grounded in national security and the safeguarding of America’s critical communications infrastructure.

At the time Deutsche Telecom sought to merge with “VoiceStream,” many of America’s most influential union leaders supported it. They did so because of the history of the way in which Deutsche Telecom treated its union workforce. They believed and Deutsche Telecom promised that the German model of “co-determination” would be in large part replicated in the company’s American management.

However, once the merger was approved, Deutsche Telecom dropped its commitments to US workers. As a result, Unions got played, and the US got the raw end of the deal.

Today, not only should our concern be grounded in national security but it should also be based on our objection to the inequitable and unfair labor practices of foreign-owned entities that treat their own workforce better than ours.

In America, we cannot allow foreign companies — especially those owned by foreign governments — to exploit American workers and treat them worse than workers in their own country.

We can’t get played again. It is time to stop the game. Republicans should step up to the plate and join forces with American union workers to stop unfair labor practices by foreign, state-owned companies that exploit our workers, starting with German-owned T-Mobile. 

America first should encompass the protection that we will not allow foreign governments or companies to harm our most valuable resource — our people.

Bradley A. Blakeman was a member of President George W. Bush's senior White House staff from 2001 to 2004. He is a frequent contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Channel.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.