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T-Mobile Illegally Silenced Workers, Judge Rules

Mark Lennihan
AP Photo

T-Mobile has illegally prevented workers from speaking out.

That’s what a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge has ruled. The ruling affects 40,000 T-Mobile call center and retail workers around the country. 

At issue were provisions in Bellevue-based T-Mobile’s employee handbook. T-Mobile employees could be fired or disciplined for discussing certain things with their co-workers.

Candice Johnson, with the Communication Workers of America, says it was a clear violation of worker rights. 

“They couldn’t talk to each other about their wages. They couldn’t talk to each other about wanting to have a union.” Johnson said.

The judge agreed with the Communication Workers of America that the limits on speech had a chilling effect on union organizing, something protected under federal law.

The Communications Workers union has been filing complaints with the National Labor Relations Board for years over workers being fired or disciplined for trying to organize.

The union is hailing this decision as a big win.

The NLRB judge has ordered T-Mobile to rescind its illegal policies and post notices in all its workplaces about the changes.

In a statement, T-Mobile said the ruling was just about "a technical issue in the law that relates to policies common to companies across the country.”

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.