That time I spoke in front of thousands of German shareholders by Angela Melvin, TU Wichita
A few weeks ago, I was given the honor of speaking at the shareholders meeting of Deutsche Telekom in Cologne, Germany. Deutsche Telekom is T-Mobile’s German parent company. In an incredible act of international solidarity, I spoke on behalf of tens of thousands of shareholders when they transferred their shares to me.
I was extremely nervous to get up to speak in front of thousands of shareholders, but with that being said it was very empowering! You can read my speech here.
According to German corporate law, the Board is required to respond to the questions asked by shareholders. A few hours after I spoke, DT CEO Höttges responded to my speech. I felt like the company’s response was uninformed about what the working conditions at TMUS are really like. He went so far as to deny the existence of captive audience meetings even though I had been part of one in Wichita, where I work as a customer service rep in Onboarding.
It was an incredible experience to meet my German coworkers. From what I learned, the working conditions at Deutsche Telekom in Germany are completely different from ours in the US. We could definitely learn a thing or two about how to treat employees with respect and what a huge difference it is to have a union contract with T-Mobile.
What I took away is that the Germans are a great role model on how to treat employees with dignity and respect. What I loved most about their call centers is how the environment was a smaller work space and not so hectic with noise and other distractions and that their metrics just don’t randomly change from month to month. It is also amazing to learn that they have unlimited paid sick days and they are an extremely productive company. I also love their scheduling model, which provides predictable schedules for a whole year that take workers’ personal situations into consideration and it not based on performance.
The trip changed my perception about my work and the fact that T-Mobile employees deserve the same respect as the workers at the German counterpart and it can be achieved by organizing.
I would want workers to know that having your voice heard is possible. We need to all come together and make it possible. We are the front line workers and we demand to have a contract that is put together by the employees! This trip was powerful and I was able to see how T-Mobile should be!