Organizing Spotlight "Victory @ STC"
Greg Caron is a 14-year veteran T-Mobile employee who recently decided it was time to take action as major changes threatened to devalue skilled positions at the company. Back in May Greg attended a town hall meeting at the T-Mobile call center in Colorado Springs where Vice President Callie Fields explained the transition to Team of Experts (TEX) customer care call center units. Callie told the crowd at the meeting that there was a strong possibility that Specialized Technical Care (STC) would be outsourced or dissolved and rolled into TEX.
Greg reached out to Wichita TU Chief Steward Angela Melvin, who explained how TU members are using collective action to make positive changes in the workplace. Angela put Greg in touch with a TU organizer in Colorado, and Greg joined our union on June 6.
Greg immediately became part of the Colorado Springs TU organizing committee with one major goal: organizing STC reps. Over the next several weeks, Greg assessed his entire 40-person STC unit, signed up several new TU members, and even recruited two coworkers to join him on the organizing committee.
Empowered by momentum, in early August the Colorado Springs organizing committee decided to plan their first public TU action. On Saturday, August 5, committee members wore union t-shirts to work for the first time. Greg was fired up! After “going public” he continued to wear his TU shirt almost daily and tabled the Colorado Springs call center cafeteria on August 10. The next day, T-Mobile management started a round of anti-union captive audience meetings in the STC department. The meetings quickly evolved from anti-union persuasion to a discussion of STC employee pain points.
Ultimately, with the STC reps’ unrelenting organized efforts, senior management at the Colorado Springs call center promised to fix some of the issues that STC reps had been complaining about for years. Managers also promised to provide answers about the fate of STC in the TEX transition as quickly as possible.
On August 30, T-Mobile announced that the STC unit would not be offshored or dissolved. Colorado Springs management also announced that STC reps would be allowed to transfer back misdirected calls—a change reps had been requesting for five years. Without the involvement of STC reps in T-Mobile Workers United, these huge victories would never have happened.
Immediately following the announcements, Greg made a flyer to distribute to coworkers to make sure everyone knew that although the victories were something to celebrate, the positive changes could be (and would be) reversed the moment STC reps stopped organizing. The only way to hold T-Mobile accountable to its promises is to continue building the collective voice of STC reps through TU.
This is just the beginning for Greg, who is now working on his goal of signing up a majority of the 40-person STC unit. He is also planning to run for Colorado Springs Chief Steward in the 2018 TU elections. Good luck, Greg, and thank you!