Wichita T-Mobile organizer Angela Melvin receives prestigious Berger-Marks Foundation award!
The Berger-Marks Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to supporting the leadership of young women in the labor movement, has awarded a Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Award, to Wichita TU (T-Mobile Workers United) Chief Steward Angela Melvin!
The Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Award is given to young women age 35 or younger who have stood up for workers’ rights and organized their own workplaces. The award is named for a young laundry worker who, more than 150 years ago, organized one of the first women’s unions.
From their citation:
Angela Melvin, a worker at the Wichita, Kansas T-Mobile call center, and the driving force in trying to organize a union despite aggressive anti-union activity.
When Angela Melvin joined T-Mobile Workers United (TU)-CWA in July 2015, she never expected to become a movement leader. She already had a lot on her plate: two young children, a husband working out of state, and college classes in addition to working full-time at T-Mobile’s Wichita, Kansas call center. When the workers received insultingly low annual raises, Melvin became angry. She declared her support for the union a few days later. Considering that T-Mobile had illegally fired union supporters in the past, it was a brave move.
T-Mobile has waged an aggressive anti-union campaign at the call center in Wichita since 2012. In Wichita alone, 14 National Labor Relations Board charges have been filed against T-Mobile. Melvin is now the public face of the TU campaign at the call center, facing attacks from management as well as from some of her co-workers for wanting a union. Angela has tirelessly and fearlessly worked to form a union at the call center.
In April 2016 she was elected Wichita’s Chief Steward, and in May she spoke at the annual shareholders’ meeting for T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, in Germany. “It was an incredible experience!” she said.
Angela’s leadership and courage has inspired 25 of her co-workers to come out in support of the union. We haven’t heard the last of her yet!