We don’t need to be lectured on values by German 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 Telekom 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 Telekom (DT)? It is a German telecommunications operating in over a 30 countries, including the United States. In fact, the government of Germany owns 32 percent of DT. So, Angela Merkel’s governing coalition in Germany has a vested interested in DT and how it conducts its business at home and abroad.
In Germany, 75 percent of DT’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 DT 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 DT’s worldwide income.
I remember back in 2000 when we conservatives spoke out against DT’s proposed acquisition of "VoiceStream," a U.S. communications company. Our concern at the time was over having a German government interest through DT in an American communications company. Our objections were grounded in national security and the safeguarding of America’s critical communications infrastructure.
At the time DT sought to merge with "VoiceStream," many of America’s most influential union leaders supported it. They did so because of the way, historically, DT treated its union work force. They believed, and DT 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, DT dropped its commitments to U.S. workers. As a result, unions got played, and the U.S. got the raw end of the deal.
Today, not only should our concern be grounded in national security, it should also be based on our objection to the inequitable and unfair labor practices of foreign owed 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.
Protection in the form of "America first" should encompass not allowing foreign governments or companies to harm our most valuable resource — our people.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
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