It’s been a BIG year. We’ve seen some lows and some highs, from call center closures and layoffs to union votes and securing new contracts. Through it all, Verizon Wireless workers have come together to insist on a voice at work helped this movement grow bigger and faster than ever before.
VZW retail Workers in Hazelton, PA stuck together and stayed strong, and voted by an overwhelming majority to join the union – and then secured their first union contract a few weeks later.
VZW call center workers in Irving, TX demonstrated tremendous unity and strength by standing up for their rights and demanding back pay that was owed to them by the company.
A month after securing an awesome new union contract that included input on scheduling improvements and more money, Brooklyn VZW retail workers made a firm statement to the company that their unity would not be broken. Despite an aggressive anti-union campaign, Brooklyn workers stood firm and voted once again “Union Yes!”
More and more and more people are bravely standing up for their rights and joining the movement!
So here’s our wish for 2019:Be brave. Take the step to reach out and join this movement. It’s not easy, but when we’re united, we’re all stronger.
On Thursday, August 23, Verizon Wireless retail workers in Brooklyn voted once again to stick with their union. Verizon Wireless management has been telling non-union workers across the country that the Brooklyn workers don’t want the union anymore. Now we know that is completely untrue.
Despite a very aggressive anti-union campaign, where high level corporate executives flew in to try and persuade people not to stick with their union, Brooklyn workers stood firm and voted once again“Union Yes!”
“Woke up feeling good this morning!” said Jazmin Warthen-Sypher, a member from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “Can’t wait to go back to work Union Strong!”
Brooklyn workers have worked under a union contract now since 2016, and they know that the difference between working union vs. non union is like Day and Night. And workers in Hazleton, PA just won an election and are now working under a union contract too!
Verizon Wireless workers in the union in Brooklyn and Hazleton, PA now have better rights under scheduling, overtime, more job security, a guarantee of a store-average 3% on merit pay, and the right to union representation when they are being investigated for any job issues. And the Brooklyn workers just cashed a $900 extra signing bonus thanks to their new union contract.
Two years ago after Verizon Wireless workers in Brooklyn, NY stood shoulder-to-shoulder with 36,000 other Verizon workers to win a union contract,the Communications Workers of Americahave come to a tentative agreement with Verizon on a four-year contract extension!The new breakthrough contract will include:
Members will participate in the annual merit based process in the same fashion as similarly-situated employees, but the pool availablecannotdrop lower than:
3% effective June 2020
2.75% effective June 2021
2.5% effective June 2022
2.5% effective June 2023
One-time ratification bonus of $900 for full-time Brooklyn workers ($450 for part-time) given outwithin 30 daysof signing the new contract.
Input on improvements to scheduling– Quarterly meetings will be held between Management and the union to discuss further improvements that can be made to scheduling.
Less arbitrary scheduling –Members will now be able to challenge arbitrary changes in scheduling, vacations, holidays, or personal days through the grievance and arbitration process.
Better standards for overtime scheduling– managers will be required to seek volunteers for overtime work when additional coverage is required. If there are no volunteers, managers will be required to select the employee who has had the longest time since being required to work overtime.
Brooklyn VZW workers meton Tuesdaynight to go over the new contract details and there was a palpable excitement about these huge victories – but sticking to union democracy, a vote to ratify the new contract will be held over the next few weeks, with results coming onAugust 10.
It hasn’t been an easy victory, but the wage increases and the ability to have a say in our scheduling and work life was worth the fight. Joining a union has paid off for us – it can pay off for you too.
RachelVZW Retail Workers Score Huge Victories in New Union Contract!
Verizon Wireless workers in Hazelton, PA voted in an overwhelming majority this morning to join the Communications Workers of America, becoming the latest group of VZW workers to join the movement that’s spreading throughout the country. Taking the first steps to organize and join a union are never easy – the Hazelton crew was faced with an intense anti union campaign, and were subjected to near constant meetings with high level managers.
But they stuck together, and stayed strong. They insisted on a voice at work to address a lack of job security, favoritism, and diminishing commissions, and knew that by standing together they’d have the power to fight back, gain a voice in their work, and help build this movement.
“I voted for a union because Verizon Wireless workers like me deserve a fair shake,” said Thomas Leshko, who’s been with Verizon Wireless for four years. “Through a union, we’ll be able to stand together for good, family supporting jobs at our store. Verizon is enjoying huge profits and a big tax break. Now it’s time for the company to invest in Pennsylvania workers and customers.”
We’re getting bigger, and getting stronger. With each new set of workers that takes the step to join together and fight for their voice on the job, we all get that much stronger. The Hazelton workers took that step – you can too.
Brooklyn, NY – Several months ago, Colin Hull, a unionized Verizon Wireless retail worker in Brooklyn, NY, was unjustly terminated for alleged violations of the company code of conduct. In any other part of the country that would be the end of the story, but because of his union representation, Colin was able to file a grievance. Before even getting to an arbitration hearing, CWA reached a settlement with Verizon that required the company to write a check to Colin for $12,000!
“I am so happy that CWA fought as hard as it did,” Colin said. “By my count, CWA has saved three jobs already in Brooklyn, and now has won this settlement for me. Brooklyn retail workers are leading the way, and even though its hard, I encourage everyone to participate in your union!”
Union members have a legal right to union representation during any meetings with management that they believe could lead to discipline. Colin Hull knew to call his union, and now has $12,000 as a result.
For months, workers at the Verizon Wireless call center in Irving, Texas were receiving paychecks that were several hundred dollars short of what they were owed.
“To this day, Verizon Wireless owes me almost a thousands of dollars in back pay,” said LaTasha, a call center rep who spoke about the experience at the April 18th Wireless Workers TeleTown Hall.
Frustrated with the lack of response from management and fed up with wondering if they’d be able to pay their bills with incomplete paychecks, LaTasha and some of her coworkers decided to take a stand.
“So we got together and decided to stop complaining, and do something about getting stiffed at work,” LaTasha said. “We made dozens of stickers which said ‘Pay me what you owe me,’ which is a lyric from Rihanna. When I went in to work, I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous. But I was excited too.”
They wore the stickers to work and put them up around their cubicles and their action picked up steam, with more and more coworkers following suit.
And they won! On Tuesday, May 1, Verizon issued a check to LaTasha for her missing backpay, and we believe checks will be issued to others soon.
Latasha is encouraging other Verizon Wireless workers to take a stand at work. “Be brave, and find your power working together.”
RachelTexas Call Center Workers Win Backpay After Paycheck Errors