Regardless of industry, call center workers share a lot in common – frustrations with call volume, discrimination on the job, and unfair metrics. At the same time that we’ve been fighting for justice and strength in the wireless industry, bank workers have have also been taking action to demand better from their employers. With that in mind, VZW call center workers and Santander Bank call center workers in Dallas, TX joined forces to watch a movie about Call Center workers who fight to form a strong voice at work.
VZW workers joined bank workers to check out Sorry to Bother You, a 2018 dark comedy directed by activist, musician, and filmmaker Boots Riley that addresses labor organizing in the face of business greed in the world of telemarketing and call center work.”I was very excited to meet like minded individuals like myself,” said Monique Milly, a VZW worker from Irving, TX. “I like the fact that we have resources and people at CWA that are available to educate us about the union. It was exciting to watch Sorry to Bother You with Santander, especially since we’re facing some of the same work issues in our call centers. I want more of this involvement with the union. I’m inspired and excited and can’t wait until the next meeting! When and where can I join?”
There was a great discussion after the movie about familiar themes, like the control of big corporations, the difference between valuing labor vs. valuing the actual worker producing the labor, and the bravery of those who take a stand against corporate greed. Despite coming from different corporate worlds, VZW and Santandar workers can really identify with one another, especially in terms of what we’re all striving for: a voice on the job and fairness for everyone in the workplace.
RachelFILM SCREENING HELPS BUILD BRIDGES IN CALL CENTER WORK
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.
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
Have you ever thought Verizon Wireless violates your rights? CWA thought so too, and filed a complaint at the National Labor Relations Board against the company. Yesterday, the judge agreed, and said that much of Verizon and Verizon Wireless’ Code of Conduct had been violating YOUR rights. And so thanks to CWA, the company is now being ordered to restore our rights on the job!
The labor board has ruled that YOUR RIGHTS were violated. Among the findings: The company violated the law by having rules which reasonably could be interpreted as squelching workers’ rights to organize unions.
These illegal rules are found in the “Speak Up Do the Right Thing Because Its the Right Thing to Do” section of their Code of Conduct, and also in their “Solicitation and Fundraising Rule,” as well as their “Monitoring on the Job” rule, which had permitted management to monitor, record and inspect and/or search at any time without consent, worker’s personal property, including vehicles.
The judge also found that Verizon had illegal polices which prohibited “participation and activity in outside organizations or activities in outside organizations or associations” which the company thought conflicted with their interests. The judge also found that the company’s restriction on emails, instant messaging, the Intranet and Internet” violated your rights.
The judge is ordering Verizon and Verizon Wireless to post a notice within 14 days which says, in part, that Federal Law Gives You the Right to “Form, join, or assist unions,” and to “Act together with other employees for your benefit and protection.”
We are sure that management will appeal this ruling, because that is what they do when they lose. But its good to know that after an investigation and trial, the Federal Government has agreed with CWA that this company has been violating your rights and has ordered them to stop.
So now is the time to message us or call us at 347 979-2929 if you would like to work with your coworkers on winning a voice at work. All conversations will be kept in confidence.
CWAdminParts of Verizon Code Of Conduct Found To Be Illegal
Management has been spreading misinformation about what our rights are regarding your job. Read below to learn the TRUTH about what your rights are.
Call CWA’s hotline at 347-979-2929. Someone will pick up or you can leave a message and we will return your call.
Q: Why should I reach out to the union?
You may be surprised to learn that many of your co-workers at Verizon Wireless have reached out to CWA. You are not alone. We are creating a network of people across the country who are growing tired of the reduced commission checks, the increased pressure, the unfair scheduling changes, the layoffs, the favoritism, and the lack of respect by some managers. As this network grows so does our power to fight to address these issues. We will speak with you anonymously about what is happening in your area, and discuss how we can win improvements together!
Q: Do I have the right to speak with someone from the CWA union?
Yes. Federal law says you have the right to speak with a union rep about your working conditions without threat of retaliation from management.
Q: If the company wants to retaliate against me won’t they just say they are disciplining me for something else?
The Federal government knows how companies have tried to get around the law. Workers who support unions have to be treated the same as workers who do not. It is against the law for management to discipline a union supporter even if they do something wrong if they do not treat non union supporters the same way. The burden of proof lies on the employer to show that they did not retaliate against you because of your support for the union or engaging in union activities.
Q: What if I work in a Right to Work state? Do I have the right to organize?
Yes. All non supervisory employees in the private sector across the United States have the legal right to organize to improve working conditions and form a union.
Q: Will the company ever find out I am speaking with the union?
CWA will keep all conversations completely confidential. No one will ever know you are speaking with us unless you tell people yourself.
Q: Will my call center or retail store close if we are seen as supporting the union?
It is illegal to close a work locations in retaliation for the employees there supporting a union. Union or no, call centers are being closed and our jobs are being shipped overseas. Retail stores are being closed and replaced with authorized dealers. Without a union the company can close your location at any time and you have no recourse. With a union you have a voice to fight for your job and/or demand larger severance in any layoff situation.
Q: What happens if I am retaliated against for speaking with the union?
Federal law gives workers the right to organize and speak with unions about working conditions, pay, etc. It is illegal for Verizon (or any company) to punish workers for exercising their rights. It is extremely rare for Verizon to fire some for supporting a union, however if it happens, CWA has attorneys who will file complaints with the Federal Government (National Labor Relations Board) in the event anyone is illegally disciplined or terminated as a result of their union activity.
Q: Why is this company so against us forming a union?
When you form a union, you have power. This company wants to maintain decision-making power for themselves. The company knows what CWA members in wireline have successfully fought for and won over the years: higher wages, benefits, and working conditions. We don’t fight only for things that cost the company money; we also demand a voice on the job.
Q: What can I do now?
Be brave. Reach out and talk with the union and understand that your conversation will be kept in confidence.
Q: How do I call anonymously?
Call CWA’s hotline at 347-979-2929. Someone will pick up or you can leave a message and we will return your call.
BIG NEWS: Last week union retail Verizon Wireless workers in Brooklyn and Everett voted overwhelmingly in favor of their first contract. Our heroic struggle paid off with major improvements. Verizon has been spreading misinformation about our contract. The truth is we won more job security than any employee in all of Verizon Wireless. We won improvements in wages. We continue to enjoy the same SPIFFs, incentives, and competitions as everyone else, and have for the past two years. If the contract was not a major improvement, why would management fight so hard to stop other Verizon wireless employees from getting this same deal?
Highlights of the contract include…
Protection from unfair discipline.
Elected union representatives present for all disciplinary investigations.
Protection against favoritism in raises.
Massive improvements in job security.
Conversion of “at risk” CEI pay to guaranteed pay, which results in hundreds of dollars of additional pay.
Schedule swapping without needing to ask permission.
Guarantee to share in any improvements non union Verizon Wireless workers receive.
For more details of the contract see the bargaining report here.
These improvements only came about because the CWA members in these 7 retail stores stood together and fought for something better. You can do that too. If you are interested in bringing these improvements to your store please contact us.
When we stand united, WE WIN!
To learn more about the CWA and get the TRUTH about the contract please call 347 979-2929
CWAdminWhat We Won As Union Verizon Wireless Retail Workers