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Women Workers Deserve Better from Verizon

Neither of us ever expected to find ourselves in this position—blowing the whistle on the largest wireless company in America. But we’re motivated by an obligation to our families, our customers and our coworkers. We have an obligation to the truth.

Check out this must-read article written by two Verizon workers, Tasha Murrell and Jennifer Womack for Ms. Magazine – one a call center worker and one a warehouse worker – who bravely stood up to try and put an end to the abuse and harassment running rampant throughout the company, as well as call attention to Verizon’s anti-union stance and their union-busting tactics. Back in Texas, Jennifer continues to work with her coworkers including Latasha French to demand a voice and real solutions to issues they face at work.

“Last year, women who worked at a Verizon-contracted XPO warehouse in Memphis, Tennessee started blowing the whistle on various forms of workplace abuse—from rampant sexual harassment to devastating pregnancy discrimination. The horrendous conditions at XPO, initially exposed by The New York Times, prompted senators, members of the House and women’s and civil rights organizations to call on XPO to correct the abuses.”

Tasha and Jennifer detailed the fight that Verizon workers have taken on to make their workplaces safer and more fair, including organizing to join unions, and the scrutiny they’ve faced from the company as a result.

“Creating this hostile, anti-union environment is illegal,” they noted in the article. “But Verizon spends tens of thousands of dollars on corporate lawyers to help them skirt the law. Meanwhile, the company has closed six call centers over the past year, and closed my previous department, making everyone worry for the future of their jobs.”  

There’s a reason Verizon works so hard to stop its workers from organizing: because they know as well as we do how powerful we are when we stand together. Tasha and Jennifer and hundreds of others like them have powered through the company’s anti-union tactics to fight for their rights on the job and their rights to form a union.  

You can join them. Take the first step by calling us at (347) 979-2929.

Read the full article here >>

RachelWomen Workers Deserve Better from Verizon
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Collective Action Has Verizon on the Ropes

Since the new Verizon Wireless commission plan came into effect several months ago, VZW workers have been alarmed at how the changes have affected their work.

“Verizon’s new Commission Plan pays so little, we cannot afford to meet our most basic needs,” wrote several workers in a petition to the company that was signed by hundreds of VZW workers across the country.  “We estimate that our monthly commission checks have gone down, on average, over 70%!”

It’s unacceptable, and VZW workers aren’t going to take it anymore. In addition to the petition, workers at several stores have banded together to demand directly to their management that the commission and quotas be restored to the old system – and they’ve won!In several locations where workers publicly demanded quota relief, the company felt enough pressure and agreed to make positive changes to the quota system.

CWA has been advising dozens and dozens of retail workers on how best to pressure the company to change quotas. Call us if you think your store has what it takes to push back against these unreasonable quotas, at (347) 979-2929.

RachelCollective Action Has Verizon on the Ropes
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VZ CEO agrees that workers have a right to join unions

Breaking News! In a first, CEO Hans Vestberg agreed that workers have a right to organize without any intimidation! Now is the time to reach out to CWA.

We have some really exciting news: Verizon faced the heat today from Verizon Wireless workers at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Orlando, Florida. Jennifer Womack a call center in Irving, Texas, took a brave stand to face Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg and ask him point blank, once and for all: why is Verizon so scared of workers joining a union?

Jennifer had a frank, direct conversation with Mr. Vestberg in which she detailed the struggles faced by Verizon Wireless workers, including the intense pressure put on them by the company to hit unattainable goals and being thrown into new responsibilities with little or no training.

“Inadequate training, scheduled workdays being changed with little notice at all, medical leave not being paid. And then also retaliation. We’ve had some meetings [with management] about not meeting with the union, not talking to the union, and we feel like we’re being harassed and bullied.”

Mr. Vestburg responded by noting that “We’re all here to make the company better,” and went on to commit that, “Employees have all the right to [join unions]. And of course we are supporting whatever decision you’re making.

Check out video of their conversation here:

In addition to Jennifer and other VZW workers, the Communications Workers of America presented a shareholder proposal calling for an independent board chair, highlighting the need for oversight and accountability as the company undertakes risky new business strategies and internal restructuring.

Now that the CEO of Verizon is agreeing that workers have the right to organize without fear, this is the time to reach out to your union to help gain a voice at work. Call us at 347-979-2929.

RachelVZ CEO agrees that workers have a right to join unions
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FILM SCREENING HELPS BUILD BRIDGES IN CALL CENTER WORK

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
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Happy New Year from the VZW United Movement!

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.

Check out some of this year’s highlights below:

Happy New Year from the VZW United Movement!

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.(Music: https://www.bensound.com)

Posted by Verizon Wireless Workers Rising on Tuesday, January 1, 2019
RachelHappy New Year from the VZW United Movement!
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We’re sticking with the union!

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.
RachelWe’re sticking with the union!
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Victory for VZW Union Member!

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.
RachelVictory for VZW Union Member!
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Texas Call Center Workers Win Backpay After Paycheck Errors

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
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