In upcoming issues of our newsletter, we will feature key differences between working in a call center for Verizon Wireless and Verizon landline. We recently spoke with Erica, a veteran Call Center Tech II Coordinator at the Verizon Wireless Call Center in Rochester, and Cory, a Customer Service Representative at a Verizon call center in Massachusetts. Cory and his coworkers at the Verizon call center are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). When it comes to working at a call center for non union at VZW versus union Verizon landline, the difference is like night and day.Verizon Wireless (non union)
Starting pay: $12.50 “When I started at the call center 11 years ago, I thought I was making good money. You don’t realize then how much you have to deal with and how technical our job is. A lot of the new employees don’t last and the company is constantly training new people to do our job.”
Raises: “Raises are subjected to management’s discretion. If we are in any kind of corrective action, we don’t get raises.”
Pay caps: “You would think the company would reward employees who are loyal and stick it out year after year. Instead, if you’ve been at the call center for a certain amount of time, the company uses the pay cap, without telling you what the top pay is, as a reason for not giving you a raise or only giving you 1%.”
CUSTOMER HARASSMENT: “They let the customers treat us any type of way. They can swear at us, call us the worst kind of names and we have to sit there and listen to it and not say anything back.”
Verizon Landline (union)
Starting pay: $16/ hour based on experience or education.
Raises: guaranteed every 6 months until you’re at top pay. Raises are on top of cost of living increases.
Top Pay: “It takes 3 years to reach top pay $34/hour. You get cost of living increase every single August – regardless of performance appraisals – which usually comes out around 2.5-4%.”
“When I started top pay was $28/hour and now it’s around $34, so you have an increase of $6 in top pay in just the past few years. Just because you’re at top pay doesn’t mean your pay doesn’t increase. We still see top pay increase and we always get cost of living increases.
“When we go to the bargaining table, pay isn’t the biggest issue. We always bargain cost of living increases, but we’re paid very well for the job that we do. We never worry about going backwards with pay. It’s never a concern. Usually what happens is it’s between 8-10% pay increases throughout the life of the contract, usually 3 years.
CUSTOMER HARASSMENT: “If a customer calls in and is rude or directing their anger at me, I will respectfully tell the customer that I am here to help and ask them not to speak to me like that. We don’t hang up on the customer, but we don’t let them treat us with disrespect.”
These are just a few of the many disparities between working for the same company in a union environment versus non-union. Be sure to check out our next issue for more workers’ stories.
Even if you work in a non-union call center, you still have certain legally protected rights to make improvements in your working conditions,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about your rights in the call center.