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VZW Retail Worker Speaks Out: Why UNION, Why Now?

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By Daniel Unkel, Sales Rep, Everett, MA  
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My name is Daniel Unkel and I am a Solutions Specialist for Verizon Wireless at the Everett store. I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in February of 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health Sciences. As with many recent college grads, I ran into the problem of finding a full-time job. I worked many odd jobs until I was able to land a job with Verizon Wireless. Finally, I thought my dreams of climbing the corporate ladder and working my way up were coming true. Man was I WRONG. I saw the problems almost immediately. While in training, the trainers always joked around with us stating that you can be fired for this, that, or the other thing. This struck a nerve with me. I put this aside and told myself when I hit the sales floor things will be better. After about a week on the floor I realized once again I was wrong. The ongoing joke with management that you can get fired for this, that, or the other thing continued. Verizon Wireless likes to the use the term “This is Our House”, but really management makes all the decisions regardless of how it affects us as frontline employees. We are forced to wear whatever hat upper management wants us to wear on one day of the week, knowing that it will change tomorrow or even in the next hour. It seems we are asked to do more and more, while keeping up with constantly changing quotas but our compensation does not increase. My co-workers and I finally said, “Enough is enough.” The whole thing started one day when I was helping a Verizon Landline employee who told me about a group of Verizon Wireless workers in Brooklyn, NY, who reached out to the CWA to form a union. With this information in mind I started my research to see if this could work for me and my fellow co-workers. I reached out to the CWA and my brothers and sisters in Brooklyn and I quickly saw how coming to together and having a voice on the job made for a better work environment and increased job security. After doing my research and getting my facts in line I reached out to my other co-workers, many of whom have been with the company three or more years who want the same things as me: work life balance, better working conditions, and job security. We all agree that change has to be made, not just for us, but for all Verizon Wireless employees. We aren’t just forming a union in Everett. We are picking up where Brooklyn left off. We are joining a movement of VZW workers. Our voice is stronger together!  
CWAdminVZW Retail Worker Speaks Out: Why UNION, Why Now?