Everett, Mass. -- Today, retail store workers at a Verizon Wireless store in Everett, Mass., voted for bargaining rights and representation by the Communications Workers of America.
The vote is a huge victory for these workers who stayed strong despite an aggressive and intimidating management campaign to dissuade them.
It follows the vote last May by nearly 70 Verizon Wireless store workers at six Brooklyn stores who also made a successful stand for bargaining rights to address their issues on the job.
“There’s a real movement of Verizon Wireless workers that we knew we wanted to be a part of, to stand up with our colleagues for fairness and our rights on the job,” said Mike Tisei, a retail worker at the Everett store. “Today, we joined that movement.”
The Everett victory shows that a growing wave of retail workers is looking for bargaining rights to make real changes on the job. Hundreds of Verizon Wireless workers are building the movement online too, through Facebook and other social media.
“We welcome the Everett retail store workers to our union family. All of us are stronger when we stand together,” said Chris Shelton, CWA District 1 vice president.
The Everett retail store workers built their campaign around the issues of fairness in promotions and discipline and greater job security.
Just as in Brooklyn, and for more than a decade nationwide, Verizon Wireless management put extreme pressure on the Everett workers in an effort to block the vote for CWA representation. There were countless one-on-one captive audience meetings, where managers forced workers to listen to one-sided attacks on union representation. Just about every day, someone from top corporate management – including the Northeast area president, the region president and Human Resources representatives – was in the store, a move intended to intimidate the workers.
It’s more than just Verizon Wireless. Retail store workers at Metro PCS-T-Mobile in Harlem voted for CWA representation in 2013 and just ratified their first contract. Workers there also wanted respect, fairness in scheduling, and job security.
Verizon Wireless has done everything possible to prevent Wireless workers from joining the 40,000 Verizon Communications workers, 80 Verizon Wireless technicians and nearly 70 Verizon Wireless workers who have CWA representation. Today’s vote shows that Verizon Wireless’s wall of resistance to workers’ bargaining rights is crumbling.