On Monday, workers rallied in Seattle to celebrate Verizon Wireless Worker Jesse Mason's return to work. Verizon illegally fired Mason in early 2022 in retaliation for his union organizing activity. In response, CWA filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Verizon Wireless.
In a win for Mason, his co-workers, and fellow organizers, the NLRB formally issued a complaint alleging the company’s actions broke the law. After months of back and forth, Mason and Verizon Wireless reached a settlement that includes Mason’s reinstatement at his Seattle and Shoreline stores, as well as compensation for back pay and damages.
“As soon as I heard about the settlement, I was jumping up and down calling everyone I know. The whole reason I was insistent on getting my job back was I wanted to show everyone you have the right to organize,” Mason told The Guardian.
This is a major victory for all workers who wish to form a union and sends a strong message to anti-union employers, even the ones as big and powerful as Verizon Wireless, who often get away with such unlawful behavior towards workers, that they can be held accountable. Mason’s return to work marks another milestone for Verizon Wireless workers, who have been organizing at stores across the country to secure living wages, better working conditions, and increased staffing levels.
CWAers, other union members and supporters held a rally on Monday to mark Jesse Mason’s return to his job after reaching a settlement with Verizon Wireless following his illegal firing last year.
CWA, the Strategic Organizing Center, and the NAACP released a new report on Tuesday that exposes significant racial inequities at Maximus, one of the federal government’s largest service contractors, whose frontline workforce is nearly 50% Black and Latina women. The report reveals that workers interviewed at Maximus’ call centers, which serve the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), felt they have no clear paths to career advancement, keeping their careers stagnant in the lowest roles. The new report also shows that while white men make up only 9% of frontline workers, they account for nearly 50% of Maximus’ executives, and Black and Latina women account for only 5% of executives.
“Workers at Maximus have been organizing with CWA to fight for living wages, affordable healthcare, fair treatment, and a voice on the job. Black women workers, who make up a significant portion of the workforce at the largest Maximus call centers, have been courageously leading this fight and raising the alarm about the lack of equity. We are proud to stand with them” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “In the last year alone, Maximus CEO Bruce Caswell received over $200,000 in bonuses tied to diversity metrics. This is insulting to Maximus workers who, despite their efforts to move up in the company, continue to be held at the bottom of the corporate ladder with no hope of meaningful advancement. It’s long past time we hold this federal contractor accountable and ensure that all workers at Maximus, regardless of race or background, are given the respect and opportunities they deserve.” CWA and the NAACP have issued a letter calling on the Biden administration to live up to its commitments to ensure racial equity and take action by investigating racial disparities and potential obstacles to equal employment opportunities at Maximus.
A group of labor, racial justice, and political leaders including Congressman Bennie Thompson, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, CWA President Chris Shelton, and Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable Executive Director Cassandra Welchlin held a virtual press conference on Tuesday to announce the release of the report, express their solidarity with Maximus workers, and call for an investigation by the Biden Administration. Read more here.