Verizon Wireless workers in Flint join unprecedented organizing wave at the notoriously anti-union company
Today’s filing comes one week after Portland-based Verizon Express retail workers filed for an election and follows a historic union election win by Verizon Wireless workers in the Seattle area
FLINT, Mich. — Verizon Wireless retail workers at two stores in Flint, Mich., filed for a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election today. The workers, who have faced years of poor working conditions, including understaffing, unlivable wages, and disrespect by corporate management, are seeking to be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). This group of Verizon Wireless retail workers, who operate two stores in the Flint area, is the latest to file for formal union representation and stand up to one of the most notoriously anti-union companies in the U.S. Last week, Verizon Express workers at two stores in Portland, Ore., filed for a union election.
If Flint-based Verizon Wireless workers successfully win union representation, they will join hundreds of thousands of telecommunications and customer service employees as members of CWA, including Verizon Wireless retail workers in the Seattle area who won a union election with CWA in April. The workers prevailed despite Verizon’s aggressive anti-union tactics, which included flying their in-house, union-busting team to Seattle the day after the workers publicly announced their organizing efforts and asked for voluntary recognition.
“After working at Verizon Wireless for a year, going up against long hours and severe understaffing, I am proud to be standing up with my coworkers to fight for a union,” said Verizon Wireless retail worker Robin Cook. “Verizon Wireless cannot succeed without its workforce. We have kept the company up and running throughout the pandemic and continued to serve the customers who rely on us, all while dealing with upper management who don’t seem to respect us or care enough to properly staff the stores. We cannot put up with this toxic culture anymore, and that’s why we’re joining our fellow Verizon retail workers nationwide to demand a voice on the job.”
Inspired by the groundbreaking union win in Washington, Verizon workers in Flint are demanding a voice on the job and remain united in their efforts to form a union. Fair compensation, comprehensive health benefits, wage increases, appropriate staffing levels, and safe working conditions are among workers’ demands.
“I’ve worked as a Specialist at Verizon Wireless for 8 years, and the working conditions and mistreatment by upper leadership have only gotten worse since I started,” said Verizon Wireless retail worker David Vanderstelt. “Right now, we’re dealing with a corruption of Credo, Culture, and Ethics. From speaking with my fellow Verizon workers in Washington and Oregon, I know this toxic culture isn’t unique to Flint–it’s an issue at Verizon retail stores across the country. With our growing union momentum, I know we can build a better Verizon, both for ourselves and our customers.”
Verizon has a long history of union-busting. In 2014, corporate executives and upper level management at Verizon Wireless launched an aggressive anti-union campaign targeting organizing efforts at its retail stores in Brooklyn, N.Y., the first Verizon Wireless retail location to form a union.
Despite workers in both New York and Washington ultimately triumphing and joining CWA, Verizon Wireless has continued to retaliate against workers interested in forming unions at its stores. CWA filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the NLRB against Verizon Wireless on behalf of Jesse Mason, a retail worker at Seattle’s Northgate and Aurora Village stores who was illegally fired after joining with his coworkers to organize a union. The retaliation firing happened days after Mason attended the workers’ union vote count at the Seattle area Everett and Lynnwood stores in solidarity. Mason is now supporting union organizing efforts at Verizon Wireless stores across the country, including in Flint.
About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, and manufacturing.