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CWA files multiple charges against Verizon for retaliation

The following is from the CWA:

SEATTLE (Aug. 24, 2022) — The Communications Workers of America has filed a total of five Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULPs) with the National Labor Relations Board against Verizon Wireless on behalf of retail workers in the Seattle area. The charges include illegally firing an employee for organizing, unfair dress code violations, and other instances of retaliation and efforts to undermine union membership. The ULPs follow the groundbreaking union victory at Seattle area retail locations earlier this year.

The first ULP charge was filed in April, when Verizon Wireless illegally fired Jesse Mason, a retail worker at Seattle’s Northgate and Aurora Village stores, after supporting another store’s efforts to form a union and helping organize within his own stores. The retaliation firing happened days after Mason attended the Lynnwood and Everett workers’ union vote count in solidarity.

“I went to their vote count party and was photographed celebrating their election win, and then I went back to work the next day,” Mason said in an interview for The Real News Network. “At the end of the day, they fired me, after working my whole shift.”

Verizon Wireless—which has a long history of union-busting—continued to retaliate against its workers who have been publicly outspoken about their organizing efforts and working conditions. Following Jesse’s unlawful termination, an additional ULP was filed in May after Nichola Munro’s manager refused to end an investigatory interview, despite her repeated requests for a union representative.

During a meeting with co-workers and his manager, Austin Hitch was threatened with discipline after asking a question about short-staffing levels at the stores, an increasingly common issue at Verizon Wireless retail locations. Verizon Wireless retail workers in Lynnwood and Everett report that the two locations have recently been operated by only one worker and one manager, compared to five workers and two managers when the stores are fully staffed.

“The amount we are understaffed—it’s unsustainable and it leads to terrible employee and customer experiences,” Hitch said. “Corporations in general need to understand their workers deserve to be treated with respect, compensated fairly, to have grievances heard, and not be treated like cattle.”

Shortly after, Natalia D’aigle was given a “dress-code” violation and was sent home by management. Only after Natalia became openly pro-union did management take action on the alleged violation.

“These things are not fun to go through, you never want to have an unfair labor practice, but when you have a support system to talk to and say ‘I’m not going to let this go unnoticed, I’m not going to let it go unchecked,’ it gives you a sense of strength,” said D’aigle.

Additionally, CWA filed another charge against Verizon Wireless on behalf of workers at Verizon Express Portland locations. The Portland ULP charge alleges that, over the past six months, Verizon Wireless forced workers to attend mandatory captive audience meetings, a common union-busting tactic in which company representatives intimidate workers in an attempt to interfere with organizing efforts. The charge came just weeks after the workers filed for an NLRB election.

Verizon Wireless retail workers at two stores in Flint, Mich. also have a pending NLRB union election, proving that the company’s efforts to try and intimidate workers from organizing is failing. Even while Verizon continues to drive union-busting tactics and retaliation against pro-union staff, these workers are continuing to band together in unity and fight for fair working conditions and a voice on the job.

The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, and manufacturing.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:

Verizon workers in Everett, Lynnwood ratify first contract (Aug. 2, 2022)
CWA: Verizon illegally fired employee after union win (April 25, 2022)
Verizon Wireless workers vote Union YES! (April 15, 2022)


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