How Verizon Is Trying to Bust its Workers' Union; Verizon is among the most brazenly anti-union companies in the wireless industry

Since the union first formed in 2014, Warthen-Sypher and other Verizon employees have struggled against Verizon's union-busting tactics, including a forced decertification vote with the National Labor Relations Board last month.

"Decertification was a part of the Verizon's plan to deter and scare us [into believing] that the union is something that can be taken away in the blink of an eye," Warthen-Sypher told me. "They were not successful, our voices were heard and we recently won the vote."
Warthen-Sypher helped form the union four years ago, over alleged mistreatment from upper management. "We noticed the company was requiring us to work harder while taking away incentives we were receiving when we started, despite the profits we helped them achieve."

The vote to disband the union was pushed by Verizon in 2016 during strikes over a new labor contract, two years after the union was first organized.

In that strike, retail store employees joined with 40,000 other Verizon workers represented by unions, the majority of whom work in the Verizon's wireline business, which includes landlines, internet, and video services. The decertification vote was delayed until August 2018 as an unfair labor practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board against Verizon completed arbitration processes.

"They were trying to divide us, creating programs and making false promises to some employees," said Monique Rochelle, an employee at one of the six Brooklyn Verizon Wireless stores who has been involved with the union since it first organized in 2014. "One of the human resources employees at Verizon was going around with the district manager at the time to talk with employees about the vote. She was giving a lot of false information about the union."

According to Rochelle, the false information included mischaracterizing how the union helps workers and claiming a helpline for workers run by Verizon provided the same services as the union. She provided emails from the human resources employee and documents distributed by Verizon to managers on talking points for undermining union organizers.

"Why is the company really opposed to the CWA? It's simple. You deserve better," wrote Verizon's Labor Relations Director Brett Ulrich in an email to Verizon Wireless employees preceding the decertification vote.

Verizon is among the most brazenly anti-union companies in the wireless industry. Shortly after a Verizon retail store in Everett, Massachusetts voted to form a union in 2014,

Verizon closed the store down. The majority of Verizon wireless employees continue to have no protections from the exploitative trends rampant in the wireless industry.

Inspired by mass layoffs and union-busting efforts, more than fifty Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T workers from around the country met the weekend of September 15 in Columbus, Ohio.

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