Diary Of A Union-Busting Campaign

Diary of a Union-Busting Campaign

Learn how Verizon is trying to stop workers from organizing a union. And how Verizon workers are standing together and fighting back.

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August 11, 2008
Thank you for your support!

We’re thrilled to announce that as part of recent contract negotiations, Verizon has agreed to allow employees to exercise a free choice. Verizon Business technicians from Maine to Verizon are now represented by CWA and IBEW.

We thank everyone who lent their support to this campaign. Please consider taking one more step and learn about the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make free choice for all workers the law of the land.

Again, thank you for your solidarity.

August 2, 2008
Huge Boston Rally –VzB techs speak

GO TO THIS VIDEO! Kevin Leppman is joined by VzB techs on stage at huge Boston Rally on July 31.

Link to the YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUGPNtn9XXA

VZB Tech Kevin Leppmann:

“When I first joined the company more than 10 years ago, management assured us we didn’t need a union because they were a different kind of company. They were right. They proceeded to buy up more than a hundred growing and thriving telecom firms, and turn them all into the single biggest bankruptcy in the history of the world. Thousands of jobs were lost, millions of dollars in life savings were wiped out, and a couple of executives went to jail.

“Then, after our emergence from bankruptcy and purchase by Verizon, we were once again told that ours was a brand new company, with a renewed commitment to its workforce. But as we saw our wages fall below industry standards, as we saw our health insurance premiums rise while our benefits were reduced, we realized this wasn’t a new company at all. It was the same old company, with the same old plan to prop up corporate profits and management bonuses on the backs of the people who do the real work.

“Enough is enough. We deserve better. We need to tear down the wall, and unite all those who create real value for the company every single day. Thanks to all of you for supporting my co-workers in the fight for workers rights. Together, we can prevail.”

July 25, 2008
Mass Rally Tomorrow!

MASS RALLY TOMORROW!
We are stunned at what a good turnout of VzB techs are coming out to the Mass Verizon Rally tomorrow in NYC. It is amazing that so many have continued to stand shoulder to shoulder demanding a voice on the job.

All VzB techs will meet right in front of the stage between 12:30 and 1 PM. The rally is on Barclay St, and West St in NYC.

There are still seats available on buses if you want a ride in.

POSSIBLE VERIZON STRIKE?
Over 91% of your Verizon brothers and sisters in CWA and IBEW have voted to authorize a strike if management doesn’t agree to a fair contract. The union is pushing to ensure that “jobs of the future” are union jobs, and that health benefits for our members and retirees are protected.

For the past two years, Verizon union members have supported your fight for a voice on the job. Union members are continuing to fight to ensure that every job is a union job. We all know that we are stronger TOGETHER.

VzB Meeting in NYC
There will be an emergency meeting for all NYC area techs on Wednesday, July 30th at 5:30 PM at 80 Pine St to discuss the latest, and to talk about what will happen in the event of a strike. We hope you can join us. Please email or call to RSVP. Food will be served.

BE SURE TO WEAR RED TO THE RALLY TOMORROW!!

July 22, 2008
Join Us on the 99th Yard

Boston VzB tech Mark Latham expressed how important it is for VzB techs to attend one or both of our upcoming rallies best. He wrote:

The Union’s contract is up in 2 weeks. It’s down to the wire and we NEED support from you ALL.

If you signed a union card you signed a pledge, it’s that simple. We stand by each other or we fall separately.

If you have never attended anything Union-related up till now, we need your support more than ever, now is the time. No excuses, no promises.

There will be a large rally in NYC on July 26th, 1 pm, at 140 West St. Contact Tim Dubnau at (609) 658-0033 if you can make it, or if you need a ride from Long Island, Westchester, or Rockland County.

There will be a large rally in Boston on July 31. Contact Steve Smith for info at 978-302-3690 about the Boston Rally, or to hop on the bus to NYC.

It is critical to send a strong message to this company that EVERY job needs to be a union job. Bring your family, bring your dogs. Bring your vocal chords.

This is about strengthening our job security, wages, pension, health benefits. YOU have fought too long and too hard not to join us on the 99th yard. We will see you in Boston and NY.

United We Bargain.

July 15, 2008
Arbitration, Negotiations, and Mobilization

Arbitration
The arbitration hearings are now over. After 15 days of hearings, both sides rested their case. The Union and management will now write “post hearing briefs” and submit those to the arbitrator. The arbitrator must then decide which side is right. If we win the arbitration, Verizon cannot appeal.

Many calls have come in asking if we will win. The truth is that no one knows. However, we are pleased with how the case went, and feel that we presented a good case that VzB techs should properly be in the Union.

Aug 2, Negotiations
CWA and IBEW continue to negotiate hard with Verizon. At issue for the unions are health care for our members and retirees, and ensuring that the “jobs of the future” are union jobs. Negotiations are always tough, and we hope that the company understands that every job should be a union job, and that they need to get off our backs on health care.

Mobilization
Although the arbitration case and the negotiating table are critically important, the real way to ensure that Verizon gets the message is through mobilization. Verizon understands and even respects POWER. And they can recognize POWER when they see it.

And so we are calling on ALL VzB techs who care about their future, who want to stand up together with their Verizon Core brothers and sisters, to come out to a rally in either Boston or NYC. The way to win this fight is to show up at these rallies. There is nothing to be afraid of! We may be on the brink of victory!

The NYC MASS Rally will take place SAT, July 26th, 1 PM to 3 PM, 140 West St (corner of Barclay). Please let Tim Dubnau know you can make it: tdubnau@cwa-union.org
If you need a ride to the NYC rally, let Tim Dubnau know.

The Boston MASS Rally will take place THU, July 31, 6 PM to 8 PM 185 Franklin St (VZ HQ). Please let Steve Smith know you can make it. smithhousem@aol.com

Flyers to the rally will be mailed to your home, as well as a HOT-off-the-presses Signal & Noise Union Newsletter.

July 10, 2008
You’re Invited: MASS RALLY on Saturday, July 26

It’s time to turn up the heat. Here is the flyer inviting you to a MASS RALLY on SAT, July 26th at 1 PM, on the corner of West St. and Barclay.

Your unionized brothers and sisters are stepping up to fight for your rights, but they can’t do it alone. Please make every effort to attend this important rally. We need a good showing of VzB techs.

If you live in Buffalo, New England, Long Island, Rockland or Westchester, or anywhere else, call us and we can get you on a bus coming into the city from the local in your area.

This rally will be large. Help make it larger.

Please be sure to download the flyer and distribute to your coworkers.

July 2, 2008
VzB Techs Speak Out!

The contract with Verizon expires on August 2nd.

As we approach this important deadline, more VzB techs are speaking out. In fact, check out this outstanding video that features 3 NYC VzB techs, as well as some Comcast techs, talk about what it’s like to go thru an anti-union campaign. Remember all those lies about union dues, about how a union is a “third” party, and remember all those threats? For the first time, VzB techs speak out about how our labor laws are broken.

Be sure to watch this video of your fellow VzB techs speaking up and speaking out.
http://www.freechoiceact.org/cwa/pages/workers_speak_out

Rally for ALL VZ workers!
We will be announcing a large rally soon of Vz and VzB techs in NYC. Buses will be coming from PA, Delaware, Virginia, NJ, upstate NY, Rockland County, Westchester County, and New England. We want a large presence of VzB techs at this crucial rally.

The rally will take place just a few days before the contract expires. Join with your fellow Verizon brothers and sisters to demand justice for all workers in Verizon. Details to follow soon.

Stay Strong. Wear RED on Thursdays. Join the Verizon Rally for Justice. Watch this amazing video:

http://www.freechoiceact.org/cwa/pages/workers_speak_out

June 30, 2008
VzB Tech Gets Standing Ovation at CWA Convention

There is one month, just over 30 more days, until the contract between VZ and CWA/IBEW expires.

VzB tech Roger Reece, from Hillburn, NY just spoke at the CWA convention in Las Vegas. Here is his speech. It’s no wonder he received a long, standing ovation from the 4000+ union members in attendance. His speech follows.

Good morning, brothers and sisters of the CWA! Thank you for inviting me to your wonderful and most enlightening convention. My name is Roger Reece and I am a Verizon Business employee. I work as a tester in Monsey, NY. I have been a Verizon Business employee since way back when we were MCI. That’s fourteen years of transition and evolution without representation. I believe the official term for what we are called is “At Will” employees. Well, I think they should change the term to “At Mercy” employees.

For the 14 years that I have been an employee, we have been at the mercy of management. They took away Presidents’ Day and Martin Luther King Day, we were at their mercy. They make us pay over $5000 per year for health benefits, we are at their mercy. We were at their mercy when they took away our differential, when they reduced our sick days, and refuses year after year to implement raises, we were at their mercy.

But in 2006 we saw a glimmer of hope because Verizon had purchased MCI. Quietly, we rejoiced because we knew the Union was coming to unite us. And during his entrance speech to employees early in 2006, after being asked by one bold, anonymous MCI employee, Verizon Business President John Killian, promised to allow us to vote freely for the union. And we “At Mercy” employees believed him. But it wasn’t but five minutes after that meeting that I realized that the path to collective bargaining would not be an easy one.

When I asked my manager when he thought we would be allowed to vote for a union, he hauled me into his office, and gave me a verbal warning that if I even mentioned the word Union on the floor, I would be subject to strong disciplinary action, which included possible dismissal. I was stunned.

In the fall of 2006, we reached out to the CWA and IBEW. Together we organized committees comprised of pro-union Verizon Business employees, such as myself, to educate our fellow employees about the benefits of having representation, and to gauge the amount of pro-union support within our respective organizations. We found that an overwhelming majority of employees were in fact pro-union.

As awareness of our movement to organize began to spread, Verizon management began to try and intimidate us. I don’t know if you have ever had the distinct displeasure of sitting through a six-hour long forced meeting where management brings in some thug-looking HR representative to advise you of the evils of the union, how the union is all about money, how they don’t really care about our interests. Those who were undecided before or felt afraid of management’s wrath prayed for the whole ugly situation to be over with.

Next they instituted a company wide market adjustment raise after finally and mysteriously realizing that they’d been underpaying their “At Mercy” employees for all these years. Yet after all the number crunching and market research and the proverbial smoke cleared, we were still left grossly underpaid.

In 2007, the Labor Board came back with a decision on charges we filed against Verizon Business for unfair labor practices and I must say, it was disappointing to say the least. Despite the fact that we won the case, according to federal guidelines, Verizon Business did not have to admit any wrong doing. They had to write a letter informing us of the Labor Boards decision, and post it on the work floor. That’s it.

Verizon management knows that our Labor Laws are broken. They game the system, knowing they can stall all they want, while using terror tactics against their employees. Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of my fellow techs signed cards stating they want a union, we are still “At Mercy” employees. But the winds of change are in the air. I had the pleasure of meeting Barack Obama last year, and he told me in front of a few hundred others that he supports fixing our broken labor laws, just as he told us yesterday.

We need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act so that workers like me can join a union without running through a meat grinder of employer threats. I know that soon I will be holding a CWA card in my wallet. Soon my fellow Verizon Business techs will no longer have to beg for mercy from our boss. Soon we will join with our over 80,000 Verizon brothers and sisters in one big union at Verizon.

I thank the CWA for sticking with us as we struggle to join your ranks. And if you Strike on August 2nd, Verizon Business techs will be supporting you wholeheartedly, all the way. Because we now know what you’ve always known: United We Bargain, Divided We Beg!

Thank you.