Why a Union?

Why Do Verizon Business Workers Want a Union?

Learn more: What is a union?

Reason #6: Together, we can do better
Reason #5: “It’s About Respect”
Reason #4: Having a “second party” in the management-employee relationship
Reason #3: Unilateral changes by management
Reason #2: Support & solidarity
Reason #1: A voice on the job

Reason #6: Together, We Can Do Better

Union workers at Verizon, and throughout the telecommunications industry, have won better pay and benefits, job security, retirement security, health and safety protections, and many other advantages by bargaining collectively. Management did not “give” these benefits to union workers; union workers won them by standing together.

The difference between compensation and conditions for union techs at Verizon “core” and non-union techs at Verizon Business is like night and day.

Verizon “Core” (union) Verizon Business (no union)
Base Pay
5 year tech earns a minimum of $68,328; with voluntary overtime, the salary range is between $75,000 to well over $100,000

Pay varies, based on favoritism. After 7 yrs. Tech II’s in the Northeast get somewhere between $47,000- 67,000

Education

100% employer-paid tuition reimbursement at any accredited institution on any subject.

After 8 years, you may get associates degree in telecommunications (paid by company on company time), and pay jumps 6.6%

Tuition reimbursement at management’s discretion.

Overtime

Paid daily in most contracts; OT is voluntary

Only when required by law

Pay Progression

Step increases every 6 months while progressing to top pay. Annual percentage increase.

Pay at management discretion. When no union activity, pay increases are rare.

Health Care

Cost of medical, dental and vision coverage fully paid by VZ.

Paycheck deductions of over $2,000/year for 2 people, and up to $7,000/year for a family! Very high deductibles.

Family and Medical Leave Act

Workers are able to exercise their rights under FMLA. In addition, members are paid for all sick time under FMLA.

Workers are able to exercise their rights under FMLA

Retirement Benefits

Guaranteed monthly retirement benefits and retiree health care

No pension plan or retiree health benefits

401(k)

6% (supplemental to pension, above)

6%

Grievance/ Arbitration Procedure

Representation and formal process for resolving unfair treatment. Discipline can be imposed only for “just cause.” Mgmt. decisions can be appealed to neutral, third party arbitrator, who has the power to reinstate employees, order back pay, or restore other job rights.

Management is final decision maker in any grievance. No neutral third party available.

Health & Safety

Local safety committee and national safety experts help members solve problems that lead to injuries. In neighborhoods where you feel unsafe, you ride with a co-worker.

No employee committee.

For outside field techs: In neighborhoods where you feel unsafe, you cross your fingers and go out alone.

Job Security

Workers protected against layoffs, forced transfers, or downgrades caused by office closings.

“At-will” employment means you serve at the employer’s pleasure with little or no job security

Retirement Health Insurance

Fully paid by company upon retirement for the rest of your life

None

Layoffs

Company laid off over 3000 people, the union filed a grievance and won. All employees were hired back, with back pay, and reimbursed for all medical expenses.

No recourse available in the event of layoffs

Changes in Working Conditions

With a written contract, Verizon cannot take away any benefits

Without a written contract, any raises, benefits, vacation time, etc, can be changed at any time by management for any reason

Holidays

11 paid holidays

6 holidays

Reason #5: “It’s About Respect”

“The people I have the pleasure of working with every day strive to do a good job and be proud of it. By any measure, such people deserve respect: respect for what they do, respect for what they need, respect for who they are.

“Such people deserve to be properly trained and equipped to do their job. They deserve wages and benefits that provide the security necessary for them to be their best and take care of their own. They deserve not only a fair share of the company’s wealth, but also fair representation in deciding the company’s future and their place in it. Management has been telling us forever that we are the company’s greatest assets. We need to believe what they say, and stop accepting what they don’t do, to recognize and reward our skills and efforts.”

~ Kevin Leppmann

Reason #4: Having a “second party” in the management-employee relationship

“Management says that ‘a third-party generally impedes on the efficiency and effectiveness of the problem-solving process in any organization. We want a direct and two-way line of communication with our employees.’ They are correct that the Union would ‘impede’ this relationship, but only because that relationship has never been two-way.

When was the last time you were consulted before a major decision was made about benefits, compensation, work rules? Our health care plans, our 401K and retirement accounts, our work responsibilities, all get handed down to us as is, without any discussion. It’s certainly nice to meet with our VP once every few years to ‘hear us out,’ but that’s not the same thing as the ‘direct give-and-take’ interaction management has always promised but never delivered.”

~ Mark Latham, Verizon Business technician

Reason #3: Unilateral changes by management

Jan. 9, 2007

VZB cuts on call pay for Techs

Business started New Year by giving employees a cut. All field used charge .8 hrs day for being call, and now company has cut it down to 3 hrs. per week. Most, if not all, the techs count on this on-call pay as part of their regular salary in day-to-day P>”The employees believe that Verizon Business is not looking out for us but just taking care of management.”

Update: Just 2 days after Verizon Business workers went public for the union, management announced it would restore the pay. This is a common management tactic: “giving” employees some improvement. While the company hopes workers will believe that it’s decided to be nice, the truth is that the company made the change only because workers organized.

Reason #2: Support and solidarity

Verizon Business tech Jeff Norman from Hillburn (Monsey, NY) wants to share this story about what it means to be in a union:

“My brother-in-law Rich is a member of IBEW Local Union 363, New City, NY. In August of 2006, Rich had a very bad motorcycle accident. He lost part of his brain and was touch-n-go for quite some time. After 6 months of rehab and hard work, Rich returned to work on Monday Feb. 5th. During this terrible time, his union stood behind him and made sure his health benefits continued, and let him return to his previous job at ETC, from Dover Plains, NY. If Rich did not have union representation, things could have gone much differently for him.”

Reason #1: A voice on the job

“We don’t have a voice on how VZB’s quarterly income is spent, yet we are the people who work to insure that our company meets quarterly expectations.

“We stay after hours without overtime and work through our unpaid lunches to ensure VZB stock continues to grow. We need to be heard!”

~ Marilyn Roldan, VZ Business Tech, New York City