May 23, 2022

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Verizon stores in Washington state vote to join the union

Verizon stores in Washington state vote to join the union

Employees at Verizon Stores North Seattle’s Everett and Lynnwood won the union election on Friday, making it the first Verizon union store in the country outside of New York.

It represents the latest near-unanimous victory in a growing labor movement across the country that includes unions Starbucks stores and the first Amazon warehouse union.

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The Daily Herald reports that a group of workers and supporters watched the vote count, which was broadcast on Zoom by the National Labor Relations Board on Friday, in the parking lot of an Everett Verizon store.

Verizon Wireless retail website (istock / iStock)

The victory gives workers the right to bargain with Verizon over wages and working conditions. Austin Hitch, a Verizon employee and organizer of the union campaign, said employees want increases in the cost of living and more control over their schedules.

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“We really want to legalize what we already have — we have very good benefits and 401K, but Verizon has been systematically taking things from us, and we want to put an end to that,” he said.

The workers voted to be represented by Communications Workers of America, which has more than 700,000 members nationwide.

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Verizon did not respond to messages from the newspaper seeking comment.

Verizon said it “respects our employees’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining … including the right to join or not join labor unions” in a February filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Steve Yu, sales representative for two Verizon stores, came out to celebrate with co-workers and supporters during a Friday break. Yu had been with the company for 22 years and voted for the union. His biggest frustration has been Verizon’s changes to employee commission pay.

“We don’t want more disenfranchisement from us, and we don’t want more disenfranchisement from future employees,” Yu said.

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