CWA LOCAL 1400
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Verizon Wireless Call Center Workers Need A Voice!
By an Anonymous Verizon Wireless Call Center Worker
I'm a customer service specialist at a Verizon Wireless call center. I'm choosing to remain anonymous. You can call me agent V.
I was lucky, out of transition I was put on a Pro Team. My supervisor coaches Pros and a couple specialists. We have a front row seat to the "How to be the best" show, and out of any where in the call center these are the seats to be in.
More than half of my transition team ended up together on a separate team. I can see them from my desk. They have a supervisor that berates them for asking clarifying questions during trainings. She doesn't encourage them during their team huddles, and I can see their shoulders slumping from the pressure being put on them. Many of them haven't worked in high volume call centers before and aren't getting the guidance that's vital to long term success. How does someone like this become a supervisor at a company that prides themselves on being the best? Why isn't anyone stepping in and ending their humiliation? Because there is no one to step in. Our in house human resources team is one person. And HR's job is to protect the company from their workers. So it continues.
We had a kickoff within the last couple weeks, and our center director made sure to say that we don't need a "third party" to step in. Maybe she doesn't. She makes a living wage! She isn't brow beaten during meetings and coachings. She tells us during every meeting how successful we are, how we are a Fortune 500 company. How cool is that?
I work at a Fortune 500 company that is currently making record profits. She may be happy with the way things are but I’m not. I'm one of many representatives who need to know I have someone to call if my supervisor isn't treating me fairly. I need someone to negotiate a living wage for all of us, not just management. Most importantly, I need to know my job is secure and I won't be replaced with a less expensive option.
When we join together into a union we can do these things for ourselves. If they want to call that a third party, fine. But we cannot wait for someone to fix our situation for us. Let’s get organized!
The Union Difference At AT&T Mobility
Brian McVaugh, Shop Steward, Sales Representative, AT&T Mobility, Rochester, NY
Being part of the CWA gives you pride into your job on a daily basis. You know you can go to work every day and enjoy what you are doing. No sense of false promises or unfair working conditions. Before getting hired for AT&T I did not know that it was union. As a former Best Buy employee I knew that working in a sales environment can be stressful and strenuous on the mind and body. The Union has helped me out in so many ways, not just at my job, but also in life. The Union has helped pay some of my closing cost on my house, my health benefits and also the peace of mind of knowing that I can get free legal advice when needed too.
Working in a sales environment you would think taking extended vacations or planning time with your family would make you lose out on sales and money. The union has made that easy on us by fighting for quota relief. Quota relief gives you the ability to take time away from work whether it’s a doctor’s appointment, sick time, vacation or need to stay home to take care of your child. You get paid for your missed hours and sales equivalent to your quota for the day.
Having a union behind you can help with unfair disciplinary actions to keep peace of mind in the work place. Having a grievance system gives you the ability to fight unfair disciplinary actions. During a grievance you have the right to have a union representative with you while discussing with a manager or parties involved why you are being disciplined. This process ensures our rights are protected. Unfair discipline is removed from our records. Co-workers and I have all gone through a grievance process whether it was for performance, attendance or right down to the code of conduct of the business.
Watching the union grow to Cricket and Verizon Wireless will not only be good the employees but also for the customers. Happy Employees will lead to happy customers.
Building A Strong Shop Steward Structure At Verizon Wireless
By Nneka Franklyn, Shop Steward, Solutions Specialist, Verizon Wireless Montague St. Brooklyn, NY
As we bargain our first contracts at the recently unionized stores in Brooklyn, NY and Everett, MA, we are already building a strong union structure inside the stores. Over the last few weeks, workers in Everett elected a number of their co-workers to be shop stewards.
A shop steward is a union member who is trained to represent their coworkers when management attempts to discipline them. They also help organize their coworkers to mobilize during contract negotiations or other conflicts with the company. In Brooklyn, shop stewards have already been elected and they have all been trained to represent their coworkers on discipline, FMLA issues, and all other problems that may come up. Last week Brooklyn CWA Local, 1109 held their annual shop stewards' dinner to recognize their incredible work enforcing contracts and representing fellow union members in workplaces across the borough. For the first time ever, the event was attended by newly elected Verizon Wireless shop stewards.
With this system of stewards in place, Verizon Wireless workers in Brooklyn and Everett, along with the long time unionized switch techs in the New York Metro area, are the most protected workers in the whole company.
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