Last Non-Union Verizon Techs In New England Vote To Join IBEW
Above photo: IBEW organizer Steve Smith introduces VZB techs at an IBEW T-6 contract rally in Boston in 2008
Six Verizon Business (VZB) technicians who work at the company’s Earth Station in Andover, Maine voted five-to-one to join IBEW Local 2327 on December 11, 2013.
Verizon Business became a subsidiary of Verizon Communications after it bought the remnants of MCI/WorldCom in 2006.
“These are the last VZB techs in New England to unite in a union,” said Steve Smith, an IBEW organizer and former Verizon employee who has been helping VZB techs throughout the country gain their voice at work. “Now they will finally have the right to negotiate their terms and conditions of employment. Hopefully the other VZB techs at other Earth Stations in Virginia and Washington State will follow a similar path soon.”
Smith was joined at the vote count by IBEW Local 2327 Business Agent Jennifer Nappi. Local 2327 is based in Augusta, ME
Verizon Business techs first began forming committees throughout the Northeast in 2006 to win wages and working conditions comparable to their co-workers at Verizon Telecom. Verizon had built a wall separating its un-represented employees in its Verizon Business and Wireless divisions from workers in the older “core” company as part of a union avoidance strategy.
In early 2007, the techs achieved support from a majority of their co-workers. They also received strong support from elected officials and the rest of the labor movement. Most significantly, they built unity with Verizon “core company” union members whose contract with Verizon East expired on August 2, 2008.
Core company workers and their union leaders made it a major issue while bargaining for a new contract. With an arbitration case pending charging that Verizon Business was doing bargaining unit work covered by contract, the company agreed to recognize the techs and negotiate a new contract. Their new agreement went into effect in late 2008. About 600 techs were covered by the first contract.
However, thousands of Verizon Business workers throughout the rest of the country (including this small group in Maine) remained without a voice at work. Since winning their first contract, the newly organized Verizon Business techs have been reaching out to their co-workers about the benefits of uniting in a union.
About 95,000 employees of Verizon are united in CWA and IBEW.
For more information contact Steve Smith at Steve_Smith@IBEW.org