EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Workers at Verizon’s north Seattle stores in Everett and Lynnwood won their union elections Friday, becoming the first unionized Verizon stores in the country outside of New York.
The near-unanimous victory marks the latest in a growing labor movement across the country that includes unionizing at Starbucks stores and the first Amazon warehouse union.
A group of workers and supporters watched the vote count, which was streamed on Zoom from the National Labor Relations Board on Friday in the parking lot of the Everett Verizon store, the Daily Herald reported.
The victory earns workers the right to negotiate with Verizon over wages and working conditions. Austin Hitch, a Verizon employee and organizer of the union campaign, said employees wanted a higher cost of living and more control over their schedules.
“We really want to codify what we already have — we’ve got pretty good performance and 401Ks, but Verizon has been systematically taking things from us, and we want to put a stop to that,” he said.
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The workers voted to be represented by the Communications Workers of America, which has more than 700,000 members nationwide.
Verizon did not respond to messages from the newspaper for comment.
Verizon said in a February filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it “respects our employees’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining … including the right to join or not to join a labor union.”
Steve Yu, a sales representative for the two Verizon stores, came out on his break on Friday to celebrate with colleagues and supporters. Yu has been with the company for 22 years and voted for a union. His biggest frustration was the changes Verizon had made to employee commission payments.
“We don’t want anything else to be taken away from us, and we don’t want anything else to be taken away from future employees,” Yu said.
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