In a union election held on Friday, employees at Verizon stores in Everett and Lynnwood, just north of Seattle, were victorious, making them the first unionized Verizon stores in the United States outside of New York.
The near-unanimous triumph is the latest development in a burgeoning labor movement across the country, which has seen the unionization of Starbucks locations and the formation of the first Amazon warehouse union, among other victories.
As reported by the Daily Herald, a gathering of workers and supporters gathered in the parking lot of the Everett Verizon Store to witness the vote count aired live on Zoom by the National Labor Relations Board on Friday afternoon.
Workers will now be able to bargain with Verizon on salary and working conditions as a result of the victory. Employees at Verizon, according to Austin Hitch, a Verizon employee and organizer in the union effort, want cost-of-living raises and more control over their work hours.
It is important for him that the benefits he and his colleagues already enjoy are codified. “We have quite decent benefits and 401Ks, but Verizon has been methodically taking things away from us, and we want to put a stop to that,” he said.
Workers decided to have their interests represented by the Communications Workers of America, which has more than 700,000 members across the United States.
The company did not respond to messages from the newspaper requesting comment on the situation.
A February filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Verizon “respects our employees’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining… including the right to join or not join labor unions.” Verizon also stated that it “respects our employees’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining… including the right to join or not join labor unions.”
During his lunch break on Friday, Steve Yu, a sales associate at the two Verizon stores, came out to join his coworkers and supporters in celebrating the occasion. Yu has been employed by the company for 22 years and was a member of the union. His greatest source of dissatisfaction has been the adjustments Verizon has made to its employees’ commission income.
“No more should be taken away from us, and we don’t want any more taken away from future employees,” Yu expressed his dissatisfaction.