Union Strives to Make Inroads in Wireless Industry

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cwaLast April, the industry watched as Verizon management squared off with 40,000 striking employees. The result was a small win for the Communications Workers of America (CWA), who was able to expand its reach to cover more of Verizon’s workers.

However, in general, unionization has been largely unsuccessful in the wireless industry, something the CWA is seeking to change. Last week, hundreds of CWA’s organizers met in San Antonio to strategize how to expand its power in the industry, reports Fortune.  See the statement from the CWA regarding the conference.

In particular, the CWA which represents some 700,000 workers, according to its website, is targeting T-Mobile and Verizon’s workforces as two with whom the union organization seeks to make inroads. But the organization faces a steep hill to climb.

Verizon dismissed the CWA’s effort, calling them “overwhelmingly unsuccessful” in unionizing its workforce.

“While we respect the rights of our employees to consider these efforts, we’re quite confident that the vast majority of our workforce believes Verizon Wireless is a great place to work and will continue to reject union representation,” the company said in a statement.

During the recent CWA meeting, which included a panel of Verizon workers, union president Chris Shelton called unionizing Verizon workers a “major CWA priority.”

In its effort to organize T-Mobile workers, a few of whom also spoke at the recent meeting, the CWA has yet to make significant strides. It recently set up a new office in Kansas to expand its outreach to call center employees in Kansas, reported Fortune.

However, none of the company’s work sites have reached the minimum threshold of workers signing up to trigger a unionization election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. That minimum is 30 percent of workers.

In comparison to T-Mobile and Verizon, AT&T has had a relatively favorable relationship with unions representing its workers. The wireless carrier has successfully agreed to 19 contracts in a row with workers since the beginning of 2015.

December 6, 2016

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