Wireless Workers Launch New 'Network'

CWA, non-union staffers at major telecoms unite

Wireless companies face not only intimations of the government creating its own 5G network, but a different type of network aimed at their businesses.

Communications Workers of America members at AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have created a national network of union and non-union workers organizing to "protect good jobs and quality customer service."

According to CWA, hundreds are meeting in Orlando Tuesday (Jan. 30) to strategize about changing the industry "from within." That coincided with a planned demonstration in front of AT&T and Verizon stores there by wireless workers in support of AT&T Wireless employees in the Southeast currently trying to negotiate a new contract.

The new Wireless Workers United released the following statement of principles.

• "Fair Wages, Commissions and Benefits: Workers demand additional compensation for all time worked, improved job security, a transparent commission structure, tuition reimbursement, paid leave and child care assistance, flexible scheduling and regular raises to reflect cost-of-living increases.

• "Respect for Employees as People and as Workers: Workers demand the freedom to organize for better conditions, fair policies and flexibility in scheduling, an end to arbitrary reassignment, and realistic goals that consider sales climate and products.

• "Support, Training and Communication with Management: Workers demand the ability to provide feedback to the management team, consistency across work groups in training, policies, and procedures, and evaluations based on observations, not metrics.

• "Honest and Integrity in Customer Relations: Workers demand that customer care always be separate from sales, technical support, and billing issues to ensure the best outcomes for customers. That means that solutions should be tailored to customer needs, not the latest promotions, and that customers not be subjected to unethical sales tactics that result from unattainable sales goals."

"It's encouraging to see that the union is using an organization effort as an opportunity to call for great customer service," said Verizon spokesman Richard Young. "The vast majority of Verizon employees strongly feel that Verizon is a great place to work -- an employer that offers excellent service to our customers and competitive wages, benefits and growth opportunities for our employees.  And we do not expect that to change."

"We are the only major wireless carrier with a unionized workforce, and we provide more full-time union jobs than any other company in America," said an AT&T spokesperson. "Our employees are very well-compensated, and they will continue to be. In all of our contract negotiations, we’re committed to working together with the union to reach fair agreements that will allow us to continue to provide solid union careers with excellent wages and benefits, while maintaining the flexibility we need to differentiate ourselves through world-class customer service.

"Earlier this month, CWA-represented employees in our largest Mobility contract voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four year contract that was praised by union leadership as “groundbreaking.”