Maine Verizon Business Techs Join IBEW
January 7, 2014
|IBEW Lead Organizer Steve Smith introduces Verizon Business technicians at a Verizon contract rally in Boston in 2008.
Verizon Business technicians in Andover, Maine, voted overwhelmingly to join Augusta Local 2327 Dec. 11.
The six-person unit is the last group of Verizon Business technicians to go union in New England.
“Now they will finally have the right to negotiate their terms and conditions of employment,” said IBEW Lead Organizer Steven Smith.
Verizon Business is subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc., formed after the telecom giant bought up the remnants of MCI/WorldCom in 2006.
While most Verizon technicians are represented by a union, the majority of the VZB workforce was nonunion, with the company fighting to keep it that way.
“Verizon had built a wall separating its unrepresented employees in its Verizon Business and Wireless divisions from workers in the older ‘core’ company as part of a union avoidance strategy,” wrote labor activist Rand Wilson.
But after an organizing drive led by the IBEW and the Communication Workers of America, more than 600 techsvoted for union representation in 2008.
Local 2327 Business Manager Peter McLaughlin is negotiating with Verizon Business, and is pushing for the new members to be slotted in under the existing contract.
“We’re focused on making sure they get a good contract,” he said.
Thousands of Verizon Business employees outside New England are still without collective bargaining rights, however.
“Hopefully the other VZB techs in Virginia and Washington State will follow a similar path,” Smith said.
Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Eric Hauser