By COLIN STAUB
By a vote of 4-1, workers at two Portland retail stores for telecom giant Verizon have unionized with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The two stores, both in Northwest Portland, are the only union Verizon Express locations in the country. They are small retail outlets selling Verizon products, where customers use self-checkout kiosks.
The bargaining unit includes seven workers. Union supporters said stores are understaffed and workers are underpaid. Unlike larger Verizon outlets, Express workers don’t get paid on commission. They also said the stores have had instability in management, and that they’ve gone for long periods without a supervisor.The campaign was quick, but not without hurdles: CWA charged Verizon with unfair labor practices when the company held mandatory anti-union meetings.
With the union certified, CWA says workers are getting ready to bargain. First contract priorities include better compensation, health benefits, wage increases, better staffing levels and safer working conditions, according to the union.
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