Verizon Union Workers 10x Better Than Corporate at Marketing! (PICTURES)

by Mike Chiasson on August 17, 2011

In case you live under a rock there has been a massive strike going on within the ranks of Verizon. I’ve had the fortune of having a close friend of mine’s mother be in a management position at Verizon and she has been talking about the looming strike for months. Eventually it went into effect about 10 days ago. Most of the Verizon union workers on the East Coast opted to picket instead of working. I got a chance to see some of these protestors live outside a local Verizon and wanted to comment on the situation as well as who is doing a better job marketing their side.

Verizon Employees Gather Local Community Support

Now I don’t know all of the reasons they are fighting for or what the exact outcome will be but I do have a few personal opinions to share before I get to the nitty gritty of this post.

  1. I think unions are worthless. They are a remnant from the days or horrid working condition in the US and now only serve the purpose of protecting the weak. Someone who is good at their job doesn’t have to fight for it, plain and simple.
  2. This isn’t to say that the people in the unions are worthless. Often times to work at an organization you might have to join the collective bargaining group and follow their rules whether you agree or not.
  3. I DO acknowledge the fact that the reason why we have the benefits today is because of the hard work of unions in earlier years. I just believe things have gotten out of control now.
  4. I really can’t grasp how the country could let unions tell a business owner (large or small) how they have to run their business with the threat of a strike.
  5. I for the life of me can’t get WHY anyone would want to strike (ie: hates their company) instead of just leaving and finding another job. Obviously it can’t be that bad if you still want to work there right?

The Sides

You basically have 3 definitive sides here. You have the Verizon Union employees who according to my brief interaction are fighting to stop their jobs from going oversees. Verizon Corporate, this involves executive management and non-union staff who are still handling the current massive VZ networks. Independent contractors, these are many of the employees you see at the Verizon corporate stores, kiosks, installation providers, wireless stores, etc.

Although the only people really battling here are Corporate vs. Union, its important to see that the current struggle surely effects the livelihood of the independent groups as well.

Corporate

Corporate Verizon just recently began regional radio campaigns that feature question and answer style interviews. The one I heard on the ride home today featured two people discussing the current situation and these are some of the highlights (paraphrased).

  • “Verizon is currently working with its talented union employees to negotiate a prosperous resolution to the current debates.”
  • “Verizon technicians receive on average over $50,000 in annual benefits with an average salary upwards of $80,000.”

Obviously VZ is trying to plant the image that all of the people on strike are doing far better than most in these rough economic times. They are also trying to beat around the bush that they have thousands of employees who had walked out of the offices. They position the strikes and a ‘debate’ of some sort.

Corporate is doing a really bad job handling this PR nightmare but in reality…I don’t think they have to. I’ve spoken to numerous people who have Verizon services who had to place support calls in the last few days. Each person told me they were immediately warned it may take a few days (!!!) to solve their issue because of the current labor negotiations. However each person told me their issues were solved in a matter of minutes just like prior VZ problems.

At the same time Corporate is under a huge attack by people like Warren Buffet and others who are absolutely bullshit that the corporation hasn’t paid taxes on their billions of revenue.

The Union

A Verizon Store Employees Were Picketing Outside of

A Verizon Store Employees Were Picketing Outside of. As you can see they were 30+ feet away as you can't even see them in this photo.

My interaction with the union was brief. I really wasn’t familiar with their purpose for striking but when I saw them outside a local Verizon wireless store picketing I HAD to stop and talk to them. All of the Union workers were EXTREMELY nice. They were a bit concerned when I asked to interview them. Mostly over the idea that I might write some slanderous comments about them it seemed. The local store had a police officer guarding the entry way while the protestors were about 35 feet or so from the entrance.

They where wielding signs and banners and were trying to gather support from the passing cars. I didn’t see a single person say anything to anyone walking into the Verizon store. To be honest I don’t even think they were facing that way while I was observing.

They informed me of some of the following (paraphrased once again all from different union members):

  • We are fighting to keep over 20,000 jobs from being outsourced oversees.
  • I need this job for me and my family.
  • “We are sacrificing our pay right now to try and ensure our livelihood for years to come.”

Then there were some of the members who had more disgruntled views:

  • “Verizon is evil, the executives don’t care about anyone but themselves.”
  • “Verizon sucks!”
  • “They don’t even pay taxes, and they want to get rid of all American jobs!”

Clearly the union doesn’t have quite a defined message. The only real thing that they all agreed about was that they don’t want their jobs to go overseas. I can respect fighting for that for sure! What I don’t get is the people who were so disgruntled who ‘hate’ Verizon. Why they would actually want to go back to work for someone who “doesn’t care for them”. To break it down a little further of everyone I talked to the females were much more clear with their issues while the men seemed divided and angry. Gender communication studies would be sure to recognize this as standard masculine traits. I’m sure if a woman was asking the questions rather than a male the results may have been completely reversed as far as genders go!

All the same I have to commend these union workers. Their flash mob like picketing at various Verizon locations is definitely letting the public know “Hey we are out here…and we need your support!” Typically you only see things like this on TV not at your local stores and kiosks! Their simple gathering and peaceful participation marketing is truely awesome way to spend their *off* days.

Will The Union Win?

Of course. Unions have won wars like this since the early 1900’s. Bottom line is the only thing worse than having 20,000 jobs go over seas, is having 20,000 angry people constantly telling everyone how much you suck for the next 20 years. As far as getting their message out, I think Verizon is clearly winning with their message dissemination but as far as picking sides its hard to turn your back on your neighbors and friends when you see them protesting together.

What do you think about the Verizon strike?

About the author

Mike Chiasson Mike Chiasson is the Director of IT for a publicly traded company by day and an Internet Marketer by night. He absolutely hates the words 'serial entrepreneur' but loves discussions about business. You can follow him on Twitter.

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