Oct 1, 2011
Young Verizon Worker Embraces Her New Union
Timothy Staples — her first name comes from a flowering grass — never had a union at work until she got a job last February at a Verizon call center in Salisbury, Md.
“I went to my first union meeting in the spring and I started learning about what we’re fighting for, and that includes saving the pensions that retirees are counting on,” Staples said. “I’m only 34 years old, but I realized I have an opportunity to change things. Retirees fought for what we have now, and now it’s my turn to fight for them.”
Staples, of Local 2106 in Maryland, joined union activists for a bus trip to New York City to rally in front of Verizon headquarters in late July.
“To hear people talk about what the union has done for them and how we have to save the middle class, it made me believe even more in what we’re fighting for.”
During the strike, she turned out for extra picket shifts. When passersby were critical, she says it was especially gratifying to discover she was able to change some people’s minds. And she was overwhelmed by the community support.
“Oh my gosh, Domino’s gave us pizza. A slushie truck stopped and gave us all icies on a really hot day. Some people would just stop by and say they knew someone who works at Verizon and ‘you guys keep fighting.’”
It frustrates her that some people are willing to sit idly by while others do the heavy lifting. “You’re taking advantage of the people who are fighting for you by not participating.”
And those people are missing out on something special. “It’s cool to be in a union because you are united as a group of people who might normally have nothing to do with each other. But as a union, we’re all there to support each other and help each other.”