Workers, Community Allies Mobilize Against Verizon Greed
October 27, 2011
More than 45,000 CWA and IBEW members at Verizon continue to mobilize for a fair contract and good jobs at the telecommunications giant.
More than 45,000 workers from New England to Virginia struck for nearly two weeks in August to protest the company’s draconian cutback demands – cuts which would have amounted to a pay cut of more than $20,000 a year per worker.
The IBEW and CWA called off the strike after Verizon agreed to extend the expired contract – backing off its concessionary demands for the moment.
But Verizon has stonewalled negotiations that re-started earlier this month, putting the same package of givebacks back on the table, including eliminating the company’s pension plan, giving management more leeway to outsource jobs, and dramatically increasing health care premiums and deductibles.
Verizon is pulling in higher profits than ever. It has more than $27 billion in revenues, according to its recent quarterly earnings report, and last year it shelled out $258 million to its top executives. And despite Verizon’s claim that its wireline division is on a drastic decline, the company boasted in an Oct. 21 press statement that landline revenues are now on the upswing thanks to the growth of FiOS – its’ bundled Internet, cable and telephone package – which now tops more than 8 million connections.
Says East Windsor, N.J., Local 827 Business Manager Bill Huber whose local represents Verizon and Verizon Connected Solutions employees throughout New Jersey:
Most galling, says Huber, is the fact that Verizon not only did not pay any corporate income taxes, the company received a nearly $1 billion tax benefit from the federal government.
Calvey says members continue to remain mobilized, and are partnering with community supporters to keep the pressure on Verizon. Says Calvey:
IBEW and CWA members have recently showed their support for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, protesting the special financial interests that have crashed the economy. Both unions also participated in Boston and other cities as similar rallies spread to more than 400 localities across North America.
IBEW member Paul Feeney, speaking in support of an Oct. 5 Local 2222 resolution endorsing the Occupy Boston protest, connected the struggle against Verizon’s greed with the movement against Wall Street.
And the demonstrators have shown their support for Verizon workers, joining in actions to educate the community about the campaign to save good jobs and at rallies at Verizon offices.
Check out www.ibew.org for future bargaining updates.