Join Us

Sign up for the lastest information from the IBEW!

Related ArticlesRelated Articles

Visit Our Media Department

Print This Page       Text Size:
News Publications

Workers, Community Allies Mobilize Against Verizon Greed


October 27, 2011


photo placeholder

IBEW members show labor’s support for the Occupy Boston movement.

More than 45,000 CWA and IBEW members at Verizon continue to mobilize for a fair contract and good jobs at the telecommunications giant.

Says Boston Local 2222 Business Manager Myles Calvey, who, as chair of the T-6 Council, represents IBEW members at Verizon throughout New England:

We were able to stop Verizon’s plans to slash our retirement security and health benefits, but the fight for a decent agreement continues, and sadly management continues to refuse to bargain in good faith.

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.

Says Calvey:

They aren’t being serious. These are the same demands that caused the strike in the first place. For Verizon to continue calling for the same thing shows they are more interested in turning back the clock on more than 50 years of productive collective bargaining than honest negotiations.

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:

If this was a struggling company, we would more than willing to tighten our belt – but it’s not. We’re talking about one of the most profitable corporations in the country and management is using the hostile political and economic climate to bust the union and outsource our jobs.

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:

This is the frontlines of the fight to save the American middle class so it is in every working person’s interest to make sure Verizon bargains fairly.

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.

He said: 

Our local union offers its full support to the grassroots movement that is sweeping this country. As we know all too well, the nation’s largest corporations, including Verizon, pay zero in federal taxes and effectively skirt their responsibility to our society. This corporate greed, along with the systemic failure of the banks that fund them, has caused enormous suffering, joblessness and homelessness.

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.