June 2016
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Also In This Issue Once and Again
Henry Miller Museum
takes shape read_more

Millennials Need Unions
And the labor movement needs them. Discuss read_more

Building Trades, Smashing Ceilings
IBEW member elected state building trades chief read_more

Above and Beyond
In N.J., the Code is what
they live by read_more

North of 49°
Funding the Future: British Columbia Awards $750,000 to IBEW read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Un financement pour l'avenir : la Colombie-Britannique verse 750 000 $ E5E4E4 la FIOE read_more





Change of Address


  Cover Photo

Verizon Strike 2016
'The best thing that happened to us was joining the IBEW…
it's been war ever since'

A contract between tens of thousands of union workers and a company recording billions in profits expires. The company not only won't fairly compensate its workers for the company's success, it is demanding hundreds of millions of givebacks and the right to send jobs overseas. Tens of thousands of workers put down their tools, shut down their computers and lay their headsets on their desk and take to the picket line.

The company: Verizon.

The year: 2011.

As the old saying goes, history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme and the reasons behind the 2016 strike at Verizon echo the reasons behind eight separate strikes since 1968.

When 10,000 IBEW members and 30,000 members of the CWA walked off the job April 13, their reasons were not so different those that who struck AT&T in 1968, 1971 and 1983; Nynex, New England Telephone and Bell Atlantic (all now part of Verizon) in 1986, 1989 and 1998; and Verizon, since it was formed 16 years ago, in 2000, 2011 and today.

"The best thing that ever happened to us was signing up with the IBEW in 1971. Our wages doubled, and our pensions and health care got much better," said Dorchester, Mass., Business Manager Myles Calvey, who has worked for Verizon and its predecessor companies since 1968. "But it has been war ever since. Whenever we made a concession to get something else, the company would try to take it back next negotiation."

This time, Verizon called for substantial increases in retiree health insurance costs. It did the same in 2011. In 1989, Nynex wanted to get rid of health insurance completely.

In 2016, Verizon wants the "flexibility" to send hundreds, possibly thousands, of jobs overseas and contract out many others. An Associated Press story from 1989 includes this line: "A key dispute with New England Telephone was the company's use of outside contractors to perform certain jobs."

Verizon sent out a letter to IBEW and CWA members in March instructing them on how to cross a picket line.

And just like in the past, Verizon demanded the wage and benefit reductions after making billions in profits. In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon "isn't under any financial stress," earning $10.2 billion in profits in 2010 and a net income for the first half of 2011 approaching nearly $7 billion. read_more

  Local Lines

Officers Column Stephenson:Growing Our Brotherhood read_more
Chilia: A First Step on Energy Policy read_more

TransitionsFrank R. Vondra read_more

PoliticsFirst Energy Bill Since 2007 Clears Senate Hurdle;
Boosting the Trades Across the Aisles read_more

CircuitsSaving for Retirement? This New Rule Aims to Protect You from Your Advisor;
Member Honored for
Service to Scouting;
Jacksonville RENEW: Making a Difference
through Service read_more

Spotlight on SafetyDebilitating and Deadly.
Is This Material in Your Workplace?;
Georgia Moves to
Protect Utility Workers
on Roadways read_more

LettersWorkers' Rights,
Then and Now;
An Inspiring Read;
Cheers for Energy Action;
Helping Members
Breathe Easier read_more

In MemoriamMarch 2016 read_more

Who We AreTennessee Local Braves 'Snowzilla,' Earns Praise from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers read_more