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Support CWA, IBEW strikers at Verizon

UPDATE: Pickets are planned in Washington state at Verizon stores. Check out The Stand’s Calendar for more information. Come show your support!

Some 45,000 Verizon workers are on strike throughout the Northeast, and picket lines are strong and growing across the nation as union workers stand in solidarity with Verizon workers fighting to maintain middle-class jobs at one of the nation’s most profitable companies.

The members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have played by the rules, but Verizon wants to break them. The corporation earned $32.5 billion in revenue over the past three years, yet is demanding pay and benefit cuts that total $1 billion. The company’s demands would roll back 50 years of bargaining gains and would push Verizon families out of the middle class by slashing jobs and benefits. After cancelling several bargaining sessions, Verizon returned to the table last week, but the company is reportedly still demanding $1 billion in concessions, which amounts to $20,000 per Verizon worker per year. Those demands have been on the table since bargaining began on June 22.

Workers recognize this is a strike with national significance. As Bob Master, CWA District 1 legislative and political director, explained:

This is an enormously profitable company, which we  believe is trying to take advantage of an anti-union environment and, in a sense, to replicate at a giant private-sector corporation what the governors of Ohio, New Jersey and Wisconsin have been trying to do to the public sector. Our members feel very strongly that we need to draw a line here.

Here are some actions you can take to support the strikers:

  • “Adopt a Store” in your neighborhood here to leaflet and educate the community about this strike.
  • Download leaflets here.
  • “Like” the strikers on Facebook here and change your Facebook and/or Twitter profile picture in solidarity here.
  • Click here to demand that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam value employees’ work and share his corporation’s success with those who make it possible.
  • Click here to sign and Tweet an petition demanding Verizon drop its outrageous concessionary demands.
  • To Tweet about the strike, use the hashtag #verizonstrike and feel free to direct to @VZLaborfacts.

IBEW President Edwin Hill says:

What we are seeing as this strike unfolds is the fruit of 30 years of unremitting class warfare waged by corporate America and their political allies against the workers of our country.  As our economy continues to slog through the mire of the Wall Street-created crisis of 2008, it is a bitter truth that men and women increasingly desperate for employment will grasp at any opportunity. It is also an unshakable truth that solidarity is our foremost – indeed our only – weapon to fight back against those who would condemn us to a life of subservience.

I call on all IBEW members to live up to this principle in these difficult times, obey the law and stand strong in the common struggle that unites us all.  Verizon has made a full assault on our wages, benefits and working conditions, and, having unleashed the forces of anger and bitterness, are whining like children at the mess they have created.  The fallout of this conflict is also affecting many others in communities across the Northeastern United States.

AFL-CIO Now contributed to this report.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!