Earlier this week, working people at Verizon went on strike. It’s never been good when working families are forced to take this step but Verizon workers felt they had no choice.
They’re fighting to create a better workplace for themselves and those that come after them. That’s why they work. It used to be called the American Dream. Now they’re stuck in the American Nightmare, so they aren’t going to give up until Verizon ends its push to send jobs overseas, stops intimidating Verizon Wireless workers who are trying to create a better future for themselves and their families and drops its demands to cut retirement benefits, gut job security and to make workers move away from their homes and families for months at a time just to keep their jobs.
Verizon’s stock is doing well, and that’s the primary criteria for determining how well every CEO is doing. Verizon’s CEO is doing very well at $18 million a year, which happens to be more than 200 times what the average Verizon worker earns. So stock price and CEO pay aren’t the problems forcing workers to go on strike. It’s plain greed, and nothing more.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement regarding the labor movements’ broad support for the striking workers:
“The AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers fighting for a fair contract. The 39,000 working people who went on strike this morning at Verizon deserve a fair contract that provides stability and acceptable working conditions.
Verizon made $39 billion in profits over the last three years, but is unwilling to provide job security, better benefits and safe working conditions to the people who made it possible for their top five executives to make over $233 million in the last five years.
No one wants a strike. But Verizon’s unwillingness to negotiate fair terms shows its disrespect for working people. Verizon wants to uproot workers, hurt communities and force retirees to pay extremely high health care costs. This strike is about doing what is right for everyday working people – not corporate interests. We call on Verizon to bargain in good faith and work with unions to create a fair and equal contract that stands up for working people rather than corporate greed.”