At least 36,000 Verizon workers have been on strike since Wednesday of last week after failing to reach a new labor agreement. This strike is about lowering labor costs via exporting jobs and using low wage contractors in order to redistribute income from Verizon’s employees to rich shareholders via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and soaring share prices.
Here’s how the system is rigged by federal legislators.
Verizon earned, or overcharged their customers depending on your point of view, $39 billion over the last three years, and now management wants employees to make concessions in pay and benefits, as well as other things. Workers at Verizon have said enough is enough! Verizon made $19.3 billion in US pretax profits from 2008 to 2012, yet didn’t pay any federal income taxes during the period. Instead, it got $535 million in tax rebates. Verizon’s effective federal income tax rate was negative 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012. Now the company wants to reduce employee compensation despite billions in profits.
As Verizon employee James Brugund said, “American companies want American profits, but they don’t want to pay American wages, and that should be stopped.”
Among the union’s complaints: the offshoring of thousands of jobs to workers abroad, and shifting work to low-wage, non-union contractors. But one of their chief complaints is about being forced to work in locations far from home for months at a time.
“Verizon lineman Ting Chin, who already commutes more than 80 miles from Poughkeepsie, NY, to Manhattan, said that several of his colleagues were sent to Buffalo, New York — almost 400 miles away — for a long-term job, a fate that he says he narrowly avoided.”
In addition, Verizon wants to shift 50 percent of its work to low wage contractors, via a new labor union contract. Other jobs that are no longer done by Verizon employees but are instead handed to lower-wage contractors from outside or inside the U.S. include:
* VZ Business Monitoring
* eService email, chat and offline
* Digging work for copper plant and FiOS
* In-home installation and networking
* Door-to-door sales of FiOS
* Materials distribution work/delivery
* Smart Home technology installation/customer
* service and other specialized home services
The company is also negotiating to export more jobs overseas. The company has been in the process of exporting these jobs, mostly, it seems, to Manila, Philippines. Thousands of jobs have been exported in recent months.