Posts Tagged ‘strike’

According to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) public school teachers are paid less than their similarly educated peers. The worst states for teachers are those where the teachers have gone on strike recently. Following West Virginia’s lead, teachers in Kentucky and Oklahoma have walked out to protest dramatic cuts to investments in schools, students, and teachers, while teachers in Arizona are considering doing the same.

The new EPI report shows that striking teachers live in states with some of the largest gaps in pay between teachers and similarly educated workers in other professions. For example, while teachers nationally earn 77 cents per every dollar that other college graduates take home in weekly wages, in Arizona, teachers earn just 63 cents on the dollar. Oklahoma teachers take home 67 cents, and West Virginia teachers take home 75 cents on the dollar. And there is no state where teacher wages are equal to or better than those of other college graduates.

Meanwhile, teachers, parents and administrators and small business owners are lining up to voice their discontent because the Minneapolis School District, third largest in Minnesota, is facing a $33 million dollar shortfall, which will result in layoffs of as many as 400 teachers. Why is there a shortfall?

The city of Minneapolis provided $500 million to help fund the building of a private NFL stadium. Your taxpayer money is going to primarily help grow the profits of corporations, developers, millionaires and billionaires, and to hell with anybody who doesn’t have enough money to purchase representation in the political markets.

“The taxpayer-funded US Bank Stadium hosted its first Super Bowl last month, with billionaire real estate tycoon and Vikings owner Zygi Wilf expected to reap $200 million from the new stadium each year in personal profits. The city of Minneapolis budgeted a whopping $498 million of taxpayer money to aid in the construction of the stadium, as well as to the destruction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which the new stadium replaced.

Taxpayers also will be chipping in over $7 million a year for operations and management, and do not receive discounts of any kind for funding the new facility.

Supporters of the stadium say that it spikes tourism and spending, which in turn helps the city. Many economists, however, say this spending tends to replace other local entertainment options that otherwise would have been utilized, and that city benefits for a new sports stadium are negligible, perhaps even ultimately harmful.

For a report on the Minneapolis educational crisis, click here

Click here for the EPI report.

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NEW YORK — Over the course of a four-day visit to the Philippines this week, four representatives of Communications Workers of America who are on strike discovered that the extent to which Verizon is offshoring work is far beyond what has previously been reported and what the company publicly has claimed. Verizon is offshoring customer service calls to numerous call centers in the Philippines, where workers are paid just $1.78 an hour and forced to work overtime without compensation.

Terrified that the public might find out about what has happened to the good middle-class jobs the company has shipped overseas, Verizon sent private armed security forces after peaceful CWA representatives and called in a SWAT team armed with automatic weapons.

And despite Verizon’s protestation that the current US strike is not affecting service, it has forced call center workers in the Philippines to work overtime hours since 40,000 highly trained U.S. employees went on strike, including about 13,000 US call center workers. Call center workers said they were forced to commit to 1-2 hours of overtime 5 days a week, plus a full 8-hour 6th day of overtime. Verizon’s subcontractors do not pay workers additional overtime compensation for these hours.

“Verizon is terrified that the public might find out about what has happened to the good middle-class jobs the company has shipped to the Philippines. The truth is that Verizon is destroying middle-class American jobs so that it can pay workers $1.78 per hour and force them to work around the clock, rather than preserve good jobs in our communities. That’s what our strike is about. Instead of profiting off of poverty abroad, Verizon should come back to the table and negotiate a fair contract that protects middle-class jobs,” said Dennis Trainor, President of CWA District One.

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Is Verizon Communications stealing from its customers? And just what is Verizon anyway?

Verizon is a publicly traded limited liability corporation. As such, it is a business idea given legal structure through the creation of law in a representative democracy. The government that brought this idea to legal fruition was supposed to represent all of the people, not just the rich ones.

A publicly traded corporation is nothing more than an idea to allow investors to unionize without having to produce anything with their labor or their ingenuity, which if you look at some of the writings of original capitalist economic thinkers, like Adam Smith and John Locke, was and should be the cornerstone of all economic activity in the creation of wealth.

The problem is that publicly traded corporations allow for the organizing of money, rather than forcing that money to compete in smaller business units, as idealized by Smith and Locke. Organized money on the scale of what’s going on today is the primary problem with the economy and government, and both have been corrupted by the influence of organized money.

As such, organized labor is at a serious disadvantage in competition in the political markets with organized money because labor doesn’t have the financial muscle that rich investors possess to compete. Not only that, money is always much more potent in its organized form than is organized labor, especially in the political markets.

“Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob,” President Franklin Roosevelt said 80 years ago. At that time, “organized mob” meant “organized crime.” That’s what we’ve got today, effectively “organized mob” given legal cover as federal officials look the other way at corporate lawbreakers.

Verizon is organized money in that its investors don’t need to compete with one another.

That’s one of the reasons Verizon earned $4.31 billion dollars from its customers during the first quarter of 2016. It also earned $19 billion in profits for all of 2015. How can a corporation in a competitive environment earn so much money? Oh wait! Verizon operates pretty much as a monopoly, as well as being an organized mob.

In other words, Verizon’s products are seriously overpriced by any real market standards. The price of its products, like products throughout most of the economy and the political markets (yes politicians are products with price tags), is rigged against the 99 percent.

This suggests that the strike by 39,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers could be made a little stronger and perhaps more effective.

The strike continues into its third week, and efforts are undertaken to broaden picketing at Verizon Wireless stores across the country. Workers at seven Wireless stores in Brooklyn, New York, and Everett, Massachusetts, are on strike, along with wireline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia.

The Communication Workers are working with Jobs with Justice to get local unions and community groups across the country to “Adopt-a-Store”—meaning they would agree to picket and leaflet outside Verizon Wireless corporate stores at least twice a week for two to three hours.

But the strikers could begin targeting Verizon customers, and perhaps leaflet stores showing how customers are being overpriced, in addition to picketing stores. Why can’t a monopoly getting $19 billion in profits a year lower its prices? If Verizon were in a competitive industry it would lower its prices because it would be forced to.

If anything, Verizon management should be willing to bend to union demands, if only because the money is there, and the money is there because Verizon’s competition doesn’t really exist all that much. In other words, giving a little back to the community would be in the interests of Verizon, and the communities in which it operates, rather than give all that unearned income to rich investors via rising share prices and surging dividends, none of which is funneled back into the communities from which they are effectively stolen through a duel monopolistic fraud.

Otherwise, what’s the purpose of allowing this legal fiction to exist if it can’t give back to the community? Or if it doesn’t benefit the community in which it operates, but is always taking out income, thereby financially weakening the community? That doesn’t make any economic sense.

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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
* Dispatch
* 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.

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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.”

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Schools are closed in Seattle again today as the city’s first teacher strike in 30 years enters its sixth day. Last week, teachers, represented by the Seattle Education Association, unanimously voted to go on strike, demanding fewer standardized tests for students, more time to prepare for classes, and better pay. The impasse has delayed the start of the public school year for about 53,000 students. The strike comes after Washington’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the state’s new charter school system is unconstitutional.

Charter schools and high stakes testing have virtually nothing to do with education. They have everything to do with enhancing corporate profits. In other words, they’re an income redistribution scam, which redistributes income from taxpayers to the rich shareholders of the charter school/testing industries.


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Walmart Workers in Los Angeles Engaging in Sit Down Strike

Happening NOW: Dozens of police officers are arresting Walmart workers outside an LA store after they blocked the intersection. This is history in the making yet it’s not on ANY cable new channels.

Walmart workers are carrying on the legacy of Detroit Woolworth women who bravely staged sit-down strikes. Los Angeles Walmart workers earlier today (Nov 14, 2014) held the first big sit-down strike in a Walmart store.

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