More than 300 members of Local 1109 of the CWA/IBEW rallied outside of a Verizon facility in Brooklyn today to send a strong message to Verizon. This is a fight for working families throughout the country against an anti- union company that has created over 13,000 non-union jobs at non-union facilities since 2003.

A major issue centers around FIOS, Fiber Optic Network —TV+Internet+Phone — which Verizon is offering customers and potential customers and would like to keep non-union.

Local 1109 is saying enough! Local 1109’s fight is for the future workers in the industry, not just to keep the jobs that they have, but to grow the workforce in the industry for the next generation.

At the heart of the fight is the issue of give backs. Verizon wants its workers to pay more for their health care, cut benefits to retirees on fixed incomes and increase payments to pay for it. The issue of a wage increase hasn’t even been addressed at this late stage of negotiations.

While Local 1109 fights for a fair contract, Verizon executives made $82 million last year and voted to give themselves free healthcare for the rest of their lives.

The issue of outsourcing is big on Verizon’s agenda. They are trying to cut pay and benefits by moving jobs to lower paid parts of the company, and as told to this reporter by a picketer “have been using the most sophisticated methods to keep the union out of the wireless arena.” “Conventional land line equipment still pays the bills but Verizon tries their best to obscure this.”

More than 6,000 members and retirees filled the street outside Verizon’s Manhattan headquarters with an ocean of red last Saturday, July 26, to send management a message of determination to win a fair contract protecting jobs, benefits and living standards.
As of this writing Verizon workers may strike by the weekend.

UPDATE… The strike date has been put on hold as of Sunday night August 3rd. A statement from the Unified Bargaining Committee said, Verizon is feeling the heat from the 65,000 members picketing and rallying the many Verizon sites around the state and country. “Although they (Verizon) have not come to an agreement on our major issues, we have made enough progress to agree continue discussion.