Verizon working families strike for better workplace

Working people at Verizon are on strike. After months of negotiations with the telecommunications giant, they’ve decided to take a stand to create a better workplace. They want to make sure the needs of working families are met, instead of standing by as a handful of individuals get richer and richer. They’re fighting to stop the company from sending jobs overseas and to get Verizon to end its continued intimidation of working people at Verizon Wireless who are trying to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Christopher Shelton said, “We’ve been bargaining with Verizon now for almost a year. We have tried everything to get a path to a contract. A strike is a last resort, but Verizon has forced us there. Nobody wants to go on strike. It’s a hardship for our members and their families. It’s a hardship for customers who face delay in scheduling repairs and getting service. It’s tough on communities. But Verizon has shown it has no regard for workers and our families, for customers, for communities. None.”

Electrical Workers (IBEW) President Lonnie Stephenson said, “No one wants to go on strike, but Verizon-this immensely profitable company-is putting the squeeze on hardworking men and women who just want to come to work, do their jobs and be treated fairly.”

CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor said, “We’re standing up for working families and standing up to Verizon’s corporate greed. If a hugely profitable corporation like Verizon can destroy the good family-supporting jobs of highly skilled workers, then no worker in America will be safe from this corporate race to the bottom.”

Ed Mooney, vice president of CWA District 2-13, added, “More and more, Americans are outraged by what some of the nation’s wealthiest corporations have done to working people over the last 30 years, and Verizon is becoming the poster child for everything that people in this country are angry about. This very profitable company wants to push people down. And it wants to push communities down by not fully repairing the network and by not building out Fios.”

In a statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka added, “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.

This article was reposted from the AFL-CIO Now blog, as was the photo.


Kenneth Quinnell
Kenneth Quinnell

Kenneth Quinnell is Senior Writer at AFL-CIO