45,000 CWA and IBEW members struck Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless at midnight on August 6th. These workers maintain, install, repair and provide customer service for Verizon’s network from Massachusetts to Virginia. This includes building and installing the company’s state-of-the-art fiber optic network, FiOS, which delivers high- speed internet and cable TV directly to consumers’ homes, as well as the network that underlies wireless service. Also on strike were 70 highly skilled technicians who maintain the Verizon Wireless cell site network in the metropolitan New York region, making Verizon Wireless a primary target of the strike. The technicians joined CWA in 1989, when the company was known as NYNEX Mobile.
We ended our 2-week strike and returned to work when Verizon agreed to respect a meaningful collective bargaining process. However, Verizon is still seeking extraordinary concessions from its workers.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Despite enormous profitability (see below), Verizon has dug in on a sweeping set of takeback demands that would kill the American Dream for 45,000 middle-class workers at Verizon. The total value of Verizon’s demands is $1 billion—an average of $20,000 per striking worker. Contract bargaining began on June 22nd, and Verizon put its demands on the table on July 1st. In the subsequent five weeks, management refused to compromise on any of these unprecedented attacks. Their demands include:
· Freezing pensions for active employees and eliminating them for new workers;
· Slashing disability benefits for workers injured on the job;
· Eliminating all job security language and continued outsourcing of our work to non- union contractors, including overseas to India, the Philippines, and Mexico;
· Slashing paid holidays from 11 to 7, including eliminating Martin Luther King’s
Birthday and Veterans Day;
· Eliminating paid sick days for workers with less than two years of service and a limit of no more than 5 days for all other workers, depending on seniority;
· Imposing health care payments of up to $6,700 on retired workers—roughly 33% of the average retiree’s $20,000 annual pension;
· Imposing health care payments of up to $6,800 on active employees;
· Making all pay increases contingent on merit pay, with no guaranteed raises;
· More than 100 company demands for takebacks in total were on the table when the contract expired because management refused to engage in serious collective bargaining. CWA has filed bad-faith bargaining charges at the National Labor Relations Board.
VERIZON IS HUGELY PROFITABLE, ITS EXECUTIVE PAY IS EXORBITANT AND IT
CAN AFFORD TO TREAT WORKERS FAIRLY
· Verizon earned $22.4 billion in profits in the last 4 ½ years.
· Verizon is on track to earn $6.1 billion in 2011.
· Verizon Wireless recently declared a $10 billion dividend ($4.5 billion of which went out of the country to Vodaphone).
· Board Chairman and outgoing CEO Ivan Seidenberg—who happens to be the chairman of the Business Roundtable—was paid $18 million last year—300 times the earnings of an average Verizon worker.
· Seidenberg’s total compensation for the last four years was over $81 million—which works out to $55,000 per day, 365 days a year.
· Incoming CEO Lowell McAdam made $7.2 million last year.
· In total, the top five executives of Verizon were paid $258 million in compensation over the last four years.
· If they so choose, none of the children of any of these executives will ever have to work a day in their lifetimes.
ON TOP OF ALL THIS, VERIZON IS RIPPING OFF AMERICAN TAXPAYERS
· Over the past three years, Verizon received $1.9 billion in tax refunds and subsidies despite $13.8 billion in profits
o Verizon got a $1 billion federal income tax refund over the past three years.
o Verizon used a tax loophole to avoid paying $900 million in taxes on the
profits it earned from selling its landline operations in 17 states.
A PROFITABLE COMPANY LIKE VERIZON SHOULD BE CREATING GOOD, MIDDLE-CLASS JOBS IN AMERICA, NOT DESTROYING THEM
· Verizon has eliminated 68,700 wireline jobs in the last 4 years, even though…
· Verizon worker productivity has increased by 38% or $150,000 per worker.
· Verizon sent thousands of jobs overseas, doing work identical to that done by unionized workers in Syracuse; Providence; Hampton, VA; and Freehold, NJ.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: 45,000 Verizon Workers have Declared that the
Attack on the Middle Class by Greedy Corporations Stops Here, Stops Now
There are many ways to support Verizon workers. For more info: UnityatVerizon.com