Monday, August 22, 2011

Support the 45,000 Verizon Strikers!

This is a guest post by Daisy Deadhead.  You can find more of her writing at her blog, Daisy's Dead Air.  

At left: Local powerhouse activist and good friend SHEILA JACKSON! GO SHEILA!

Yesterday, 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike, and I joined a picket line sponsored by the Communication Workers of America in Spartanburg. (Photos here.)

Customer service work, which I know a few things about, can be very grueling and intense. People deserve to be PAID DECENTLY for (see link) "introduc[ing] principles of mechanization and industrial engineering into a much wider array of service transactions than was hitherto possible"... i.e. the basic organization of the factory assembly line, brought into mass telecommunciations.

If people work on an assembly line, they deserve to be paid as well as my father, UAW member who also worked on an assembly line. Customer service work is simply the high-tech, mass-telephone-version of the assembly line.

What you should know:

>> Workers in 8 states and the District of Columbia are on strike, represented by the Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

>> Verizon's annualized revenues in 2011 are $108 billion, with net profits of $6 billion. The concessions demanded from workers equal about $1 billion, working out to an approximate $20,000 per family, per year. Many of these concessions concern health benefits and pensions, benefits promised to workers.

>> Verizon paid no taxes last year and in fact received a $1.3 billion-dollar TAX REBATE!

>> The top five Verizon executives earned $258 million over the past four years.

>> CWA statement: "For the American economy to recover, we need to work together to solve problems. But if profitable companies like Verizon keep sending jobs overseas and cutting compensation for ordinary, middle-class workers, while paying executives big bucks, we can't begin to build an economy that works. CWA and IBEW members are prepared to return to work when management demonstrates the willingness to begin bargaining seriously for a fair agreement. If not, workers will stand together and continue the fight."

>> Verizon has scabs of course; the economy insures that. From company-droid statement: “In anticipation of this development, Verizon has activated a contingency plan to ensure customers experience limited disruption in service during this time.”

But I'd like to ask Verizon customers to disrupt their OWN service, if possible.

Can you hear us now? :)

[Update: the strikers took their protest to the outside of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam's suburban New Jersey mansion, where they held a candlelight vigil.  The strike ended soon after.]