With Verizon refusing to budge from their hardline, Wisconsin-style contract proposal, 45,000 company employees went on strike on Sunday. As we detailed last week, despite huge profits Verizon is looking to squeeze its workers with drastic cuts to pay and benefits. As part of its plan to get its way, the company has cancelled the last three negotiating sessions.
Verizon employees, who are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), are standing together, demanding that Verizon act responsibly. Verizon is asking for $1 billion in worker concessions, an average of $20,000 in givebacks per family.
As workers point out, in 2011 Verizon has posted net profits of $6 billion. Over the last five years, the company has profited enough to pay its top five executives a total of $258 million. Now, after outsourcing 25,000 jobs, they are doing everything they can to strip away benefits for their American workers.
One of the more concise statements on the Verizon strike came from actor Rainn Wilson, best known for his role as Dwight on The Office. On Twitter, Wilson summed up what we’ve all been thinking about Verizon:
Verizon wants HUGE union concessions even though it made 6 billion in profit last year. Where’s the outrage about that?
When Wilson was challenged that he would behave the same as Verizon if he was in their shoes, he replied, “No I wouldn’t. I’d balance profits w/ well-being of my workers.”
It’s important that we continue to stand with Verizon’s workers. When good jobs are eliminated for the sake of corporate greed, the economy loses balance, and we all suffer.