This strike affects about 45,000 union workers, from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., including about 10,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Today, I sat down with members of the IBEW Local 827 in front of the Verizon Work Center on Route 206 in Vincentown, NJ. Union spokesperson, Henry Allard, said everyone would be willing to return to work immediately if only Verizon would agree to negotiate in good faith. Verizon, however refuses to move on their list of demands while the union only wants to keep the current contract and get back to work.
TheCWA said in a statement, “Even at the 11th hour, with contracts set to expire, Verizon continues to seek to strip away 50 years of contract gains. Following the game plan of Wisconsin, Verizon is trying to destroy the collective bargaining process by refusing to engage seriously on the issues.”
Verizon seems to be doing pretty well lately, sitting on $100 billion in revenue. Verizon also showed net profits of $6 billion last year. Verizon’s Chairman Ivan Seidenberg is paid 300 times what an average worker earns, and was the 13th highest paid CEO in America in 2010. He is also ranked 10th in executive pay for 2011 according to Forbes Magazine as he is set to receive $36.75 million dollars this year in total compensation that doesn’t include the rise in his stock, which has an estimated value of $76.5 million. Everyday Mr. Seidenberg rolls out of bed in 2011, he will make more than $100,000, while he continues to do everything he can to strip the hard-working union members of their health care, pension, and sick days. The CWA reports that the top five company executives were paid more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the past four years.
From Verizon’s own web page, they boast about their profits and increased revenue this past year.
• 6.3% growth in cash flow from operations
• 16.4% increase in free cash flow
• 4.8 million new wireless customers
• 25.6% growth in wireless data revenue
• 796,000 new FiOS Internet connections
• 722,000 new FiOS TV connections
• 31.9% growth in FiOS revenue
• 23.1% total shareholder return
• 2.6% annual dividend increase
UPDATE: The IBEW reports that “a meeting is scheduled today in Rye, NY with representatives of Verizon and both the CWA and IBEW Unions.” If something develops out of that meeting, I’ll try to report it as soon as I can.
The IBEW also just released this statement:
Yesterday, 8-7-11 two members of Local 827 were injured by Verizon vehicles driven by management. A member out of the Raritan Unit had her foot run over and in the Central Unit a management person drove out of the Howell Work Center striking a member with the side mirror in the head. The member was rushed to Jersey Shore Medical Center with a concussion. The police would not charge him with hitting our member but we will be taking the member to the Police Station to file charges.
Are you affected by this strike in anyway? Are you walking the picket lines or trying to get Verizon to fix your telephone? Please share your stories in the comments section below.