Verizon strike: It’s “high noon” for all workers

verizon protest

NEW YORK - 140 West Street turned red Thursday morning, red with Communications Workers of America T- shirts.

Wearing the shirts were Verizon workers, who have been on strike since Aug. 7. As they filled the street outside Verizon's West Street headquarters, horns honked in support, and picketers gave thumbs up and blew whistles!

Many of the women and men had their children with them, some experiencing the fight for justice for the first time.

The workers, who work in Verizon's land line operations, say they are fighting for a reasonable fair contract against a very profitable company who is trying to break the union, offering nothing but givebacks that would undo 50 years of progress. Union members have said, "Enough!"

In the crowd, 12-year Verizon worker Terry Cook had this to say about fighting for his job: "We're fighting for our rights, for our pensions, to keep our benefits, it's not about money at all, it's about keeping what we have."

"They (Verizon) are doing very well," Cook said. "We made this company what it is today. They need us and we are going to fight to the end for this."

As was reported in the New York Times, Verizon had $9 billion in profit in the first six months of this year in their wireless division and $606 million in their land line division. This $606 million figure is disputed as low by the CWA, which says the land line division's FIOS TV and Internet service is growing strongly.

One CWA worker said there's more at stake than just what happens to Verizon workers. "You let this go here it goes everywhere," he said.

Teachers and construction workers who are unemployed "should be here," he said. "If it doesn't stop here, this is it, this is high noon."

Verizon is a "prosperous company," he said. "They are about to wire up every building you see here with FIOS, they are going to use FIOS intranet that is more secure than the Internet for all these businesses. That is a service they haven't even rolled out yet! They are going start making billions more than ever. The FIOS network is going to have a bigger growth rate than the wireless."

"If they win here you can forget every other union, we have to stop it here, he said. "We need all the public support and all the other unions to support us."

City Council President Christine Quinn addressed the strikers, saying her father was a union worker and because of the union he has a secure pension and health care. "If you need us we're right down the street at 250 Broadway, City Hall," she said. "Stay strong, if you need us just call us."

Verizon has gone to court to file injunctions against the CWA for harassment; the decision details will be forthcoming. As for the company headquarters here at 140 West St., which has over 1,000 employees, 50 picketers are permitted to be at or close to the building while supporters must be 15 yards or 45 feet from each entry of the building.

"Replacement" workers and supervisors from other states have been brought in to the city and housed in hotels at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the union says.

Photo: CWA Local 1101/Dawn Sickles

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  • Keep the faith! Keep fighting! We are all with you!

    Posted by Mike Greer, 08/17/2011 5:04am (4 years ago)

  • I want to say I am very proud of you all first and foremost. It is a hard decision to go on strike, and I nearly had to do that myself with my brothers and sisters of IBEW 824. We felt we saved most things but had to give up a few things also that our union fought hard for years previous. The best advise I can give is keep your union strong and together. Show your support for those who are fighting very hard for your future. Let Verizon know you have American Unions support, they will have no choice but to to give you what is yours to keep. We are all praying for you and showing our full support in your fight. God Bless you all! Tammy Varnadore

    Posted by Tammy Varandore, 08/14/2011 1:34am (5 years ago)

  • Verizon paid no federal income taxes last year (good trick, can you teach the rest of us how to do it?)

    Verizon took a billion and a half dollars in bailout money from the Govt (which is really you and me,by the way)just a short time after THe CEO publicly said that Verizon didn't need any bailout money!

    Verizon makes a ton of money and before you give me the company talking point of "but the POTS side of the business loses money" -- I'm a COT and I work on FIOS, DSL on copper, and wireless traffic circuits from T1 to OC192 level every day!

    The top few execs were paid over 60 Million $$ last year. I don't see them volunteering for any kind of cuts for themselves.

    The company has already gotten rid of a ton of workers over the past few years. First the craft hired after 2003 was laid off and then alot of people took that retirement package last year. Some workers jobs have even been sent to India ! This is leaving the public with the bare minimum of service. I wish the union would go public with just how bad it is and embarrass the company.You would not believe the geographic area I am expected to cover. I would need the Star Trek transporter to do an effective job.Now the company is going to jump on the current anti union sentiment and try to take back everything the union ever negotiated for. Pension/healthcare/overtime/holidays etc... A list too long to type.

    I say tell the public the truth and they will be on our side.

    Posted by , 08/12/2011 6:34pm (5 years ago)

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