99 Pickets

NYC Worker Solidarity

Update on CWA/IBEW Fight for Justice at Verizon

8/12/2012

CWA & IBEW are still fighting for a fair contract with Verizon. Below is an update from CWA.

We wanted to update you on the status of our contract battle at Verizon, and let you know about upcoming activities.  And, most of all, we want to thank you for everything that you’ve done in support of the Verizon workers already.

[T]he federal mediator once again extended the deadline for completing contract discussions between Verizon, CWA and IBEW, this time until the close of business on Wednesday, August 15th. … The fact that management has decided to continue in mediation is positive.  We have little doubt that all the religious, political and community pressure that you’ve helped organize is a major factor impelling Verizon not to walk away from these talks.

However, huge obstacles remain on the path to reaching a satisfactory contract settlement by next Wednesday.  We are by no means confident that we can get there.

First, Verizon continues to insist on unacceptable givebacks in the areas of health care, pensions, job security, and contracting out/off shoring.  Second, 41 workers were fired on the flimsiest of excuses during the August 2011 strike.  The NLRB has issued complaints in the cases of 37 of them, saying that they were illegally retaliated against for exercising their right to strike. We cannot settle the contract without addressing the status of all of the fired workers.

We will win this fight only if we have the support of all of our friends and allies in the 99%, and we continue to show Verizon that we will not back down from the fight for fairness and justice.

Here’s what’s going on and how you can help:

– Wednesday morning will be “Retiree Action Day.”  This is an exciting action where allies can be of tremendous help.  Please call us for specifics of where and when.
– Wednesday will also once again be “Wireless Wednesday.”  We ask that all of you once again help us to cover the Verizon Wireless stores.  Last week, our allies leafleted about 20 key locations, mostly in Manhattan.  This is enormously helpful.
– Thursday will be a day of “Mass Picketing” either before work or at lunchtime.  Stay tuned for late updates on specifics, given the Wednesday evening mediation deadline.
– Please continue to bombard the FCC with calls and complaints about the pending Verizon/Big Cable monopoly merger-by-another-name.  A number of you have already sent out emails urging your members to continue contacting the FCC; for those who haven’t, a sample email is attached.  So far 5,200 comments on the deal have been filed on the FCC comment page.  (And the FCC has told our DC folks that 5,200 is fewer than were filed in the ATT-T Mobile case, so they are definitely counting).  The most important action is leaving a comment on the FCC page.

Just a few other notable developments:

Last week, 84 Faith Leaders sent a letter supporting the Verizon workers to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, and asking for a meeting.  They were told that Verizon preferred to do its business at the bargaining table. More Faith activities are planned.

With your help, 54 members of the NYS Assembly signed on to a strong letter of support to CEO McAdam that was sent yesterday.  22 Democratic members of the State Senate wrote a letter, and with the support of Council Speaker Quinn, 39 members of the NYC Council sent a letter to McAdam earlier in the week.

Last Wednesday night, CWA organized a massive teleconference town hall for residents of Buffalo and Syracuse to inform them about the impact of the pending Verizon/Big Cable deal.  Mayor Byron Brown joined the call.  A total of 12,700 residents joined for some part of the call, and over 500 stayed on for the entire 40 minute call.  Interest was intense.  We are hoping for similar calls in the Capitol District and on Long Island.

So the fight is continuing.

Your help and support are critical and we thank you for all of your solidarity.

CWA and IBEW members will not give up until justice for the fired workers and a fair contract are won.