fresh voices from the front lines of change







After months and months of contract negotiations went nowhere, 39,000 Verizon workers went on strike . The strike is about corporate greed.

The workers want job stability, acceptable working conditions, and respect as human beings. The company wants the "flexibility" to be able to change workers days and hours at will, do even more outsourcing, make workers do more to make up for their desire to employ fewer people, and generally treat human beings as commodities. And of course the company doesn't want to provide decent pay and benefits.

Verizon's Business

Verizon has a "wireline" business, which is both "landline" phone and wire Internet services. This brought the company $37.7 billion in revenue in 2015, but this is down 1.8 percent from 2014, so Verizon is not happy. This business is unionized, requiring workers to install, maintain and operate the lines.

Verizon says the union shouldn't be asking for pay, benefit and working condition improvements because the company only has 30% of the country's wireline business. The company wants to get rid of wireline entirely because it is unionized, and because long-term it is not a growing business compared to wireless and fiber.

Verizon is not expanding its FiOS fiber-to-home service, partly because this business also requires workers to install, maintain and operate the lines and partly because they see this as a low-growth yet competitive business.

Then there is the company's wireless business. Verizon sees this as their future because it is less unionized and because they see it as an opportunity to become a techy "entertainment provider" selling ads to mobile users instead of a communications company. This is the reason Verizon purchased AOL last year. Wireless growth has slowed and competition is causing pricing to fall so future growth can only come from grabbing customers away from other wireless providers like AT&T. (Verizon is considering buying Yahoo for similar reasons.)

Verizon Profits

Verizon is an enormously profitable corporation. At times the company makes as much as $1 billion a month in profits. But the company sees its employees as barriers to "flexibility," and wants commodities to be shifted around, replaced, available at any time and disposable as soon as something cheaper comes along.

To maintain "corporate flexibility" Verizon employs as few people as possible, telling customers they have to wait for service. The company wants to have a corporate right to uproot workers and make them change locations on short notice, for months at a time. That way they don't have to employ more people in different locations.

Even as it is trying to force its workers to be treated with little respect, Verizon's top five executives made over $233 million in the last five years. Just five people.

This is the same story we all hear about from giant company after giant company. But in this case Verizon still has a union that has some power to fight back and demand that human beings and citizens in a democracy be treated as such.

You Can Help

The union's fight is about a lot more than just their pay and work location and hours. This is really about the bigger fight between the corporate-dominated economy that puts workers (all of us except a few) last, entirely looking at what benefits the corporation. Work hours, pay, stability, benefits, all are sacrificed to further corporate "flexibility." So it you are not a wealthy executive or shareholder your life just gets harder and harder, and you have fewer and fewer rights and options.

Pitch in, and support Verizon's workers. Click here to sign CWA's petition to support striking workers.

If you want to support striking workers on the picket line you can find one near you here:

Social Media:

I support @Verizon workers on strike. When it comes to jobs, #BetterMatters

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.@Verizon wants to destroy good jobs & ship work overseas. Stand with striking workers: #StandUp2Vz #BetterMatters

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.@Verizon, #BetterMatters when it comes to jobs. I support workers fighting to protect their livelihoods. #StandUp2Vz

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Hey @Verizon, your workers make you $1.5B in profits every month. #BetterMatters when it comes to jobs. #StandUp2Vz

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