[Marxism] Juan Gonzalez's Daily News column on implications for labor of Verizon strike: 'This is no ordinary strike'

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Thu Aug 18 15:33:30 MDT 2011


    [Gonzalez
  <http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Juan%20Gonzalez%20-%20News>, one
  of the last objective journalists on any msm labor beat.... "This
  could be the private sector's battle of Wisconsin."


  See also
  http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/18/juan_gonzalez_verizon_workers_strike_most]


  Verizon workers, management dig in for decisive labor battle: 'This is
  no ordinary strike'

Juan Gonzalez - News 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Juan%20Gonzalez%20-%20News>

Wednesday, August 17th 2011, 4:00 AM

On the 10th day of the most important labor fight in America 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/United+States>, striking Verizon 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Verizon+Communications+Inc.> worker 
Alexandra Camacho <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Alexandra+Camacho> 
stood on a streetcorner in downtown Brooklyn 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Downtown+Brooklyn> and vowed to stay 
out as long as necessary.

"They want to strip from us everything we've won in the past," the 
slender Camacho said. "They even want to take away our Martin Luther 
King holiday 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Martin+Luther+King+Jr.+Day>. Well, 
that's not gonna happen."

Hundreds of Camacho's fellow workers from Verizon's Brooklyn 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brooklyn+%28New+York+City%29> call 
center walked the picket line behind her in red shirts. They chanted "No 
Contract, No Work" to the rhythmic beat of cowbells and drums.

Across the Eastern seaboard, 45,000 Verizon employees have hit the 
streets - at a time when labor strikes were supposed to be extinct.

Company officials say the unions must face reality.

"As consumers continue to cut the cord or choose competitors' wireline 
services, the company must make meaningful changes to its wireline cost 
structure," says one official Verizon response to the union.

But ask yourself: Why would so many workers risk their livelihood in the 
midst of a stubborn recession, with more than 9 million unemployed?

Because Verizon has left them no choice, the workers say.

This is a company, after all, that is swimming in cash.

In the first quarter of this year, Verizon tripled its profits compared 
with the previous year.

Since February, when it began its new deal with Apple 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Apple+Inc.> to market the iPhone 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Apple+iPhone>, the company has signed 
up an astounding 2.3 million new iPhone customers.

Yet despite Verizon's enormous success, the company has demanded 
unprecedented givebacks from the small portion of its 197,000 employees 
who are still unionized - about 45,000 who belong to the Communications 
Workers of America 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Communications+Workers+of+America> or 
the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/International+Brotherhood+of+Electrical+Workers>.

Those union members are in the company's legacy land-line phone division 
or its fast-growing FiOS 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Verizon+FiOS> video service.

For decades, becoming a telephone company worker was a path into the 
middle class, even if you didn't have a big college education.

But now, union leaders say, the company's demands include:

    A freeze in all pensions for existing workers and eliminating them
    completely for new workers
    An increase in health insurance premiums
    Elimination of all job security provisions and any restrictions on
    outsourcing
    Reducing paid sick days
    Eliminating four vacation days, including King Day and Veterans Day
    Eliminating supplemental disability benefits


Darrell Gladden, a customer service rep for 23 years in Brooklyn, is 
worried Verizon wants to ship many of those jobs serving FiOS customers 
to the Philippines and India.

"They should keep those jobs right here in America," Gladden said.

Verizon spokesman John Bonomo declined to talk about specific demands.

"What we're looking for is the kind of freedom our competitors have," 
Bonomo said. "If there is a call center that is handling calls with long 
wait times, we want to be able to switch the customer to a center 
someplace else."

With its huge profits, Verizon paid chairman Ivan Seidenberg $18 million 
last year. It paid $7.1million to Lowell McAdam, the former wireless 
division head who succeeded Seidenberg on Aug. 1 as CEO.

Twice before, in 1989 and 2000, Seidenberg fought nasty strikes with the 
company's unions and failed to break them.

Verizon kept making huge profits nonetheless.

The new guy, McAdam, thinks he will do what Seidenberg couldn't. He 
thinks he can outlast Camacho and all the other strikers.

"There's tremendous anger in the country about all this corporate 
greed," CWA spokesman Bob Master said. "This could be the private 
sector's battle of Wisconsin."

That's why this is no ordinary strike.jgonzalez at nydailynews.com

Read more: 
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/08/17/2011-08-17_verizon_workers_management_dig_in_for_decisive_labor_battle_this_is_no_ordinary_.html#ixzz1VPyr8x5j 


# A freeze in all pensions for existing workers and eliminating them 
completely for new workers

# An increase in health insurance premiums

# Elimination of all job security provisions and any restrictions on 
outsourcing

# Reducing paid sick days

# Eliminating four vacation days, including King Day and Veterans Day 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Veterans+Day>

# Eliminating supplemental disability benefits

Darrell Gladden, a customer service rep for 23 years in Brooklyn, is 
worried Verizon wants to ship many of those jobs serving FiOS customers 
to the Philippines <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Philippines> and 
India <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/India>.

"They should keep those jobs right here in America," Gladden said.

Verizon spokesman John Bonomo 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/John+Bonomo> declined to talk about 
specific demands.

"What we're looking for is the kind of freedom our competitors have," 
Bonomo said. "If there is a call center that is handling calls with long 
wait times, we want to be able to switch the customer to a center 
someplace else."

With its huge profits, Verizon paid chairman Ivan Seidenberg 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ivan+Seidenberg> $18 million last 
year. It paid $7.1million to Lowell McAdam 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Lowell+McAdam+%28Executive%29>, the 
former wireless division head who succeeded Seidenberg on Aug. 1 as CEO.

Twice before, in 1989 and 2000, Seidenberg fought nasty strikes with the 
company's unions and failed to break them.

Verizon kept making huge profits nonetheless.

The new guy, McAdam, thinks he will do what Seidenberg couldn't. He 
thinks he can outlast Camacho and all the other strikers.

"There's tremendous anger in the country about all this corporate 
greed," CWA spokesman Bob Master 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bob+Master> said. "This could be the 
private sector's battle of Wisconsin 
<http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Wisconsin>."

That's why this is no ordinary strike.jgonzalez at nydailynews.com 
<mailto:jgonzalez at nydailynews.com>


Read more: 
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/08/17/2011-08-17_verizon_workers_management_dig_in_for_decisive_labor_battle_this_is_no_ordinary_.html#ixzz1VPxJOqIZ



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