[Marxism] Verizon contracts with Blackwater against union

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 18 11:42:35 MDT 2011

On 8/18/2011 1:24 PM, Les Schaffer wrote:
> On 8/18/11 11:13 AM, Louis Proyect wrote:
>> http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/17/1008089/-Meet-Verizons-Newest-Security-Force:-Blackwater
> link doesnt work ...
> Les

Meet Verizon's Newest Security Force: Blackwater

Wait.  What?  Blackwater?  That private, for-profit, trigger-happy 
army that killed 17 civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad in 2007? 

I have just confirmed with Communications Workers of America (CWA) 
Local 1104 that Blackwater is indeed being contracted by Verizon 
for security purposes.  At this moment, CWA Local 1104 was not 
able to say how many security contractors have been hired or where 
they will be working.  I'm sure more information will follow.

Blackwater, now called Xe, is considered to be the world's largest 
and most powerful mercenary army.  In 2004, they had 2,300 men 
actively deployed around the world and another 20,000 contractors 
ready to go.  They claim that they have trained tens of thousands 
of security personnel since 1998.

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, The Nation's 
Jeremy Scahill reported that, “I saw Blackwater mercenaries 
speeding up and down the streets in unmarked cars, heavily armed 
with M4 machine guns, flak jackets, other weapons strapped to 
their legs.”

The New York Times reports:

     The company and its executives and personnel have faced civil 
lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations 
surrounding accusations of murder and bribery. In April 2010, 
federal prosecutors announced weapons charges against five former 
senior Blackwater executives, including its former president, Erik 
D. Prince.
     Nearly four years after the federal government began a string 
of investigations and criminal prosecutions against company 
personnel, some of the cases have fallen apart, burdened by legal 
obstacles including the difficulties of obtaining evidence in war 
zones, of gaining proper jurisdiction for prosecutions in American 
civilian courts, and of overcoming immunity deals given to 
defendants by American officials on the scene.

     But in April 25, 2011, a federal appeals court reopened the 
criminal case against four former American military contractors 
accused of manslaughter in connection with the Nisour Square 
shooting in 2007.

At the onset of the strike, Verizon employed the services of the 
NJ State Police to escort trucks and non-union workers through 
picket lines.  Now, Verizon's hiring of a for-profit army during 
the strike proves two things. First that this is indeed a war on 
the middle class, and second, that Verizon will bear any expense 
to win this war.

Can you imagine a country where the billion dollar corporations 
have the world's largest and deadliest private, for-profit army at 
their disposal?  What would Blackwater guards actually do on a 
picket line?  I guess we will find out soon enough.

I already wrote about how the un-trained, non-union replacement 
workers are violating Verizon safety rules and costing the company 
thousands by making mistakes on the job, most notably by 
destroying a Verizon bucket truck.  In addition to that, Verizon 
spent $20,000 in postage to mail letters to striking union workers 
stating that they are terminating their health care on August 31. 
  A union delegate for the IBEW also said that Verizon is offering 
contractors in Florida $75 an hour, plus hotel rooms, to come up 
north to work as non-union replacements, but they refuse to keep 
the terms of the previous union contract.

Verizon said that the concessions they are seeking on the striking 
union workers from the IBEW and CWA will save their company $1 
billion a year.  So far, Verizon has refused to budge on these 
demands.  I wonder how much longer Verizon can refuse to sit down 
at the bargaining table before their union busting activities 
exceeds that $1 billion mark.  For a company sitting on $100 
billion in revenue with net profits of $6 billion last year, $1 
billion seems like chump change.

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.  If you 
like what you are reading, please check out my other articles 
HERE.  Have pictures, videos, or a story you would like to share, 
e-mail me at MrTSantone at yahoo.com.

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