A chance encounter with two CWA Local 1104 members who displayed a banner outside a Verizon Wireless store reminded me that Verizon has not signed a new contract with its CWA and IBEW employees. The union members have worked since August under their old contract.
The men I met on the street told me that the company’s top executives were making multi-millions while seeking the right to extensively cut jobs, benefits and wages. Negotiations are not progressing because Verizon is stalling.
The banner that the pair held stated Verizon was destroying middle class jobs. It’s something to keep in mind if you’re in the market for phone service.
I asked if I could make a brief video interview of the two men. They said they’d prefer not for fear of retaliation. That reaction says a lot about Verizon’s labor relations, too.
We have lived in a climate of fear for too long. People fear losing their homes, their jobs, their benefits, their Social Security and their Medicare.
They fear that the power elites are advancing a selfish, greedy agenda that will further exaggerate the inequality that increasingly identifies our society.
One of the bulwarks of security was sound labor relations based on the mutually perceived advantages of collective bargaining. But collective bargaining and union rights are under strong attack. Corporate strategists, their political allies and a media dominated by corporate interests press the attack.
Some politicians on the right would take us back to the labor relations of the robber barons, the 12-hour days, child labor and the fear of being blacklisted. Instilling fear in the working public is part of their campaign, as is their attempt to divide organized from unorganized, public from private sector, young workers from old.
An informational counter-campaign that is equal to the anti-union, anti-worker attack is key to regaining the ground that we have lost.