Aug 22, 2011
By Stephanie West
August 11, 2011 New York – The Jewish Labor Committee called on the head of Verizon Communications to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith with its workers. 45,000 Verizon workers, from Massachusetts to Virginia went on strike on Sunday, August 7 when management refused to compromise on its unprecedented demands for wage and benefit concessions.
In a letter to Verizon Communications President and CEO Lowell C. McAdams, JLC President Stuart Appelbaum said that Verizon “should not be demanding such harsh concessions from your employees.” “Competitive pressure” cannot be cited as a rationale to push for $1 billion in wage and benefit give-backs from your workforce after your company was able to pay its top five executives more than $250 million in the past four years,” Appelbaum said in the letter. “It’s a clear double standard.”
He continued: “Verizon’s success is due in great measure to the talent and devotion of your workforce, not just your top five executives. When a company is doing so well financially, employees should be rewarded, not punished and told to make sacrifices that are plainly unnecessary and grossly unfair.
“What Verizon is demanding—wage cuts, reduced sick days and holidays, the elimination of pensions, much higher health care costs, among other things—will destroy the middle class job standards that have strengthened your company and the lives of thousands of working families.”
Verizon has posted more than $19 billion in profits in the past four years and has earned $6.9 billion in the first six months of this year. Verizon has also indicated that it plans to send more jobs offshore to Mexico, the Philippines and other countries, placing the security of American jobs in jeopardy.
Jewish Labor Committee members have already joined picket line in front of Verizon stores in support of the two unions that represent Verizon workers – the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). They will stay there as long as is takes to help send a clear message of solidarity and strength to the company.
The JLC letter reminds the CEO of Verizon that “greater profits and greater security for workers go together.”
“By investing in your employees, you improve their productivity and their performance.”
Appelbaum concludes by urging the company “to return to the bargaining table immediately and negotiate a fair settlement.
“Listening to the concerns of your workers will help ensure the future success of your company.”