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July 2011, Week 1

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Fri, 1 Jul 2011 22:12:10 -0400
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Verizon Negotiations and Strike Preparations

1)	Preparations for Verizon strike vote are underway

2)	CWA Bargaining Information on Verizon Negotiations


1)	Preparations for Verizon strike vote are underway

July 1, 2011 by William Rogers

Left Labor Press

http://leftlaborreporter.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/preparations-for-verizon-strike-vote-are-underway/

As the first week of bargaining between unions
representing Verizon Communications' East Coast workers
from Virginia to New England and the company ended, the
Communication Workers of America, which represents about
65,000 Verizon workers on the East Coast, told its
members that preparations for a strike vote are underway
and that all locals will have an opportunity to vote on
whether to authorize a strike.  The current contract
expires at Midnight, August 6.

In a newsletter to members, the CWA bargaining team said
that "in all of our experience we have never seen such
an aggressive agenda as the package of proposals the
company brought to the table. Verizon has made it clear
they want to take away every protection we have as union
workers."

The list of proposed take aways is extensive. Some of
the key company demands include eliminating annual wage
increases and basing progression raises on performance
evaluations, freezing pension accruals beginning
December 2014 and moving everyone into a 401(k)-type
retirement plan, replacing the current comprehensive
health care plan with a high-deductible plan, reducing
the number of sick days and paid holidays, eliminating
job security provisions in the contract, and expanding
the practice of contracting out work.

Verizon appears to be pursuing an even more extreme
overreaching strategy than the one GE used in its
recently concluded contract negotiations with UE and
IUE-CWA.

"There's no way to sugar coat the reality that's facing
us," said Ed Mooney vice-president of CWA District 13,
which represents Verizon workers in Pennsylvania and
Delaware. "Verizon is looking to strip the level of
benefits and job security that the union has fought
years to earn."

"Verizon is pursuing a long-term strategy that's trying
to eliminate unions," said Ron Collins, vice-president
of CWA District 2, which represents Verizon workers in
Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

Verizon, whose unionized workers comprise 30 percent of
the company's workforce, has undertaken  an aggressive,
anti-union bargaining strategy despite the fact that it
has done well under the current union contract. Its
revenue for 2010 was $106.6 billion ranking it 16th on
Fortune's 500 list and it paid $5.4 billion in dividends
to investors in 2010.

Addressing a rally of CWA members, Chris Shelton,
vice-president for District 1, which represent Verizon
workers in New Jersey, New York, and New England, said
that despite Verizon's success, Verizon is saying that
it can't afford its present union contract and will try
to justify its concession demands by claiming "that all
across the country workers are suffering, so Verizon
workers have to suffer too."

Shelton went on to say that Verizon's executives aren't
suffering: Verizon's chair and chief executive officer
Ivan Seidberg received $18 million in compensation in
2010 and Verizon's president and chief operating officer
Lowell McAdams received $7 million.

CWA which has been joined by the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in bargaining with
Verizon is telling its members that the key to fighting
off these take away demands and making progress is for
members to stay engaged, join in the mobilizations that
the unions are calling, and to stay united.

"There's lots of different ways that we'll be fighting
with Verizon to protect and advance our rights," Shelton
said. "We'll fight them politically, we'll put pressure
on them at the bargaining table, and, most important,
we'll put pressure on them at the workplace."

An example of the workplace pressure that Shelton was
talking about was the practice picket line that went up
at Verizon shops throughout the East Coast on June 22
when bargaining began. Thousands of union members set up
picket lines before work and during their lunch breaks
to demonstrate their solidarity.

So many workers took part in CWA Local 1104's practice
picket line in Long Island, New York that it spilled out
into the street and backed up traffic.

In other actions, members throughout the East Coast
passed out flyers criticizing Verizon for not paying any
federal income taxes in 2010, put up "No Contracting"
signs in parking lots in reference to Verizon's plan to
outsource work, and put "We Are United" sun shades on
their cars window visors.

The next big action is a rally planned for July 30 in
New York City. "We need to continue to stand strong and
get our message out that we are more committed than
we've ever been to fight to protect our wages, benefits
and working conditions," said a District 1 CWA
bargaining report to members. "Now more than ever we
need to mobilize! mobilize!  mobilize!  mobilize!



Thousands Participate in "It's All About Good Jobs"
Workshops

Jun 30, 2011

Over the last several months, more than  3,000 CWA
active and retired members  have taken part in
mobilization workshops.  The all-day workshop analyzes
Verizon's anti-union strategy, the bargaining climate,
and building an effective campaign to fight back.

Local 13000 is extending the reach of the workshops by
presenting a scaleddown version at membership meetings
and using flyers that show gains CWA has won over years
of union struggle.


2)	CWA Bargaining Information on Verizon Negotiations

http://www.cwa-union.org/issues/entry/c/verizon

Jun 30, 2011

Mobilization is our Power

As the CWA and IBEW bargaining teams held their first
negotiations on June 22nd, practice picket lines went up
across Verizon East. Thousands of members walked before
work and at lunchtime to let management know that we are
ready and we are one!

See more photos in the Verizon photo galleries.

Share your photos and online albums here.

There were so many people on Local 1104's practice
picket line that they spilled out into the street.
Morning traffic on Route 146 slowed to a crawl. At the
Bethpage garage on Long island, over 100 Local 1104
members formed such a large line that they created a
traffic jam on nearby route 107. The Local says their
members everywhere are pumped up!

Hundreds of members from Local 1400 and IBEW Locals
2222, 2322, 2323, and 2324 rallied in Providence, RI, to
show their solidarity.

Local 13100 is keeping things colorful, adding red food
days and Black Fridays to their usual Red Thursdays.

In Brooklyn, retirees have been giving out coffee at
garages every Thursday.

Members of Local 2204 at the CSSC are putting
mobilization signs in their car windows every day. The
local is passing out sunshades printed with "We Are
United."

Local 13101 members are also sending a message in the
parking lot by putting "No Contracting" signs in the
windshields of their trucks.

Red balloons floated overhead at the dispatch center
represented by Local 1123.

Local 2108 handbilled Metro stations to ask, "You Paid
Your Federal Income Taxes. Why Didn't Verizon?"

Local 1111 took flyers to a Binghampton Mets game. Local
2201 visited the minor league team in their area,
handing out 500 flyers to fans at a Flying Squirrels
game.

As part of the anti-contracting mobilization, Local 1115
handbilled company buildings where the mechanics and
computer techs are contractors.

Verizon's next CEO, Lowell McAdam, got an up-close look
at the practice picket line at the Nanuet garage in
Rockland County, NY. McAdam and Chief Operating Officer
Bob Mudge came out to the picket line and spoke to Local
1107 members. So we know they heard us and saw us this
time. Let's make sure they hear us loud and clear all
the time!

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