I would have been there in support, but I was attending a rally for New York's 13th Congressional district seat candidate Michael McMahon, who is running for the spot vacated by Vito Fossella. McMahon is a staunch labor supporter, from a NYS AFL-CIO press release (7/1/08):
Upon receiving the New York State AFL-CIO's endorsement, Michael McMahon stated, "I am honored to have the support of the AFL-CIO. As Councilman, I worked every day to improve the lives of the working men and women in my district. As Congressman, I will continue to fight for working families by creating good paying jobs, lowering taxes on the middle class and ensuring that Brooklyn and Staten Island receive our fair share of education, healthcare and transportation funding."Saturdays Verizon rally in NYC
A Sea of CWA red
From The New York Times article "Unions Rally, Vowing Strike at Verizon" by By Javier C. Hernandez (7/27/08):
The unions representing 65,000 Verizon workers on Saturday resounded a pledge to strike if demands for higher wages, caps on health care payments and limits on outsourcing jobs are not honored.Joe's Union Review staunchly supports the workers stance against outsourcing, on many occasions Verizon has had low standards on who they use as subcontractors. The Times continues
With one week to go before a contract expires, several thousand telephone workers affiliated with the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers gathered at Verizon headquarters in Lower Manhattan.Verizon's use of undocumented workers via subcontractors seems to be wide spread
They chastised Verizon executives for proposing sharp increases in health care payments and reductions in coverage for retirees. Some held signs reading “Hands Off Our Benefits,” vowing to take to the picket line on Aug. 3 if the two sides did not reach a settlement.
Joe Connolly, president of Local 1101 of the C.W.A., said that the union was pushing for a 5 percent annual wage increase, larger pensions and expanded medical benefits. “Right now, employees have to make a choice: Are they going to eat or get benefits?” Mr. Connolly said.
In light of the slow pace of negotiations, a strike was likely, he said. “There’s been nothing resolved on any level at this point.”
A major point of contention between the unions and Verizon is the outsourcing and subcontracting of jobs. Union members have said that work like telephone technical support and laying new wires should go to union laborers. But Verizon has said that awarding some jobs to outside firms gives the company the flexibility to create, for instance, a new call center on the spot, or to quickly find laborers for a one-time construction job.
Flexibility, sure, just pick them up from the corners of 65th. Street in Brooklyn.
Verizon is a scum corporation that puts profits over people every single step of the way. In February I wrote of one such Verizon subcontractor who was breaking every labor law on the books and found themselves fined and a possible jail term in the article "Claiming ignorance, Verizon tolerated illegal alien work force through a subcontractor"
"One worker told agents B&B paid him $100 per day for a 12-hour shift minus $60 a week for housing and utilities, according to records. Some said they were put up in a house off Oceana Boulevard in Virginia Beach."Just last month a group of undocumented day laborers was protesting against Verizon in the same exact location over unpaid wages from a Verizon subcontractor. ABC news picked up the story on June 24th. in the article entitled "Day Laborers Rally Against Verizon for Unpaid Work"
"We're here today to demand that Verizon pay us," said Nerbin Rodriguez.Oh yeah, did I mention that I'm in Brooklyn and according to a former shop steward friend of mine at Verizon, in NYC, the company hasn't hired a single street mechanic for the last 6 years, guess they want to take advantage of all the day laborers they can muster up to install FIOS around the area. Yeah I'm still waiting.
Rodriquez, an immigrant from El Salvador, says a Verizon sub-contractor owes him for two months of work, all 10-hour days. "We have the right to recover our money for the work that we've performed," he said.
"Verizon needs to tell the subcontractors to quit cheating the people out of their money in this way," said Carlos Ortiz..
"We certainly don't agree that anyone should do a hard day's work and not get paid for it," said Sandra Arnette with Verizon.
Verizon says they promise to investigate but says it's the responsibility of the contractor or sub-contractor and not Verizon to pay the workers.
When ABC 7 reporter Andrea McCarren tried to ask one of the day laborers protesting if they were in the country illegally or if the subcontractors were hiring illegally, she was interrupted by a CASA de Maryland lawyer. They said McCarren couldn't ask the question.
"We would hope that people are hiring workers that are documented, that can actually do the work and they're not doing it illegally," said Arnette.
Some of the laborers allege they haven't been paid for jobs completed as far back as three years ago. Some workers at the demonstration actually won judgments in federal court against Verizon sub-contractors, totaling more than $200,000.
Verizon, screwing the public and workers every chance it can.