Corporate Pigs: “This is our fight!”

If you’ve been wondering where hope for our future could come from after Corporate America scored a coup with Obama’s horrendous budget deal last week,  45,000 Verizon workers have a terrific proposal—strike!

No, the largest strike in several years in this country that began at midnight, August 7, isn’t directly in response to the debacle of trillions in cuts to feed the beast called “the markets.” But it is a healthy sign that tens of thousands of men and women facing imminent destruction of their health care, pensions, sick pay, disability benefits—their unions, really—are willing to fight back.

It’s too early to tell which direction this incredibly important fight will go, but workers are up against a corporate giant that made $6 billion in profits last year alone, while it paid its top 5 executives $258 million in BONUSES and yup, you guessed it, paid no corporate taxes for at least the last couple of years. So, if you’re unemployed, barely hanging onto your own job or even fortunate enough to have some job security in this sea of perilous uncertainty, you don’t need to remain an observer in this fight.

Get out to a picket line, maybe grab a few coworkers to come with you or even take up a collection at the office to bring your local Verizon workers some solidarity and give these fighting men and women a boost.

Verizon workers’ disgust with the  proposed destruction of their current contract is captured brilliantly in the video below. Thousands of red-shirted Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) rallied in Manhattan July 30, here’s what they have to say:

Whatever it Takes

4 responses to “Corporate Pigs: “This is our fight!”

  1. I work for AT&T, so I have a dog in this fight. What will be disappointing about this situation is that the MSM will focus on wages and health insurance contributions, when in fact, there are 100 issues that the union and Verizon are very far apart on. The issues that we, at AT&T, are mad about revolve around a tyrannical management that has absolutely no respect for either the craft workers or the first level of management. AT&T (and I’m sure Verizon – they drink the same Kool Ade) is wild about numbers and if you don’t meet the numbers, you are disciplined. Even if you have absolutely no control over the situations that land you in hot water. The bottom quintile of every work group has to have a plan written up by the manager for improvement, even if the manager has no idea how to do the job. Or a waiver can be written, which has to be approved at very high levels in the company. The bogeys that the company has set are completely wrong, based on inaccurate assumptions, and infuriate the workers, who really do try to do a good job. When we see such idiocy, it drives us to slow down and give the company the virtual finger. i’m almost positive that this is the cause of the strike, not any issues over wages or contributions to health insurance. We aren’t stupid – we know that virtually every employee contributes to health insurance and we know that we are well paid. The biggest bone of contention is about respect. We are treated like idiots by managers who have not the slightest idea what they are saying or doing.

    I salute the workers at Verizon – they are very brave to go out on strike in such perilous economic times. Trust me when I say that there is something very seriously wrong at Verizon and it has nothing to do with wages or contributions to health insurance plans.

  2. Jeff-
    Thanks so much for your note.

    On the Verizon picket line this morning many people referenced disrespect, callousness and management stupidity. I agree and share the sentiment more than you know.

    That said, wages and health care are real issues they’re fighting over as well. Fact is, it’s not one or the other at this point—management is taking whatever it can get and creating bitterness and hostility, as well as prospects for solidarity and militancy.
    -Sherry

  3. Sherry,
    I agree with you, but what I wanted to point out is that the MSM will harp on wages and health insurance contributions (to stir up oppositions to evil unions among the populace) and not say a word about the autocratic and tyrannical management structure that is caused enough unhappiness to drive the workers to strike. In an ideal world, I think some workers would give up part of their wages and be O.K. with contributing to health insurance, if (and that is a huge if) they only had some control over how they did their jobs. The telephone industry has always been a militaristic environment (years ago, the trucks were painted Army green and the logos were gold-colored – remember?), so the idea of worker control isn’t going to happen but… I wish the union would focus on this aspect of the struggle instead of feeding the monster. There is absolutely no reason for management to treat its workers with disrespect and that includes the first line of management – they are furious with upper management also.

    How is it that Americans are so strongly behind their military for defending our “freedoms” and they have nothing but contempt for unions, which try (however imperfectly) to defend workers’ freedoms?

  4. The worst part is (speaking as someone in middle management in a different, but equally large corporation/industry) that it’s not that management sits and consciously decides to be evil.

    We have built a culture and an economy that valorizes production and growth, shareholder value at the cost of real value. Our system rewards destructive behavior. Management is, in its own way, as trapped as line staff. They are held to the same numbers as line staff. Failure to deliver on those numbers gets managers fired. Only at the very top levels is there anything resembling “freedom” and even then, shareholders and the mythical Street look to top executives and if they fail to deliver promised growth, penalizes them by selling down their stock, thus impacting the company’s ability to borrow and grow.

    I’m not saying management is innocent, but it’s not as simple as us and them. It’s us and us against a world we’ve all built together. And now we have to figure out how to take it apart and build something new.

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