Workers Will Rally for Justice in Springfield and Hadley

In the Valley, hundreds of workers at Verizon are negotiating a union contract with the phone, cable TV, and internet company. While paying its CEO millions of dollars annually, Verizon says it can’t afford to continue paying workers’ pensions. There will be protests in West Springfield, Springfield, and Hadley, near Northampton, on June 16, June 22, and June 30. The public is invited.

Last year, Verizon, which is based in New York City, paid its top five executives about $66 million. That’s according to:

http://cwa-union.org/sites/cwaunion/index.php/verigreedy

According to the same web site, the U.S. government gave Verizon $1 billion in taxpayer money between 2008 and 2010. During that time, the company paid no federal taxes. Legally, Verizon was required to pay 35 percent of its profits in taxes to help poor people and the environment, and other government programs.

In recent decades, the richest Americans have gotten richer, while the middle class has gotten smaller and the ranks of the poor have swelled. Union workers in the U.S. make about 29 percent more money than non-union workers. That’s around $9,300 a year extra for the average worker who joins a union. For Latino workers, the union advantage is about 50 percent; for black workers, approximately 31 percent. This data is from www.bls.gov

Unions give workers a voice in their workplace, and allow them to stand up for themselves if their bosses are hostile. Millions of workers in the U.S. are union members, including workers at Stop and Shop and UPS.

Like governments, some unions are not as democratic as they say they are. Unions members who are fighting for more democracy within their unions can be reached via www.LaborNotes.org and www.UnionDemocracy.org.

On June 16, Verizon workers will hold a noon rally outside the Verizon store at 1123 Riverdale Street in West Springfield.

Clarence Otis is a member of the Verizon board of directors. He owns the following restaurants, where workers will protest on June 22 at 5 p.m.:

-Olive Garden, 1380 Boston Road, Springfield;

-Olive Garden, 919 Riverdale Street, West Springfield;

-LongHorn Steakhouse, 1105 Riverdale Street, West Springfield.

On June 30 at noon, workers will protest outside the Verizon store at 360 Russell Street in Hadley, near Northampton.

More information is available from Jon Weissman, the western Massachusetts coordinator of Jobs with Justice:

www.jwj.org
(413) 827-0301
wmjwj@wmjwj.org

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