Phone Workers Win; Nurses Will Strike

Hundreds of telephone and internet workers in the Valley won raises this month after they went on strike. They work for Verizon. Meanwhile, 209 nurses in Greenfield are planning to go on strike on October 5. They work at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center hospital. The nurses are asking the public to join them on the picket line. Details are at:

www.massnurses.org/news-and-events/p/openItem/7760

The average Verizon worker makes about $70,000 a year, not including overtime. The company pays its CEO millions of a dollars a year. The workers are members of two unions: www.cwa-union.org and www.ibew.org. After the workers went on strike, Verizon agreed to sign a contract giving the workers a total of 8 percent in raises over the next three years. The company agreed to re-hire workers who it fired during the strike. The company had claimed the workers did their jobs badly; the workers said they were fired for helping organize the strike. The contract won’t be official unless the workers vote to approve it. The voting is by mail; results will be announced on October 19.

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. Millions of workers in the U.S. are union members, including workers at Stop and Shop, UPS, and River Valley Market, a food co-op in Northampton.

Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason. Workers who belong to a union can only be fired for just cause.

More information about unions in the Valley is at:

www.ValleyPost.org/node/134

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