Workers Win

Workers in the Valley walked off the job April 13 as they joined the biggest strike in the USA in five years. They work for Verizon. Community supporters joined them on picket lines in Springfield and in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Amherst. On June 1, the strike ended with a major victory for the 39,000 or so striking workers. Their wages will increase by 11 percent.

According to the New York Times, “Significantly, the new contracts also cover some 65 unionized workers at Verizon Wireless stores, signaling the first time that retail wireless workers at the company have been included in a union contract, a potentially important precedent.... The company’s real miscalculation may have been its assessment of the unions’ ability to hold out.”

The Verizon workers have web sites at www.cwa-union.org and www.ibew.org. Community support was coordinated by the local chapter of Jobs With Justice www.jwj.org.

This photo shows Verizon workers on strike in Hadley on April 14. One of the people in the photo is Jack Stankowski. He lives in Deerfield, Massachusetts, near Greenfield. He has worked at Verizon for 19 years. In winter, he often has to work on top of telephone poles. "I'm here for the working class," Stankowski told the Valley Post. "Corporations just want to take, take, take."

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam makes $18 million a year.

Also in the photo is Jesse Kovalsick. He lives in Montague, Massachusetts, also near Greenfield. He has worked at Verizon for 20 years. In winter, he sometimes has to work on top of telephone poles. "Verizon wants to be able to send us to Virginia for four months," Kovalsick told the Valley Post. "If you have a family, with kids in school, that's hard." Verizon withdrew that demand when the workers went on strike.

On average, workers in the USA make 27 percent higher wages when they join a union. That's according to www.bls.gov. Most union contracts say workers can only be fired for "just cause." Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason.

Millions of workers in the USA are union members, including all the workers at UPS, Stop & Shop, and the food co-ops in Northampton, Greenfield, Shelburne Falls, and Brattleboro.

To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image."

photo by Eesha Williams

Comments

Verizon strike

Well done, Verizon workers!

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