‘No contract, no FIOS!’ – Verizon strikers rally across Brooklyn
Chanting “No contract, no FIOS!” hundreds of striking members of the Communications Workers of America held a massive rally – complete with inflated rat — in Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday.
The rally was just one of many staged across the city since roughly 36,000 CWA union members went on strike on Wednesday, protesting cutbacks in the wireline (as opposed to wireless) division.
Red-shirted Verizon workers demonstrated again on Friday in front of Verizon outlets, including one on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights.
There are a number of bones of contention, Tony Spina, president of CWA Brooklyn Local 1109, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “Shipping our jobs overseas; temporarily transferring our workforce to other states for 120 days. That means a single mom will have to get transferred away 120 days. They want to transfer our people out of union seniority like it’s been since the beginning of time. They want us to pay a lot for our health care.
“I’m on the bargaining team,” Spina added. “We’ve been trying to bargain with them, and they don’t want to bargain.”
Tony Barone, secretary treasurer of Local 1109, told the Eagle that Verizon is not bargaining with the union “because they’re a greedy corporation who doesn’t want to hear anything but what they want, and we are not going to have that. We’ve been trying since June 22 to bargain for a fair contract and stop with their retrogressive demands.”
But Verizon says that union leadership “needs to be realistic.” The company’s wireline business is no longer as profitable as its wireless business.
“While the company has on the table proposed wage increases, continued retirement benefits (including a generous 401(k) match) and excellent healthcare benefits, union leaders decided to call a strike rather than sit down and work on the issues that need to be resolved,” Verizon said in a statement.
Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer, said in the release that union leaders “have their own agenda rooted in the past and are ignoring today’s digital realities.” He said that the union failed to agree to negotiate through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Verizon says trained non-union employees will cover for striking workers.