For nearly a year, union workers at Verizon – members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) – have worked without a contract and have been trying to get Verizon to address issues of fair wages and benefits. Verizon has made billions in profits in the last few years while requiring workers to pay thousands of dollars more a year in health insurance; not to mention the American jobs they have shipped offshore.
The call for basic middle class wages and fair benefits for CWA workers was joined here by Working America members, as well as many other union and non-union workers. Last year, Ohioans overwhelmingly repealed an attack on collective bargaining rights for public employees, so the fight for middle class working people is still fresh in minds of us here.
Working America took part in information leafleting at stores in the Cleveland area, Cincinnati, and in Columbus as part of dozens of actions held all over the state. In downtown Cleveland, many also took part in a rally to show support and to call upon Verizon to be fair and support middle class jobs in this country.
As consumers, most of us only encounter Verizon when we’re in a store or going through our bills. Most people don’t know that Verizon pays less than zero dollars in federal taxes, or that they tripled the annual compensation of their CEO from $7.2 million to $23.1 million. Meanwhile, the company is making every effort possible to give its workers the short shrift. Verizon is a perfect of example of the corporate behavior we fight against. As one person taking a flyer near a Columbus Verizon store said to the Working America canvasser, “Good luck with your efforts, somebody has to fight for the middle class worker.”
In addition to educating potential customers, Working America and other labor members held banners saying ”Verigreedy wireless – Destroying Middle–Class Jobs!” as cars and trucks honked in support as they drove by. Standing in solidarity with Verizon workers reminded Ohioans that not only do elections have consequences, but so does where they choose to spend their money.