Bernie Stands With #VerizonStrike Workers Against Corporate Greed

by
Priyanka Prasad
The Verizon workers' strike is bringing concerns about wealthy corporations to the forefront.

verizon workers

Anti-corporate sentiments in America are only growing, as on Wednesday, over 40,000 workers for Verizon Wireless went on strike—the largest strike in the U.S. since the 2011 Verizon workers’ strike.

These employees, who largely work in Verizon’s landline department and FIOS broadband network, are protesting multiple issues: they have not had a contract since August 2015, Verizon is planning on outsourcing 5,000 jobs, and the company continues to “[hire] more low-wage, non-union contractors,” according to CNN Money.

The union that represents them, the Communication Workers of America (CWA), has stated that until a decent contract can be negotiated that benefits its workers, the strike will continue.

Edward Mooney, Vice President of CWA District 2-13, expressed that, “More and more, Americans are outraged by what some of the nation’s wealthiest corporations have done to working people over the last 30 years, and Verizon is becoming the poster child for everything that people in this country are angry about.”

Mooney’s words reflected a speech Bernie Sanders gave on the picket lines in Brooklyn, New York as he addressed a crowd of striking Verizon workers.

Sanders told the crowd, “Today, you are standing up not just for justice for Verizon workers; you’re standing up for millions of Americans who don’t have a union.

And you’re telling corporate America they cannot have it all. You’re telling corporate America that workers in this country are not going to continue to be pushed down and down and down.”

A strike leader for the CWA (which, incidentally, has endorsed Sanders), yelled, “We’re fighting a vicious corporation, but we’ve got a champion that’s fighting for us. Let’s hear it for Bernie Sanders!”

Verizon embodies corporate greed; according to the Huffington Post, “for six years, 2008-2013, Verizon paid ½ of 1% in taxes—on income of more than ½ trillion dollars.” This is appalling yet perfectly represents the power wealthy corporate interests hold.

Just in the past three years, the company has made $38 billion in profits and pays its top executives approximately $50 million each year, while simultaneously refusing to increase wages, benefits, and working conditions for its employees. As the CWA statement notes, “Verizon’s CEO is making 200 times more than the average Verizon employee.”

In the CWA statement, District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor declared that, “We’re standing up for working families and standing up to Verizon’s corporate greed…If a hugely profitable corporation like Verizon can destroy the good family-supporting jobs of highly skilled workers, then no worker in America will be safe from this corporate race to the bottom.”

Verizon was not so receptive to Sanders’s remarks. CEO Lowell McAdams wrote in a blog post that, “The senator’s uninformed views are, in a word, contemptible."

Contemptible and uniformed they may be to a billionaire CEO, but they are undoubtedly resonating with the American people. 

Banner & Thumbnail Image Credit: Reuters

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