By Doug Cunningham
Corporate greed versus doing the right thing by your workers is at the heart of the Verizon strike. Thirty-nine thousand CWA and IBEW workers are in the tenth day of their strike.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who is endorsed for president by the CWA, spoke to workers on the Verizon picket lines in New York City.
[Chant]: "Bernie! Bernie!" [Senator Bernie Sanders]: "Brothers and sisters! Thank you for your courage in standing up for justice against corporate greed! Verizon is one of the largest, most profitable corporations in this country. But they refuse to sit down and negotiate a fair contract!"
Hillary Clinton stopped by a Verizon picket line and said Verizon should do the right thing and return to negotiations. Clinton, unlike Sanders, has also taken money from Verizon. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for her campaign and family foundation.
The IBEW's Myles Calvey says if Verizon was really in financial distress and needed concessions the union would work it out, but Verizon is demanding concessions while racking up immense profits.
[Myles Calvey]: "They are going to bring in $132 billion dollars of revenue this year. They claim they're hurting in the wireline business. They still turned a profit of $1.6 billion. They are averaging $1.8 billion a month for the last 19 months."
Attempts to settle the strike so far are not going well with no real movement from Verizon. The unions say the average Verison salary for their members is $74,000 - decent middle class jobs. CWA and the IBEW say ther are not seeking to sweeten the contracts, just to maintain what they have.
This unidentified Verizon strike explains whatthe workers are enduring that led to the strike.
[Striking Verizon Worker]: "Every time they make more money we make less money. They're takin' the health care, they're takin' the pensions, they're lookin' to move us basically out of state. All the work that they should bringing into here to work and have the money benefit us is now bein' shipped overseas."
The IBEW's Myles Calvey says the union would be willing to work out concessions with Verizon if the company were really hurting, but it's not.
[Myles Calvey]: "As I'm sayin' to my members as I'm goin' around the picket lines and tellin' 'em. Look, we understand - we've been around a long time, I've been in this job 28 years. if the company's in a problem and if we have to help work 'em out - and if we don't work it out somebody's gonna get laid off - we work those things out. We don't wanna do that. But we can't even fathom why they want to do some of this stuff."