Friday, August 12, 2011

Verizon Workers Strike to Retain Pensions and Healthcare

Verizon Workers Fighting
to Keep Their Benefits
Striking Verizon employees are trying to hold the line against the erosion of their healthcare and benefits. Theirs is the latest battlefield in the class war being waged against the American working people. Verizon corporate management is trying to ride Scott Walker's coattails to obliterate unions and the middle-class working conditions that they provide. It's all part of the great race to the bottom, fueled by right-wing fervor and Obama administration supported downgrades and take-aways.

Further complicating matters in the Verizon situation, the wireless workers are all non-union while the old land based phone service workers are with the CWA (Communication Workers of America). So pitting the two factions against each other is a made for management dream with the wireless workers representing the "future" of the private sector.

Verizon management is pleading poverty and income losses in the land line segment of their business, a ploy that president of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka has called a "smokescreen."It is evident now to almost everyone that the lowest echelons of society are paying for the lavish lifestyles of the wealthy. Management now has now been given a green light to erode all the gains of the past and chalk it up to the crash and burn economy, another demon of their own creation.

We can see even mainstream economists such as Robert Reich and Paul Krugman openly acknowledging that the American working people have been taken hostage and because our president has paid their ransom, we have lost.

The media is running with the ball, saying the Verizon strike has gotten ugly. As though bringing in scab workers to undermine collective bargaining power and steal people's jobs is not a violent and provocative move, in and of itself. Yes, people are angry. Confrontational behavior is the rule, not the exception under these circumstances and it is understandable considering that folks' livelihoods and survival are on the line.

Verizon workers may be in for the long haul and we can only hope that they will be successful in their struggle.