ITUC OnLine – August 19, 2011

USA:  ITUC Calls on Verizon to Negotiate with Unions as 45,000 Workers Strike

Brussels, 19 August 2011
(ITUC OnLine): The ITUC has called on US communications giant Verizon to negotiate in good faith with the unions representing 45,000 striking workers to resolve the largest strike in the USA for several years.

Despite record profits, Verizon is demanding $1billion in concessions from its workforce to slash sick days, eliminate benefits for workers who get hurt on the job and cut the healthcare benefits promised to retirees.  It is refusing to bargain with the CWA and IBEW, unions which represent Verizon employees, and the strike is now in its 13th day.

In the last four years alone, Verizon has made more than $19 billion in profits, and its top five executives have received more than $250 million in compensation and benefits.  In a letter to the Verizon President and Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam, the ITUC is urging the company to return to the bargaining table and uphold its code of conduct and 50-year history of collective bargaining.

“The strike by CWA and IBEW members is the biggest strike in recent US labour history, “ said ITUC General Secretary Sharon Burrow. “At a time when working people in the US and elsewhere are paying a heavy price for decades of corporate excess, Verizon should be seeking ways to uphold the working and living standards of its employees, rather than refusing to negotiate in good faith with the CWA and IBEW.”

The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 151 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates.

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