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Verizon Workers Picket On National Day Of Action

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) - As part of National Day of Action, Verizon workers with CWA Local 1126, took their cause back to the picket lines. Chanting, “They say give back, we say fight back!” and, “What do we want? A contract! When do we want it? Now!” the union members voiced the same concern they’ve had since August 2011, when they first voted to go on strike after failing to reach an agreement to renew their long standing contract with Verizon.

The workers say they are fighting to keep the same contract they’ve had with the company, for the last 50-years. When they first took to the picket lines, the strike lasted two weeks, when Verizon decided to come back to the negotiation table if the members went back to work. Local 1126 president, Jason White, said the company initially met with them to work on “narrowing their focus” however, he said, “the company’s been bargaining ever since. Our aim is to keep what we have. We’re not asking for more, we just want to keep the contract we’ve had.”

White goes on to say that Verizon reeled in more than 19-billion dollars in profit alone in the last two years, and paid their top five executives $250 million dollars in compensation. “And last year, they paid no taxes whatsoever and they still want to gut our contract,” he said. He says some of the issues concern healthcare, and “the ability for Verizon to lay off people as they please and send jobs overseas.” He said, “they also tell us that economic times have changed. They give a different reason every time … We need to keep jobs in this area–good local jobs and we’re going to fight for that.”

The members took to the picket lines at 5:00pm today in front of the Verizon building on Genesee street in downtown Utica. They say Verizon is essentially asking 45,000 workers to give up about $20,000 each, in addition to 70 other retrogressive demands.

The short video below shows the members on the picket line:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNlvVmKPcWs

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