The Line Must be Drawn Here

Posted on August 1st, 2008 | by A Worker |

As the clock ticks down toward a strike Verizon negotiators continue to claim that the IBEW and CWA unions’ demands are unreasonable, even though Verizon is raking in more money than this time last year. Revenue rose 3.7 percent this quarter totaling $24.12 billion. The communication giant’s top five executives grabbed $82 million in salary and “compensation” in 2007. But still they are griping about a five percent wage increase and parity in health care coverage for workers and retirees. sat down with some of the rank and file union members to talk about conditions at the company and the potential of a strike.

“I’m all for a strike if it’s to get better wages,” one longtime union member said.

“Yeah I’m ready to go on strike,” another fed-up worker said. “One of the issues is the company wants to give new hires lower quality benefits and no pensions. I’m for going on strike for that issue alone. All that’s going to do is divide the union. We all should be the same.”

All the workers in the round table discussion agreed that having two tiers of employees/union members would lead to the decline of the union. They were ready hit the picket line.

The company’s ultimate aim is to break the union. “All these greedy corporate executives want to keep the money for themselves,” the fed-up worker said. “They want to take advantage of working people.”

“Look at the state of the car industry and the unions,” the longtime worker pointed out. “Some try to say that the union brought down the companies. But I know it was poor management and the products sucked. The union doesn’t develop products.”

Working conditions have continued to deteriorate over the last several years at Verizon. The company would rather spend money on private detectives that follow people around then sit down and talk to the folks who do the work and ask them “What’s the way to get the most and best quality work completed?”

“I think the higher-ups have no respect for us,” a wily union veteran said.

More and more of the upper and middle management are people who haven’t worked in the industry, and they aren’t concerned about the people who actually do productive work. We’re just knuckle draggers. They make up abstract numbers and equations. (see Big Ideas {BI} x 0 = 0.) That’s what they teach them in Masters of the Universe school. They act like they’re the brains, and we’re the hands.

“All they know about our job is we don’t do it fast enough,” the wily veteran quipped.

The company doesn’t care if the work in done correctly. All they care about is meeting “production quotas.”

“They want us to put in it in fast. We want to do it correctly,” the longtime worker said.

The bottom line is it’s us union folks who really care about the customers. We care about the job we do. It’s our work. We care about our working conditions and benefits, and we care about the working conditions and benefits of other working people, many of whom are our customers. We go to the picket line to fight for our jobs and the future for our families. But we also go to the picket line to defend all workers rights to good jobs and quality health care and a secure retirement. picardfinger.jpg As Captain Jean-Luc Picard says in the Star Trek the Next Generation movie First Contact after they were confronted by the Borg’s attempt to conquest humanity. “The line must be drawn here! This far and no further. And I will make them pay for what they have done!”

Like the Borg, these global corporations like Verizon seek to gobble us up and brainwash us into to thinking that our sacrifices are for the good of the company, the economy and therefore good for all. Meanwhile the Master of the Universe Types – sociopath CEO’s and Wall Street scum – rake in billions. They are the ones who screwed up the economy not us. No, no, we go to the picket line for all working people and we say, “The line must be drawn here!” Which side are you on?

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