Verizon’s phone customers paid more to Uncle Sam than the telecom giant

Posted on September 5th, 2011

Pay no taxes and lay people off ,  are companies like Verizon the the type of entities we need leading our economy?   As long as we allow this type of shit, working people are doomed.  The information below about Verizon comes from a report on executive compensation and tax dodging from the Institute for Policy Studies.  Read more

  • CEO compensation: $18.1 million
  • U.S. federal income taxes: $705 million refund
  • Verizon received a massive tax refund last year – despite earning $11.9 billion in pre-tax U.S. profits –the highest among the 25 firms highlighted in this report. Quite a feat for then Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg.
  • In effect, every Verizon phone customer paid more in federal telephone excise taxes than Verizon paid in federal income taxes.
  • Verizon also has a heavy political presence in Washington. Last year alone, the telecom giant spent $16.7 million on lobbying — and deducted these outlays off its taxes.
  • Despite its hefty profits, Verizon last year announced 13,000 job cuts, the year’s third-highest corporate layoff total.

We Salute Tim DeChristopher

Posted on August 31st, 2011

Tim DeChristopher is a young man with great courage.  He is a climate activist who while studying in Utah attended a gas lease auction for public lands.  He bid $1.8 million on 14 parcels of land.  He didn’t have the money to pay of course.  He did it as a form of civil disobedience to ensure that the land would not be sold that day.  It worked and before the land could be sent back to be bid on again the Obama Administration took over from Dubya and little Dick and cancelled the sales.

Tim got two years in prison. He’s locked up right now.  In his letter below,  he says the judge would have given him 30 days if he knuckled under and apologized for what he did.  He refused.  He’s in jail because of his political statements after the incident.  The government punishes acts of civil disobedience harshly.

The labor movement needs tens of thousands of DeChristophers willing to commit creative acts of civil disobedience against the myriad of unjust labor laws that make effective organizing and strikes nearly impossible.  We also need to hook up with all these young people in the environmental movement.  Labor, economics and the environment are all connected.  What good is having a good job if our planet is poisoned.  I’ll have more on this later.  For now read Tim’s letter published in Alternet.  It might inspire you.

A Letter From Prison: Tim DeChristopher Speaks Out

By Tim DeChristopher,
Posted on August 30, 2011, Printed on August 31, 2011

The following text appeared in a handwritten letter from Tim DeChristopher addressed to Grist’s Jennifer Prediger.

If I had ever doubted the power of words, Judge Benson made their importance all too clear at my sentencing last month. When he sentenced me to two years in prison plus three years probation, he admitted my offense “wasn’t too bad.” The problem, Judge Benson insisted, was my “continuing trail of statements” and my lack of regret. Apparently, all he really wanted was an apology, and for that, two years in prison could have been avoided. In fact, Judge Benson said that had it not been for the political statements I made in public, I would have avoided prosecution entirely. As is generally the case with civil disobedience, it was extremely important to the government that I come before the majesty of the court with my head bowed and express regret. So important, in fact, that an apology with proper genuflection is currently fair trade for a couple years in prison. Perhaps that’s why most activist cases end in a plea bargain.  Read the rest

Say no to Walmart

Posted on August 31st, 2011

After reading this  Labor Notes story about what it’s like to work at Walmart.  I’m glad I stopped shopping there.

How Walmart Trains Managers

By Adrian Campbell Montgomery
Created Aug 31 2011 – 3:07pm

The brave Walmart workers who belong to OUR Walmart [1] say fear is the main thing stopping their fellow retail workers from organizing. As an assistant store manager at Walmart, I saw how managers were trained to put that fear into hourly workers’ heads.

When I was hired four years ago, new assistant managers had to complete eight weeks of training. We got a $500 prepaid credit card for meals and were thrown into a hotel, with weekends off to go home.

I thought we would get a crash course in Walmart history and then get into learning the computer systems, the policies, how to schedule people. I was far off track. I was now in an eight-week indoctrination into how Walmart is the unsurpassed company to work for, and how to spot any employee who was having doubts. I was supposed to be happy at all times.

The training was done at “Stores of Learning.” The assistant managers were new hires to Walmart, like me, or about one-third had been promoted from within.

Training activities included the Walmart cheer. Every morning, as store associates do, we would participate in the cheer. A few people stood up to read the daily numbers, then break out into a chant—“Give me a W-A-L-M-A-R-T,” with the rest of the people in the room shouting back the same letter. Back then, Wal-Mart still had a hyphen, so between the L and the M they would yell, “Give me a squiggly!” and everyone would do a butt wiggle.

Whenever it was my turn to lead, let’s just say I was less than thrilled, an early warning system for upper management on who was not Walmart material.  Read the rest

That wasn’t the fat lady. It was #Chris Christie in drag.

Posted on August 30th, 2011

Hey Verizon bosses, this fight ain’t over it’s only just begun. That wasn’t the fat lady you heard singing it was Fatso Christie in drag.  The fat slob governor and Verizon’s effete elite exec Lowell McGreedy are neighbors who live in, that cesspool of ruling class vermin, Mendham, NJ.

Fatso Christie in drag singing to Lowell McGreedy @ Mendham, NJ Opera Night

Verizon Bosses say, “Divide and Conquer.” We say, “Please Don’t Duck.”

Posted on August 28th, 2011

Verizon ad tries to divide workers

With the “great power” of their “superior” intellect and  imaginations — diluted, unfortunately, by blue blood inbreeding — the Verizon bosses have  reached into their billion dollar bag of tricks and come up with a brilliant plan –  divide and conquer.  (For more examples of genius see Big Ideas x 0 = 0).

They think that they can take out ads to convince the rest of the working class that the union workers at Verizon should pay for health care because so many other workers have been forced to do so by the insatiable greed of the corporate rulers.  Now this may work on some, because too many workers are blinded by their own greed and the brainwashing of the corporate media and school systems.   But many of the rest of us know that it’s the bosses who should be forced to pay for the health care of the working class — the productive class.  We produce wealth.  They steal it.  The chart below shows the increase in the percentage of net income per household from 1970 to 2005, and it’s only gotten worse since then.

So at a time when the income of the bottom 95% is barely growing and the top 1% has seen their income rise by 175 % the representatives of the 1% at Verizon think that union workers should pay for more of health care and  and health care insurance costs.  Over the past decade, the annual cost of family coverage has risen 131% and the annual cost for single coverage is up 120%.  In each of the past 10 years, insurance increases have outpaced inflation — sometimes by as much as 11 percentage points.  The USA spends more on health care than any other industrial country.

The reason for this disparity is that all other countries on this chart have some kind of single payer system.  What we need in the US is Medicare for all (See previous post) and if the Verizon honchos really cared about saving money on health care they would support that.  But they don’t.  They simply want to take more money from us and stick it in their already overstuffed pockets and dish more out to Wall Street.

Call me a crazy conspiracy nut (You’d be wrong,but that’s your right), but it sure seems to me like I’m starting to see a lot of policies, political strategies and corporate demands that make me believe that the powers that be think a whole lot of  us are expendable.

  • cutting pensions and Social Security
  • cutting health care
  • cutting retirement health care and Medicare
  • sending more and more jobs to other countries
  • high unemployment combined with a “permanent” decrease in jobs and job growth (too many workers and too few jobs)
  • destructive environmental policies
  • the continuing reliance on fossil fuels
  • what seems to be becoming a permanent state of war

The list could go on. “Work until you die and, we don’t want to pay anything if you get sick.  If you can’t afford health care, it’s not our problem,” the bosses say.  These bastards are always doing their calculating, and they have figured out they don’t need so many of us around.  We’re too big a threat.  They’re looking to get rid of as many of us as they can before we wake up and get rid of them.

We need to get busy organizing a labor movement that fights for the rights of all workers.  Today is the day; tomorrow is too late!

Reviving the Strike is the only way to build a Vibrant Labor Movement

Posted on August 28th, 2011

Here’s a Labor Notes review of a new book  Reviving the Strike by Joe Burns.  Also watch interview with Thom Hartman from YouTube.  Burns argues that we must go back to the traditional strike where labor shut down production even if that requires mass civil disobedience against unjust labor laws.

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REVIEW: Reviving Labor’s Last, Best, and Final Weapon—The Strike

By Marty Harrison
Created Aug 12 2011 – 11:07am
Joe Burns argues that for unions to win again, they need to wage strikes that shut down production. A test case is underway: will the 45,000 CWA and IBEW members who have struck Verizon be able to stop enough work to cause the company pain?

In a refreshingly straightforward style, Joe Burns argues persuasively that the cause of union decline is our inability to wage a successful strike. That is, one which shuts down production and compels the employer to accede to union demands.

His new book, Reviving the Strike [1], details the decades of anti-union legislation, National Labor Relations Board decisions, and Supreme Court rulings that have outlawed everything that works: sympathy strikes, bans on replacement workers, secondary boycotts, and other muscular tactics that gave unions a fighting chance.  Read the rest

Hedge Funds way more Dangerous than Storms

Posted on August 27th, 2011

Don’t worry about hurricanes.  Hedge funds buying up farmland all over the world are  way more troublesome than the weather.   You remember hedge funds.  They’re some of the folks who brought us the “housing crisis.”  These titans of industry are betting that food shortages will mean big profits, and so they’re buying up all the farm land they can get.  The problem is that once these dudes buy the land creating a food shortage would be in their economic interest.  Food shortages, starvation and death for many of us working folks around the world will be profit for the “smartest guys in the room.”  They are preparing for a doomsday scenario — our doom not theirs. ( See quote below) I’ll take my chances against the rain and the wind.  And when the storm passes, it’s time for us to start building a labor movement that’s ready to fight the hedge fund smart guys and all the other bosses who are trying to o us dirty.

There is, of course, a slightly more sinister reason to develop a sudden interest in agriculture. Last year, Marc Faber recommended to anyone: “Stock up on a farm in northern Norway and learn to drive a tractor.” He sees a “dirty war” on the horizon, playing on fears of a biological attack poisoning food supplies. Those sort of fears drive capital into everything from gold (recently at an all-time high and a long-time safe haven for investors with currency concerns) to survivalist accoutrements. In this particular case, one might buy the farm in order to avoid buying the farm.

That may seem extreme, but even the lesser scenarios are frightening to some. When asked if this is an end-of-the-world situation, the hedge fund manager replied: “It really is. I tell my fiancée this from time to time, and I’ve stopped telling her this, because it’s not the most pleasant thought.” He pauses for a moment. “We just can’t keep living the way we’re living. It’ll end within our lifetime. We’re just going to run out of certain things. We’ll just have to learn how to adjust.”  Read the article

March in Paterson Labor Day Parade Sept. 4th

Posted on August 25th, 2011

Paterson, NJ is a town rich in working class history.  In the early part of the 20th Century it was one of the most important textile centers in the US.  The 1913 Paterson Strike pitted 20,000 silk mill workers against the owners of 300 mills.  The strike was lead by legendary radicals of the era, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Big Bill Haywood who were members of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World).  Come on out on Labor Day this year and March in solidarity with Verizon workers who are still fighting so working and middle class folks can attain a victory in what is fast becoming an era of big time labor defeats as bosses and their flunky politicians, emboldened by their terrorist victories around the world, try to squeeze the life blood from working people here in the US.

Strike leaders Patrick Quinlan, Carlo Tresca, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Adolph Lessig, and Bill Haywood.

This Labor Day We Need Protest Marches, Not Parades

Posted on August 25th, 2011

I have to agree with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on this one.   This Labor Day we need to party less and protest more.  With the real unemployment rate at 17% and attacks on workers growing like cornstalks in farm country, we need to stand firm and say, “We won’t back down.”    Join members of IBEW Local 827 at the Labor Day Parade in Paterson, NJ on September 4th. We will march in solidarity with other workers and to let Verizon bosses know we plan to march to victory.  Here’s Reich’s piece below:

Labor Day is traditionally a time for picnics and parades. But this year is no picnic for American workers, and a protest march would be more appropriate than a parade.

Not only are 25 million unemployed or underemployed, but American companies continue to cut wages and benefits. The median wage is still dropping, adjusted for inflation. High unemployment has given employers extra bargaining leverage to wring out wage concessions.

All told, it’s been the worst decade for American workers in a century. According to Commerce Department data, private-sector wage gains over the last decade have even lagged behind wage gains during the decade of the Great Depression (4 percent over the last ten years, adjusted for inflation, versus 5 percent from 1929 to 1939).  Read the rest

Verizon Strike Ends, For Now

Posted on August 24th, 2011

Here’s another good article from Labor Notes.

Jenny Brown
|  August 22, 2011
CWA Local 9510 rallied in southern California August 17 in support of the strike. Photo: Unity at Verizon.

After 15 days on strike, 45,000 Verizon workers will march into work on Tuesday after extracting an agreement from their stubborn employer to bargain. The Communication Workers (CWA) and Electrical Workers (IBEW) will be working under their old contracts while talks continue. They agreed not to strike again for 30 days.

During the strike, which stretched from Virginia to Massachusetts, Verizon was unable to provide timely installation and repairs, and reports of outages plagued the company. In addition to pickets at hundreds of worksites, unions and community groups picketed over 1,000 Verizon Wireless stores, say union leaders.

The end of the strike was greeted with mixed feelings. While most strikers are relieved to return to their jobs, many calculate that going back without a new contract will take the pressure off and that Verizon will go back to its old tricks.

“We all felt the power we had while being on strike,” said Erin Small, a shop steward in New York’s CWA Local 1101. “I am afraid of losing the energy we had. We were obviously having an impact on how much work the company could get done.”

Even members who were happy to go back to work worried about the long-term impact.

“People I’ve spoken to were not pleased we were going back under the old contract,” said Anita Matthews, a central office technician and shop steward in New York. “We should have stayed out till we got a contract and we would have gotten what we wanted.”  Read the rest