FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Statement by Governor Cuomo and CWA Pres. Shelton on VZW Closings

Thursday, October 13, 2016

STATEMENTS FROM GOVERNOR CUOMO SPOKESPERSON RICH AZZOPARDI AND PRESIDENT OF THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA CHRIS SHELTON ON VERIZON’S PLAN TO CLOSE TWO CALL CENTERS IN NEW YORK

Statement from Governor Cuomo Spokesperson Rich Azzopardi:

“Today, with 20 minutes notice on one of the highest holy days for those of the Jewish faith, Verizon Wireless notified the Governor’s office that it would be closing two call centers in New York as part of a nationwide consolidation plan. This is an egregious example of corporate abuse – among the worst we have witnessed during the six years of this administration. Verizon’s negligence is astounding and as a result, hard-working New Yorkers will lose their jobs.

“New York is invested in our workforce and we remain committed to keeping and creating well-paying jobs across the state. Governor Cuomo has directed the New York State Department of Labor to dispatch its Rapid Response team to assist employees during their time of transition, and we will work to reverse the impact of Verizon’s reckless decision. In this state, we will continue to stand up to those who put profit ahead of people.”

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Statement from Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America:

“Verizon Communications brags about being the nation’s biggest wireless carrier. It’s an extremely profitable company. In July 2016, Verizon’s stock hit its highest price since 2000. It’s spending $4.83 billion to buy Yahoo’s Internet business.

“So why is Verizon closing call centers in New York? Why is it laying off 3,200 retail store workers nationwide, especially going into the busiest shopping period of the year?

“It’s corporate greed at its worst. Does this mean more jobs and more customer service problems will be shipped to Verizon overseas operations in the Philippines and other countries?

“CWA has been working with Verizon Wireless workers at call centers and retail stores, to help workers get the union voice and representation they want and so clearly need. In fact, workers at VZW stores in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Everett, Mass., just won a first contract just this year. We will keep up the fight against ‘very greedy’ Verizon.”

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For media inquiries, call CWA Communications at 202-434-1168, or email Candice Johnson. To read about CWA Members, Leadership or Industries, visit the Communications Workers of America website.

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Verizon’s Crisis Management Trying to Sell Us… and then Sell Us Again

There is no doubt that Verizon’s Crisis Management firm is hard at work these days.

In a series of new videos, Verizon’s Chief Administrative Officer, Marc Reed, is looking to solicit support from the public.  He also strives to drive you to a master page full of Verizon’s Crisis Management multimedia which attempts to ‘holla back’ to CWA and IBEW and further draw the public to their “side.”  They’ve even set up a dedicate Twitter account.

Let’s start with the master pitch.  Gander at this…

In one of their several ‘Crisis Management’ videos they attempt to address compensation and benefits.  This video features Compensation Director Arleen Preston who – in this bloggers opinion – does little more than speak down to the “citizen viewer” by defining compensation and benefit terms and phrases that most American worker – Union or Nonunion – would already know.

Insult meets Injury here…

Does anyone find it a coincidence that – if you were to click through to YouTube – you’ll find the note “Comments are disabled for this video.”?

Finally – and here’s the part that will put a smile on your face – Crisis Management Television Ads have now replaced the infamous “red ball” spots.

But don’t worry… CWA has creatively answered back.

Now THIS video is worth sharing…

Good for you CWA!

RELATED: 5 Key Reasons to Back the Working People at Verizon

5 Key Reasons to Back the Working People at Verizon

Most of you know what led to the Verizon Strike. Contract talks between Verizon and members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) began in June of 2015.

The workers’ last contract expired on August 1, 2015 and on April 13, 2016 the strike began.

CWA and IBEW Union representatives allege that even though Verizon made $39 billion in profits over the last three years, the company wants to “gut job security protections, contract out more work and send jobs overseas, and require technicians to work away from home for as long as two months without seeing their families.”

All Americans who are watching the Strike play out in the press or are seeing strike activities and hearing discussions in their towns… well unlike our readers, they may not understand the importance of backing Verizon workers.

So whether you’re a Union Member fluent in these concepts or a concerned citizen, this is an article worth sharing with those who may benefit from a bit more insight.

5 Key Reasons to Back the Working People at Verizon:

1. Verizon makes billions each year, yet they still expect people to do more with less.

The corporation raked in $9.6 billion in profits in 2014, $39 billion over the last three years – and $1.8 billion a month in profits over the first three months of 2016. And from 2010 to 2014, Verizon executives made more than $249 million. Apparently, Verizon corporate bosses are unsatisfied with their massive profit margins and want to make working people do more with less. In negotiations thus far, Verizon has asked its loyal workforce for huge cuts to retirement security and benefits to people injured on the job, increases in employee health-care costs, and elimination of job security. Additionally the company wants to uproot technicians to work away from home for as long as two months without seeing and taking care of their families who depend on them. These are life-altering changes to the men and women at Verizon who are just trying to pay their bills and ensure a brighter future for their families.

2. Verizon plays dirty.

Instead of putting forward reasonable negotiating terms, Verizon has invested resources in training 15,000 employees to take over in the case of a work stoppage. Verizon has also given its non-union employees a mobile surveillance app that can monitor and take geotagged photos of union members throughout negotiations. Essentially, it’s a tattletale app with the sole purpose of intimidating people from coming together in union at work.

3. Verizon wants to get rid of good union jobs and outsource instead.

The men and women in union who work at Verizon have worked hard to create better workplaces for themselves and those that follow. But just like in 2011, Verizon wants its employees to give them the thumbs up to contract out work, replacing good, hometown jobs with cheap labor. Since 2005, the percentage of Verizon employees in union has dropped from nearly 70 percent to less than 30 percent.

4. Verizon refuses to expand FiOS.

Consumer demand for high-speed Internet is higher than ever. Several years ago, Verizon got tax breaks and rate hikes in exchange for expanding FiOS, its high-speed Internet, phone and video connection, throughout the Northeast. But in 2012, Verizon announced it would no longer expand its FiOS service, leaving customers in many places without access to high-speed Internet. Why would the company not want to increase its customer base for a popular service? Some believe Verizon is choosing not to repair and modernize its outdated copper wire system and grow FiOS because the company doesn’t want to invest in the people who maintain and install the service.

The company has also been accused of redlining poor and minority communities. In New York, the FiOS expansion was concentrated in affluent city suburbs, while low-income, urban areas were left behind. Other communities that have been excluded from the FiOS expansion include Bethlehem, Pa., Baltimore, Md., and Roanoke, N.C. Verizon is now trying to get out of the business of landlines all together, which will mean poorer service and even fewer options for many customers, especially in poor and rural areas that are already on the wrong side of the “digital divide.”

“On the one hand, Verizon refuses to build its high-speed FiOS network in lower income areas. And on the other, they are systemically ignoring maintenance needs on their landline network,” said Ed Mooney, vice president for CWA District 2-13, which covers Pennsylvania to Virginia. “This leaves customers at the mercy of a cable monopoly or stuck with deteriorating service while Verizon executives and shareholders rake in billions.”

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5. Verizon has a long history of ripping off taxpayers through tax evasion.

Verizon isn’t just looking to cut costs by slashing benefits and eliminating jobs; one of America’s most successful businesses is also taking money from taxpayers. From 2008 to 2013, Verizon received a tax refund of $732 million from the IRS, which resulted in a corporate income tax rate of minus two percent. That’s right, a negative income tax rate! Verizon is also culpable of stashing money abroad to avoid paying income taxes. In 2012, Verizon stored $1.8 billion in offshore tax havens.

RELATED: A Message to Verizon Workers from Bernie Sanders

Verizon’s position is clear: make money, no matter the cost to our families, our communities and our country. Which makes our position just as clear: we must stand with the working men and women at Verizon who have gone strike to protect not just their own livelihoods, but also family-sustaining jobs for those that follow. So please, stand with working people at Verizon!

A Message from Bernie Sanders

A Message from Bernie Sanders after his stand with Verizon Workers:

“Yesterday the CEO of Verizon said that I was “contemptible.” He doesn’t like that yesterday I walked the picket line with striking Verizon workers, or that I think Verizon needs to pay its fair share in taxes.

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“Verizon’s attack reminded me of what President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in New York City in 1936:

‘We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

‘They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

‘Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.’

“Like FDR, I welcome the contempt of Verizon’s CEO. I welcome the hatred and contempt of every Wall Street banker, hedge fund manager, pharmaceutical lobbyist and fracking executive trying to stop our campaign.”