Workers must act now to stop the sabotage of the Verizon strike by the CWA and IBEW!
The WSWS Verizon Strike Newsletter is holding an emergency online meeting Monday, May 30, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time for workers to discuss the strike, exchange information with each other and organize against the sabotage of this critical struggle. To participate in the meeting, call 213-416-1560 and enter PIN: 581 991 086# at 7:00 pm Eastern Time on Monday.
This meeting will discuss the following demands proposed by the Verizon Strike Newsletter:
* No return to work before workers have time to study a full contract
* The CWA and IBEW must organize mass open and public meetings to present the complete details of any agreement
* All telecommunications workers, including AT&T West workers currently laboring without a contract, should be mobilized in joint action
* Verizon workers should draft an open letter to the working class as a whole for a common struggle against the corporate attack on jobs and living standards
After 10 days of secret talks with the Verizon bosses and Obama administration officials, the CWA and IBEW announced that they reached an “agreement in principle” and were shutting down the picket lines.
Now the CWA and IBEW are ordering strikers to report to work Wednesday or even Tuesday night—even though there is no real contract. Even if they cobble something together over the next couple of days, workers will have no chance to seriously study the deal or ratify it before returning to work. This is a stab in the back that only helps Verizon!
The IBEW says workers will get a “complete explanation of the contract” at a union meeting Wednesday night—after returning to work! The vote is scheduled for the same meeting. As for the CWA, they have not even bothered to announce informational or ratification meetings.
In one way or another, the union executives are trying to ram through a deal that will affect workers’ lives for the next four years. Why should any worker believe the self-serving and bogus “highlights” CWA President Chris Shelton & Co. are peddling? As workers know, every period and comma in a contract with Verizon matters. Workers must have the full contract in their hands and at least a week to study it before a vote and return to work!
Why did the CWA and IBEW call off the strike now, just as the company’s bottom line was being affected? A major factor is that tens of thousands of workers in New York and other states have begun to qualify for unemployment benefits. In addition, CWA strike pay is due to increase to $400 a week. The union bureaucrats fear that any lessening of the economic pressure will lead workers to dig in for a protracted fight.
If workers return to work, all of the initiative will be handed back to the corporation and the six-week countdown for unemployment benefits would start all over again. If the strike is ended, the company will have no reason to back down at all. That is why Verizon executives said they were “very pleased with the ‘agreement in principle’” and look forward to seeing workers back on the job! Of course, they are, because Lowell McAdam knows exactly what the CWA and IBEW gave them. The only ones being kept in the dark on the workers whose livelihoods are on the line.
The fate of this battle and all of the sacrifice workers have made to defend the gains of previous generations is now in the hands of the rank-and-file. Attend the emergency call-in meeting tonight, at 7:00 PM Eastern Time!