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Verizon’s Union Workers Unite in New York’s Streets

5th Avenue, New York City.

On Monday, April 18, thousands of Verizon workers flooded the streets of Manhattan as they demanded higher wages in order to save the middle class.
And indeed, Verizon Wireless workers have plenty to say. In New York, the protesters say they are “frustrated by Verizon’s failure to live up to its commitment to roll out FiOS in New York” and “unwillingness to settle a contract that saves middle class jobs for nearly 40,000 workers.”
The demonstration produced around 8,000 marchers, beginning at the Verizon store on West 36th St., marching toward the Verizon Wireless location at 125 West 42nd Street.
Alongside the workers, elected officials joined Monday’s march, including New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; New York City Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; City Council Members Julissa Ferreras, Brad Lander, Donovan Richards, and Jumaane Williams; and New York State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh.
And just one week earlier, democratic presidential nominees Sanders and Clinton came and supported the 39,000 workers represented by the union as the strike commenced.
Similar protests took place in Boston this week, as boycotting employees took to the street to hand out leaflets to neighborhood stores that read: “We’re on strike against Verizon Wireless corporate greed. Don’t buy Verizon Wireless.”
According to the unions, Verizon plans to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and rely more on their contract workers. Additionally, the company is looking to eliminate a rule that would prevent employees from working remotely for extended periods of time.
“You’re standing up not just for justice for Verizon workers,” Sanders told striking employees in New York, “You’re standing up for millions of Americans who don’t have a union.”
And the American worker certainly has a lot to stand up against. A recent study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement research found that American workers are a whopping $6.6 trillionshort of what they need to retire comfortable, which is due in part to low wages and corporate greed.