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Senator Sanders Makes a Surprise Stop at CWA Verizon Rally in Philadelphia

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Last night, Senator Bernie Sanders joined CWA members rallying outside the Verizon building in Philadelphia. He called out the company for being more "concerned with compensation packages for CEOs than about the needs of hard working people who want nothing more than to be able to live in dignity and security and bring their kids up in a decent way."

"It is not acceptable to me that when workers form a union and negotiate for an entire year they can't yet get a contract. That's not what democracy is supposed to be about. That's what rotten labor law is about, and we're going to change that," Sanders said.

Senator Bernie Sanders with CWA District 2-13 Vice President
Ed Mooney.

Hundreds of CWA and IBEW members rallied to put Verizon on notice: it's time to get serious about bargaining. CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney blasted Verizon's proposal to contract out and ship even more jobs overseas and the company's demand that technicians be forced to work in other states for long period of time, away from their families and children.

Last week, CWA members rallied, leafleted and protested across Verizon territory in several days of "Stand Up to Verizon" actions.

More than 600 CWAers, members of Local 1101, 1102 and other downstate locals, rallied in front of the company's headquarters, calling on Verizon to negotiate a fair contract. They were joined by local elected officials, union allies and other supporters.

Lots of elected officials were there to show their support, including New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and CounciL Member Ben Kallos. Union allies included the president of the New York State AFL-CIO, who told Verizon members, "You are not alone in this fight," and other union activists and leaders.

Local 1101 President Keith Purce said Verizon still had concessionary demands on the table, despite making $1.8 billion a month in profits, and thanked the members, "who continue to fight for what's right every day." Local 1102 President Steve Lawton talked about the dignity and respect CWA members deserve, and the fight to win those rights on the job every day. And Pat Welsh, head of District 1's Retired Members Council and a Local 1101 retiree, acknowledged the retirees who keep coming to rallies and protests and pickets, because they know this "fight is their fight too."

In White Plains, about 400 members of Local 1103 and supporters rallied outside the Verizon building, determined to take on the "Goliath of Corporate Greed," said Secretary-Treasurer Joe Mayhew. Local President Kevin Sheil reported on bargaining, and many elected officials, including White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, NYS Senate Candidate Andrew Falk, Westchester Democratic Majority Leader Catherine Borgia and other legislators, and many union allies.

From Virginia to Washington, D.C. to New Jersey, at "Stand Up to Verizon" actions, CWAers protested Verizon's greed and its refusal to bargain a fair contract. Outside Verizon Wireless stores and at other locations throughout District 2-13, CWA activists, Jobs with Justice supporters and other allies called for "good jobs, not corporate pay."

Senator Sanders makes clear which side he's on, joining CWA members at a rally in Philadelphia.


Clockwise, from top: Members of Locals 2222, 2336 and 2300, plus Jobs with Justice activists; calling out Verizon greed; Local 13000 say "we need a contract;" members of Local 1000 in Hamilton, N.J.; "Stronger together" was the message from Local 1000; CWA Local 1103 President Kevin Sheil at the "Stand Up to Verizon" rally; members of Local 13500 East; Local 1101 members rally outside Verizon headquarters; Members and retirees of Local 2201; Local 2201 members call for good jobs,
not extreme executive pay.