Several spoke about foreclosures, the effects of budget cuts on the social safety network, the job-killing Korea Free Trade Act (supported by Schrader), precarious family budgets and homelessness. A staffer from Mr. Schrader's office listened and took notes.
The striking unions at Verizon made it clear from the beginning that they might return to work without a settlement if they were convinced management would get serious at the bargaining table.
But the 45,000 union members returning to work on Tuesday after a two-week strike would do well to remember the words of Verizon’s Marc Reed when picket lines were taken down Saturday. Said Reed: “We remain committed to our objectives.”
The company’s vice president for human resources wasn’t just referring to Verizon’s onerous giveback demands—which will still be on the table, even if winnowed down, when bargaining with the Communications Workers (CWA) and Electrical Workers (IBEW) resumes next weekend.
Reed is a major architect of Verizon’s long-term de-unionization strategy that has already achieved the “objective” of cutting union density in half—to only 30 percent within the company.
In a fashion that created confusion and some consternation over the weekend, CWA and IBEW told their growing network of labor and community supporters to end public protests directed at Verizon Wireless (VZW), where Reed was long a top executive.
Many local groups had already “adopted” a local VZW retail store for their continuing attention. The back-to-work agreement negotiated with Verizon only suspends striker picketing at these locations, but the message immediately conveyed to Jobs with Justice chapters and other union members was that “support activities should now end,” as UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm put it in a “stand down” message sent to hundreds of activists Saturday night.