UPDATE – 4:42 p.m.: The demonstration has been canceled as an agreement was reached between Verizon and Communication Workers of America, the union representing the strikers. Here’s a statement from the Tompkins County Worker’s Center:
(Ithaca, NY) Saturday’s march and rally organized by the Tompkins County Workers’ Center (TCWC) and the CWA (Communication Workers of America) in support of striking union members at Verizon has been called off as the unions and Verizon have come to “an agreement in principle” on a new contract.
The CWA is pleased with the agreement. According to the Union: “Striking CWA members have achieved our major goals of improving working families’ standard of living, creating good union jobs in our communities and achieving a first contract for wireless retail store workers.” For the full statement see http://www.cwa-union.org/news/
Jake Lake, President of CWA Local 1111 that represents a good portion of the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes, had this to say: “Thanks to all the members, families, other labor unions, coalition partners, and the general public for the outstanding support in our fight for a fair contract against Verizon. When we stand together and fight, we win!”
The agreement settles the six week strike by close to 40,000 workers. “Hats off to the courageous union members who struck Verizon for six weeks and to their families who endured hardship,” said TCWC Board Member, Joe Lawrence.
“We are pleased that the Workers’ Center was able to organize our members and many community supporters to stand with the strikers on the picket lines,” said Pete Meyers, TCWC Coordinator. “One of the largest strikes in the last decade, we hope this reinforces the resurgence of worker militance we have seen across the country in the last few years.”
Below is an excerpt of a statement released by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez:“Today, I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute between Verizon’s workers, unions, and management. The parties are now working to reduce the agreement to writing, after which the proposal will be submitted to CWA and IBEW union members for ratification.
ITHACA, NY – Four Tompkins County Legislators and other local officials are expected to join a large force of Verizon strikers and their supporters as they protest Verizon CEO and Cornell Trustee Lowell McAdam on Saturday, according to a news release from the Tompkins County Worker’s Center.
Protests against Verizon have been ongoing both locally and across the country since April 13. Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers have been striking against Verizon’s attempts to outsource labor to other countries, according to the news release.
As previously reported by The Voice, workers had been working without contracts since June. Strikers say that despite concessions from the union on healthcare costs, the company was not meeting the union’s demands for pay increases, more reasonable hours of work and job security.
The demonstration will begin at around 8:45 a.m. near the Verizon Wireless Store at 720 South Meadow Street in Ithaca, leaving that location at 9:15 a.m. to march toward the Johnson Art Museum at Cornell by 10:30 a.m. The Cornell Board of Trustees will be holding their meeting at the museum.
“This strike is important because the actions of Verizon are indicative of a larger societal trend that would lower standards for workers across America,” said Pete Meyers, Coordinator of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, in the news release. “We are holding this march and rally to support the brave women and men on strike and to voice our opposition to Verizon’s corporate attack on good union jobs.”
Among the local officials expected to join the rally are:
- Martha Robertson, Tompkins County Legislator
- Dooley Kiefer, Tompkins County Legislator
- Will Bubank, Tompkins County Legislator
- Anna Kelles, Tompkins County Legislator
- Cynthia Brock, City of Ithaca Councilperson
- Pat Leary, Town of Ithaca Board Member
Leslie Danks Burke, who is contesting Tom O’Mara’s State Senate seat, attended a similar rally last month.