Solidarity, Baby.

Workers of the world, unite!
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders paid an impromptu visit to a Verizon workers’ picket line in Brooklyn on Wednesday after being endorsed by New York City transit workers as he tried to wrest a bit of union support from rival Hillary Clinton.

The Brooklyn-born Sanders addressed an enthusiastic crowd of striking workers from Verizon Communications Inc as “brothers and sisters” and thanked them for their courage in standing up to what he characterized as corporate greed.

It was a scene tailor-made for the U.S. senator from Vermont, who has focused on income inequality in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders is trying to catch up with Clinton, the front-runner, in Tuesday’s primary in New York, a state both candidates have called home.

Workers cheered as Sanders criticized the mammoth communications company for wanting to take away health benefits, outsource jobs and avoid federal income taxes, calling it “just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans.”


ColoComment said...

NRO had some info on the Verizon strikers:

Grim said...

$130,000 a year in wages and benefits? Maybe Akryod's character was right: 'Work less, make more.'

Eric Blair said...

In the NYC area, that's chump (or trump) change. And knowing what I do of union payscales, 130k a year might be for the 20 year guys. No a new line man is making that. So it's a bit misleading.

But honestly, I don't blame them for fighting over their benefits.

Grim said...

True that. It's the ironic opposite side of the 'inequality' debate that Democrats usually don't want to acknowledge. They're happy with "How can it be fair that 1% of the people get 90% of the money?" But not: "How can you say it's fair that you union dudes get benefits nobody born since the late 70s can even dream of having?"

ColoComment said...

The $130/yr is average. I would have been happier to also have seen a range for a better picture. If you click through the link at the wage number, you can see what Verizon has proposed, which is apparently deemed not good enough.
The strikers are asking for a bigger slice of a barely profitable pie.
(a) Should the employees in the other, more profitable, Verizon divisions take less in order that the landline folks get more?
(b) If Verizon raises prices to the landline consumer to offset an increase in strikers' total compensation, it will drive some of those landline customers to drop the service altogether. Which could also affect Verizon cell profits if the customer also buys that.
If the strikers believe that they and their contribution to the Verizon bottom line are so valuable, they should gather up some financing and do a leveraged buy-out and see if it's as valuable as they think. you can probably tell, I'm not terribly sympathetic.

Grim said...

As your NRO link said, it's just a labor dispute. I don't know that there are any great moral victories to be had here. I just like Grosse Pointe Blank references. :)

douglas said...

Grim's reaction to the 130k figure and Eric's note about remembering that it's NYC we're talking about brings to mind a tangential issue- One reason it's so inappropriate to address many of these issues at the national level is that $130k for a family of four in NYC isn't super-rich, it's comfortable. Take that number to Arkansas, say, and suddenly you're super-rich elite 1%'er. There's even a pretty fair amount of disparity geographically in a large state like California- you can't compare incomes in San Francisco to Salinas and expect it to make much sense. Just another reason central planning doesn't work. One size don't fit all very well.

MikeD said...

Very true. For example, I work as an IT professional in Augusta, GA. And there's a word for people who make as much money as I do in New York City or San Francisco... "homeless". Not that the homeless make as much money as I do, just that those who make what I make cannot afford an apartment in those cities. But in this area, I make a decent wage. At one point, my father-in-law made me an offer to work for his company out in LA. I told him that what he'd need to pay in order to make that sustainable was a heck of a lot more than he was able to offer. And I like the man. And were it not for the fact that they wanted on-site support, I'd have JUMPED at the chance to work there remotely. Because he could pay me half what he could pay a college student to do the job, and it'd be a huge pay jump for me in this area. Frankly, I think the reason more employers don't go in for telecommuting (for the jobs that can) is that they are tied to the office model that says a worker without a manager looming over them is unproductive.