What's new in the 12-day-old union strike against Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ)? Well, today is the big day that the 45,000 striking employees get their chance to protest and the home of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, otherwise known as Union Enemy No. 1, the executive who brought a hard-line approach to contract negotiation from his stint at Verizon Wireless, where unions have little to no influence.
CWA union members held a "funeral for the middle class" last week in front of Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg's home in Nyack, N.Y. (Courtesy CWA)
Later today, striking employees will travel to the upscale town of Mendham Borough, N.J., to protest in front of McAdam's probably-not-modest property, less than a week after taking their cause to Nyack, N.Y., to protest at the home of Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg. The environs of these protests are meant to highlight the disparity between cushy executive lifestyle and the plight of the average working stuff, both to help the unions gain better leverage in the contract negotiations, and remind their own constituents what they are fighting for.
The protest at McAdam's home has been in the works since the strike began, though both sides probably had been hoping the strike would not last long enough for it to actually happen. Verizon already has dismissed the protest as more union theatrics.
Meanwhile, back in New York City, striking employees and their supporters spoke out against a decision by the Panel for Educational Policy in Manhattan to approve a $120 million, two-year contract for Verizon to provide phone and Internet service to area schools. One supporter of the strikers likened a vote to approve the contract to voting to approve the company's concession demands from its unions.
Some strike supporters also tried to sabotage the vote by pointing to an accusation by federal authorities that Verizon allegedly was involved in fraud in connection with theft allegedly committed by an education technology consultant who was arrested last spring. Verizon said it has not been implicated in the theft, and is cooperating with authorities on the fraud allegations.
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