Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) striking workforce's frustration continues to rise as 15 people were arrested outside of the company's shareholders meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The arrests came as over 250 protesters dropped a 70-foot banner reading "Verizon: Good Jobs, No Greed" across the busy Rio Grande Blvd and then laid down on the banner to block traffic.
Since April 13, members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers comprising 36,000 of Verizon's wireline workforce in the Northeast have been on strike after being unable to come to an agreement over various issues related to pensions, healthcare and outsourcing jobs to other countries such as the Philippines, Mexico and other locations.
In tandem with the protest, over 350,000 petitions from Verizon workers and customers were delivered at the shareholder meeting today.
Additionally, thousands of people are protesting outside of Verizon wireless stores across the country in an expansion of the support for strikers. In a number of cities including St. Louis, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and Dallas, protestors are handing out leaflets, carrying banners, and holding speak outs in support of striking workers. Meanwhile, in New York City, 2,000 striking workers and supporters plan to march on a Verizon wireless store near Wall Street.
Some of Verizon's shareholders have also expressed concerns about the strike and the direction of the company.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who leads a pension fund that invests heavily in Verizon stock, sent a letter to CEO Lowell McAdams urging a mutually beneficial resolution to the strike before it had an impact on the perception and profitability of the company.
Despite these efforts, all six of this year's shareholder's proposals were defeated during the meeting.
Among the proposals was one that called for an enhanced executive stock retention policy from the IBEW Pension Benefit Fund. That proposal was defeated with only about 7.4 percent of shareholders voting in favor.
Likewise, a proposal from a member of the Association of BellTel Retirees to expand the company's current severance approval policy was defeated for the fourth consecutive year, with approximately 31.3 percent of the vote for and 68.7 percent of the vote against.
- see this CWA release
- here's Verizon's shareholder release
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