MTD Backs CWA Members (8/16)

 

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The Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, has posted the following story:

 

Cohen, Maly, Duncan Rally Striking CWA Members in Virginia

 

Addressing more than 300 union members and their families in a sea of red shirts, CWA President Larry Cohen stated the strike against Verizon is “a battle to save the middle class.”

 

Cohen was one of a series of speakers that included CWA Vice President for Telecommunications and Technologies (and MTD Board Member) Ralph Maly and MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan. More than 45,000 CWA and IBEW members are walking picket lines from New England to Virginia after Verizon called for extreme givebacks in pensions, health care, vacations and other benefits. Both the CWA and IBEW are MTD affiliates.

Cohen reiterated that the CWA and IBEW are in this fight together. He said the unions are ready and willing to negotiate with the company, but Verizon continues to insist on rolling back working conditions and benefits some of which were negotiated 50 years ago. “Do you want to go back to the way things were in 1961?” Cohen asked. An immediate and loud “No!” was the answer.

 

Cohen answered accusations by Verizon that striking members are sabotaging lines. “We have no place for such activities and have made that clear,” he told the cheering crowd. “We made this company strong and want to go back to work!”

 

Maly referred to Verizon’s print ad campaign proclaiming it is fair to seek repeal of collective bargaining agreements from as far back as the 1960s. He held up a sign reading “Evil” which brought cheers from the crowd that included members from several other MTD affiliates such as IBEW, IUOE, IUPAT, OPEIU and SIU.

 

Duncan, who also serves as president of the Northern Virginia Labor Federation, reminded the strikers that their fellow union members will be with them on the lines and in solidarity until they have a fair contract.

 

CWA and IBEW members hit the bricks when their contract expired on August 7. This is the first strike against Verizon since 2000.

 

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