Verizon, who has recently been quite happy to secretly turn over millions of loyal Americans’ phone records to the government (and then lie about doing so!), now has a much more difficult choice to make about what’s right. Do they cater to anti-union bias and Wall Street profit-grabbing? Or do they engage just a little in trying to make America better by not helping to destroy the middle class?
With global operating revenues last year of $106 billion (and only $31 billion in real costs), the company doesn’t feel a need to really engage with its 45,000 striking workers. Last year, Verizon laid off lots of staff — 2500 directly, and nearly 12,000 more volunteered for “incentives” to leave, and they spent a good deal of money in the short term to reduce employee costs. Now, of course, here comes more.
The strike (which doesn’t affect Verizon Wireless, which is a non-union operation), now in its second week, is over old-fashioned cost-cutting based on old reasoning, much like their entire debt-carrying way of running the business: basically Verizon wants to get a stock bounce for making working people pay more of their health care, and getting fewer sick days, and not having job security. So ridiculous — and so politically ill-timed.
But you can watch the Boston Globe prattle on their editorial page about how Verizon workers should suck it up and pay part of their health care costs, just like everyone else. After all, when the Globe’s parent company wanted to cut costs, they decided which printing plant to shutter based on the proximity and density of union workers to the plants. It was a stealth union bust — so the Globe and the New York Times Company, with a long recent history of pay cuts, layoffs and buyouts, really has no moral authority to opine on these matters.