Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Support Verizon Strikers: NYC Teachers From GEM and other Groups Join Picket Line

Leaflet prepared by CWA for teachers joining picket line

Message to UFT/AFT - You Are NOT a Union of Professionals - and Never Will Be
Yes, teachers today are further away from being viewed and treated as professionals than they have ever been. With teacher unions becoming the main target of the corporate ed deformers, it is time to connect the rank and file teacher to other rank and filers (as opposed to the leadership which expresses "support" for other unions but by harping on the "professional" theme creates a sense of separation from the guy at Verizon who climbs a pole.

Yesterday afternoon I joined a bunch of GEMers and teachers from other UFT activist groups at the Verizon picket line on West St. in the shadow of the World Trade Center site. You see, we can't be only about our own narrow interests as teachers and I'm proud to be associated with a group that clearly recognizes that. That we are young, old and in the middle is clear from the photos.

We were also joined by my friend Joyce, a retired CWA worker who knowing we were coming had the CWA prepare a special "Thank you Teachers" flyer for us explaining the givebacks being demanded. Teachers need to start making the connection that a victory for Verizon workers affects us just like the Regan firing of Patco air traffic controllers 30 years ago has impacted the entire labor movement.

And one more thing. The  imbalance of wealth and corporate control is due to a large part to the lack of a counter force. And labor is the only real potential force out there. But labor union leaders have continually played footsie and made sure to dampen any militancy that might  arise among workers. The cuts to social programs in this country will lead to London calling on our shores real soon.

Video updates will be added as they come in. Here is the first one.

Cheers as Teamsters pull their people out in solidarity

Reports from the picket line
Gloria Brandman, GEM
The Verizon rally was very spirited, energetic and loud. There were approximately 15 UFT members that I saw but others may have arrived after I left. Teachers were well received and Joyce, a CWA member, gave us each a flier with a huge headline stating: THANK YOU TEACHERS! It went on to explain that Verizon had made it clear that they want to remove almost every protection their employees have, leaving no other option for the CWA and EW then to go on strike. We engaged in conversations with the workers which were periodically interrupted by shouts of "scab", boos and whistles as people went in and out of the building. One woman explained that some of the supervisors who had to go to work were really in solidarity with the workers and would give them silent smiles. However, Verizon has brought in many scabs form other states, paying room, board and airfare. When we departed, we were thanked by almost everyone we passed for joining with them on the picket line.

Angel Gonzalez, GEM
As teachers, we're fighting for the same as telephone workers: labor rights, pensions, medical benefits, quality services, adequate wages and to halt CEO corporate/government corruption.

Support the CWA Verizon workers' strike.

Pete, Angel, Kelley join Verizon workers

The crew wearing UFT "painter" caps: Gloria, Julie, Sam, ,Joan

Kelley, Teachers Unite on right

Pete, ICE

I don't have my scanner set up but here are a few shots of the CWA leaflet.

So, find a Verizon picket line and stop by to say hello.  And honk your horn in support if you pass one by.


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

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