Supporting Teamsters Local 812

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far about joining us on Monday to picket Clare Rose in support of Teamsters Local 812.

Why is it so important that we do this? There is one main reason, along with a number of additional benefits.

First and foremost, this is what unions are all about. Union members look out for one another, and when one is being mistreated, we stand together and say “this is not acceptable.” There is safety in numbers – and there is strength and power. Think of it as the grown-up version of the anti-bullying messages we give our students: be an up-stander, not a bystander.

Last year, when Verizon was threatening to freeze pensions, gut job protections, and force some workers to work away from home for up to two months at a time., many other unions – including ours – stood with them. (click the image below for more pictures).

The result was that wages were increased, pensions and protections were maintained, and previous work rules were upheld. There’s never one single factor that causes an employer to reach a fair agreement, but pressure from the outside (including other unions and the general public) can be a valuable asset for striking workers.

Exactly a year later, we have the chance to help again. What Clare Rose is trying to do is completely abhorrent and we need to support our brothers and sisters.

In addition to the above, there are some additional reasons why we really want to have a good presence on Monday.

It builds support with other unions – Let’s face it, teachers unions have a big target on us these days. When we’re out there supporting other unions, we’re generating positive feelings among other unionists that will come back to us in the future (we heard this A LOT from CWA workers last year)

It’s in our own interest – Every union fight affects us all. If Clare Rose succeeds in breaking this union, it is one step closer to an overall reduction in union strength in this state and this country. This will have very dire consequences for us in the not-too-distant future.

It just feels good – When you’re walking on another unions’ picket line, the one thing that you’ll hear over and over is how much your presence is appreciated. These folks are in a rough place right now, not getting an income and being very unsure what the future holds. If our presence gives them a little mental boost and helps them feel they have support, then that alone should be worth the half hour or so of your time.

So please, join us on Monday, any time between 2:30 and 5:30. Stay for as little as 10 minutes or for as long as you like. The picketing is on William Floyd Parkway, JUST south of the L.I.E.

You don’t have to RSVP, but it would help to get a sense of how many folks are coming if you can reply to this email.

Tomorrow I’ll be sending out details about where to park, what to write on signs if you decide you’d like to make one, and updates about the strike.

Finally, if you’re a beer drinker, please boycott products distributed by Clare Rose until the strike is settled.

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Join Us Wednesday as We Support Striking Verizon Workers

Please join us this Wednesday (April 27th), any time between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm as we walk in solidarity with striking Verizon workers in front of the Verizon Wireless Store at the Smith Haven Mall.

NYSUT has called its locals to support the CWA (Communication Workers of America) and the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), so last week, a group of SWRTA members walked with strikers at the Patchogue location. We were there for about 2 hours in total, with some folks staying less than a half hour, and others a bit longer.

The response we got was overwhelming. The men and women on the line kept telling me again and again how much they appreciated us standing with them and how they’ll be sure to stand with us when we need it.

I also heard from SWR parents and district employees whose spouses are on strike, and they too were incredibly appreciative of our efforts.

The strike continues, so we’re going to to it again, this time in Lake Grove. If you are around this week and available on Wednesday, please try to come by, even if it’s just for a few minutes. As you can see from the pictures, it is definitely okay to bring the kids. Please let me know if you can come, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Walking with Verizon Workers

Please remember, showing support for striking Verizon workers benefits them, benefits us, and benefits working men and women everywhere.

We Are Verizon Workers

As teachers, we may not feel we have a lot in common with folks wverizon-picketers-640x363ho work for Verizon, but
as the strike by the IBEW and CWA enters its second week, it’s worth looking at just how similar our situations are.

Some background: Revenue from Verizon’s landline business continues to decline as more and more people cut the cord and fewer people get new landline phone service. As a result, the company is asking workers to pay more for their healthcare and is looking to freeze pensions, gut job protections, and force some workers to work away from home for up to two months at a time.

A couple of important things – First, although landline revenue is declining, it’s not like the need for these workers has diminished. These men and women are continuing to work their butts off: climbing ladders 40’ in the air, crawling into manholes 6’ underground, and everything in-between; in rain, snow, heat, and cold, to make sure that phone service, a basic need we rely upon, continues uninterrupted.

Second, despite declines in the landline business, Verizon is a money making machine. They netted $39 BILLION over the last three years (that’s not revenue, that’s profit). Last year their CEO made nearly $20 Million, and total compensation for their top executives was over $240 Million from 2010 to 2014.

In other words, we have a group of hardworking, dedicated people, doing a job that serves the public good, who are unfairly being asked to take the brunt of problems not of their making, simply because of the job they chose to do. Sound familiar? 

This is the heart of unionism. It means that we identify with our brothers and sisters in the IBEW and CWA and we stand with them – figuratively and literally. We should support them because it’s the right thing to do, and we should support them out of enlightened self-interest.

This is a great opportunity for our union to build in-roads with our private sector brothers and sisters.  Many of them have been incredibly supportive of us, regarding opt-out, charter schools, and tenure rights.

It would be great for them to see that we are supportive of them in their time of need. And, who knows, we may want to call upon them at some point in the future.

Further, the loss of benefits, job protections, and pensions in the private sector spills over into the public sector and vice-versa – we must stand together. And finally, strong unions benefit everyone – not just union workers: “the solid, family-sustaining wages that unions secure through collective bargaining also put upward pressure on wages throughout the economy. And the protections and high standards demanded by unions influence non-union shops to lift their standards as well.”

HOW TO SUPPORT OUR VERIZON WORKERS

  1. Read up on the strike
    **5 Reasons our friends in the community and all workers should care
    **Stand Up to Verizon

  2. Sign the petition

  3. Stop by a picketing location (see list below) and say hello. Let the Members know you support them. Drop off some water or snacks.

  4. Walk the line. If you’re interested in joining a picket line (even just for a few minutes) you can just show up at any of the locations below, or join together with others.

Nearby Picketing Locations

  • Verizon Garage 1130 Lincoln Avenue Holbrook
  • Verizon Garage 285 Hubbard Avenue Riverhead
  • Verizon Wireless Store Smith Haven Mall Middle Country Road Lake Grove
  • Verizon Wireless Store Gateway Plaza Sunrise Hwy Patchogue