Socialist Worker

LETTERS: ‘One day longer, one day stronger’ at Verizon strike

Issue No. 2505

Verizon strikers in New York on Monday

Verizon strikers in New York on Monday (Pic: All-Nite Images)

Nearly 40,000 of us at Verizon telecoms in the US have been on strike for six weeks. This is a big battle for all US workers.

The strike is being watched closely by the media, the whole labour movement—and by the bosses’ side too.

Verizon is a very profitable company. It made £27 billion profit in the past three years but the bosses want more.

They want a workforce that is prepared to live away from home for weeks at a time and go wherever they want, whenever they want.

You might be sent to an area hundreds of miles away from your home to do an installation. You’d stay there three weeks, be back at home for a month then off to another area for three weeks.

We’ve had support from very many groups of workers—firefighters, steel workers, finance workers, teachers, hospital workers—lots of people. It’s what has keep us going.

The company is fighting very hard. At the beginning of May the bosses took away our health insurance. That’s a big thing here.

They have used managers of course to do some of our work, but they have also brought in hundreds of scabs. Maybe 1,000.

But they are not efficient and they sometimes cause a lot of damage to the network.

Last week a brother was hit by a scab truck on a picket line in Massachusetts. It’s the second time it has happened in the state.

The truck drew up to the pickets and then lurched forward. The company said the pickets had got too close!

My union, the CWA, has agreed to a department of labour mediator coming in to run talks.

I’m a bit nervous about this. In 2011 we had mediation and it ended with us making lots of concessions. We can’t do that this time.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us to keep it going. We have a chant on the picket line, “One day longer, one day stronger”.

Raymond, Verizon striker, New York

Give to the Verizon strikers’ solidarity fund at

Our school walkout got battered—but still won

Reading your school student strikes article (Socialist Worker, 11 May) reminded me of a small protest I led at school for girls to be allowed to play football.

They relented in the end. It was a disaster—we got battered—but still we won the right to play!

I was also involved in organising sixth form students to go to an anti student loans demo in York on a Wednesday afternoon

—when usually there was sport but no academic classes.

We were hauled up in front of the principal and threatened with expulsion.

He knew who the ringleaders were as the student union president grassed us up. We survived without being expelled, but the president got his marching orders, and new union reps were voted in!

Peta Rosenberg, on Facebook

Our ‘storm of protest’ saved our leisure pass

Wirral Labour council informed me and 413 other retired council workers in March that they were taking away our Passport for Life due to budget cuts.

These give free entry to council-run leisure centres—in recognition of long service—on retirement.

But we were told that from 1 April it would no longer be valid and would now cost £29 per month.

I decided a campaign was needed to reinstate them, and started by contacting the Unison union to make contact with other retired workers affected.

At the first meeting in a community hall 15 came along. We organised an action plan. By mid April 45 retired workers had joined the campaign.

There was not a lot of enthusiasm at this stage to “storm the town hall”.

We wrote letters to MPs and to Jeremy Corbyn explaining what his Labour Party on the Wirral were up to.

We also pushed for the north west region of Unison to give backing for a legal challenge, which we got on the 10 May.

Just six days later the council did a U-turn due to a “storm of protest”. We forced the council leader to admit that “the council got this one wrong”.

The union has taken the majority of the credit in the press but it acted almost solely due to the pressure from below. The success lay in the organisation of 45 people taking concerted and co-ordinated action.

Norman Meddle, Give Us back our Passports for Life, campaign organiser

Let’s go all Robin Hood on housing

The current London housing crisis is fuelling inequality for the coming generations. We need to teach our children that political activism is the key to changing their future.

We should campaign for rent controls, against buy to let mortgages, against foreign property investment and don’t even get me started on inheritance tax.

We need to be getting all Robin Hood about this by increasing tax on large savings and using the money to invest in housing.

London will remain at its core unfair and unequal until sweeping economic and political changes are made.

I once thought education could transform the future of our young people, now I know we have a lot more work to do.

Elizabeth Cooke, North London

Refugees poll is welcome

Despite the best efforts of politicians and the media to make us hate and fear refugees, a new poll shows the limit of their power. Over three quarters of the public are willing to see refugees move into their area.

And 70 percent say the government should do more to help those fleeing war and persecution.

Sasha Simic, East London

Corbyn must fight the right

Jeremy Corbyn is the only reason that I would vote for Labour again. I’m a 64 years old active socialist and trade unionist.

It’s about time all Labour MPs pulled together to fight this Tory government.

Paul Harris, on Facebook

The majority of Labour Party candidates for whom we have the opportunity to vote—for national and local government—are unsupportable.

All that many of us could achieve by voting Labour is to create more elected opponents of Jeremy Corbyn.

Phil Johns, on Facebook

Justice for the 96 families

when will South Yorkshire Police and any others see the inside of a court room over Hillsborough? They smeared Liverpool fans, imposed a cover up and treated the families of those killed appallingly.

I hope there’s not the whitewash and hollow apologies there was over Bloody Sunday in 1972 when the British army murdered 14 civilians in Derry.

Hillsborough families may be waiting a long time.

Robert Gillan, Glasgow

Your words insult Syrians

Your article talks about “Syria’s civil war”.

It’s a revolution, not a civil war. You insult the Syrians fighting dictator Bashar al-Assad when you reduce their struggle to a communal one.

Dick Gregory, on Facebook

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Article information

Tue 24 May 2016, 16:05 BST
Issue No. 2505
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