Verizon Strike Surges as Workers Demand Right to 'Make a Decent Living'

Hundreds of protests took place around the country on Thursday as the Verizon strike entered its fourth week, with workers in Albuquerque, New Mexico converging outside the annual shareholder meeting to fight for reforms of the company’s labor policies.

Striking employees say the company and CEO Lowell McAdams are refusing to pay them livable wages and have made no effort to stop offshoring and outsourcing jobs—shortchanging not just the workers, but the customers who are losing out on service because of the strike.

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“Verizon’s CEO makes 243 times more than the average worker, while customers in towns up and down the East Coast can’t get the quality service the company promised them,” said Richard Hesterhagen, a Verizon employee and shareholder who is participating in the work stoppage. “Striking workers aren’t just fighting to protect good middle-class jobs, we’re fighting for a better Verizon that invests in communities.”

According to a press statement, worker-shareholders say they will vote in favor of proposals—crafted by unions including the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and endorsed by investors like CalPERS—that seek to improve the company’s policies and increase accountability for its governance. That includes ensuring that severance agreements be subject to shareholder approval.

Fifteen people were arrested on Thursday outside of the meeting in Albuquerque, as the protesters unveiled a 70-foot banner reading, “Verizon: Good Jobs, No Greed” across Rio Grande Boulevard and laid down to block traffic. Others entered the meeting to deliver more than 300,000 petitions calling for reforms.

Protests also took place in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Atlanta, Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, Austin, Dallas, Indianapolis, Nashville, Knoxville, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.