On the 10th day of the most important labor fight in America, striking Verizon worker Alexandra Camacho stood on a streetcorner in downtown Brooklyn and vowed to stay out as long as necessary.
"They want to strip from us everything we’ve won in the past," the slender Camacho said. "They even want to take away our Martin Luther King holiday. Well, that’s not gonna happen."
Hundreds of Camacho’s fellow workers from Verizon’s Brooklyn call center walked the picket line behind her in red shirts. They chanted "No Contract, No Work" to the rhythmic beat of cowbells and drums.
Across the Eastern seaboard, 45,000 Verizon employees have hit the streets–at a time when labor strikes were supposed to be extinct.
Company officials say the unions must face reality.
"As consumers continue to cut the cord or choose competitors’ wireline services, the company must make meaningful changes to its wireline cost structure," says one official Verizon response to the union.
But ask yourself: Why would so many workers risk their livelihood in the midst of a stubborn recession, with more than 9 million unemployed?
Because Verizon has left them no choice, the workers say.
This is a company, after all, that is swimming in cash.