19:22 GMT +322 November 2019
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    A Verizon wireless cellphone store is seen in Falls Church, Virginia, December 30, 2014.

    Verizon CEO Slams Sanders as Senator Joins 40,000 Employees on Picket Lines

    © AFP 2019 / SAUL LOEB
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    Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam responded to candidate Bernie Sanders’ accusations of greed, calling the politician’s views "contemptible" and not based on reality.

    McAdam's statement was posted on LinkedIn on Wednesday, the same day the Democratic presidential hopeful joined almost 40,000 Verizon workers in Brooklyn in one of the largest strikes in the United States in recent years.

    "Verizon is one of the largest, most profitable corporations in this country, but they refuse to sit down and negotiate a fair contract?" Sanders told the strikers. "Just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans."

    McAdam reacted to the accusations by not addressing them. Instead, claiming that Verizon has paid over $15.6 billion in taxes over the last two years, the CEO asserted that, as one of the leading capital investors in corporate America, the company benefits the country on many levels.

    "In the last two years, Verizon has invested some $35 billion in infrastructure — virtually all of it in the US — and paid out more than $16 billion in dividends to the millions of average Americans who invest in our stock," the CEO said.

    While calling attention to Verizon's benefits to shareholders instead of addressing the complaints of its workers, he insisted that his company's investments have helped to develop networks "forming the infrastructure for the innovation economy of the 21st century," challenging the Vermont Senator to name a company that's done more to invest in America.  

    McAdam suggested that Sanders did not base his statements on facts, choosing to make an easy target out of a big company, instead of considering the "complex forces operating in today's technologically advanced and hyper-competitive economy."

    "We deserve better from people aspiring to be President," the CEO asserted.

    Meanwhile, almost 40,000 Verizon workers, represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), went on a major strike Wednesday morning. The strikers object to proposed cuts to pension benefits and rule changes that will open doors to increased outsourcing.

    "Verizon is attacking our medical, our pensions, disability, overtime — all of our compensation is under attack," a CWA shop steward from New York City told Danny Katch of the Socialist Worker.  

    One of the main complaints is the company forcing changes in transfer rights, legalizing the geographical transfer of workers anywhere in the company for up two months at a time.

    "This model favors younger workers who are not tied down and have much lower expectations for how they should be treated within the company," the striking worker stated, "The stakes are very high. If the union accepts this horrible transfer concession, it's going to spell the death of the union."


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