The IBEW and the CWA led some 45,000 union member Verizon employees out on strike in what is, by any measure, the worst of times for such a job action. Ummm, that is, I guess, unless you happen to be a millionaire football player. But these men and women are just hard working average earners, like most of us.
Taking such a step in the depths of this ugly economic downturn tells us all we need to know about the bad faith, cut-throat bargaining strategy the company has pursued. The recitation of the specific dollar numbers of Verizon profits, and their greedy grab for more from the employees, could never speak as eloquently as has the sheer bravery and solidarity of the union members who have stood together so strongly so far. If you want to be refreshed on the numbers, you can find them recounted in an earlier post, Can You Hear Me, Now?
What we do know that matters, however, is the hard part is yet to come. All that has been won so far is an agreement concerning a framework for more bargaining. If this is progress, the travails along the road ahead are pretty well mapped out.
As for the union's strategy, well, I heard they declined Obama's offer to help. They don't want to waste time arguing whether to give up five digits or their whole left hand.