IBEW Local 2222 members voted at their monthly meeting on Oct. 5 to support the occupations opposed to corporate greed in New York and Boston's financial districts.
Labor support for the occupations has been growing. On Oct. 4, the Greater Boston Labor Council passed a strong resolution in support of Occupy Boston. On Oct. 5, the Massachusetts Nurses Association rallied with occupation activists in downtown Boston while a large number of New York union members marched to join with the Wall Street occupation.
The Local 2222 motion for support was presented by Paul Feeney, a Central Office Technician who works at Verizon's 185 Franklin Street headquarters. "It is my hope that our local union offers its full support to the grassroots movement that is sweeping this country," Feeney said. "As we know all too well, the nation's largest corporations, including Verizon, pay zero in federal taxes and effectively shirk their responsibility to our society. This corporate greed, along with the systemic failure of the banks that fund them, has caused enormous suffering, joblessness and homelessness."
"Verizon workers learned once again this summer that we have to take our struggle for fairness to the street," Feeney continued. "Now thousands of people from Wall Street to Boston and throughout this country are doing just that -- and they deserve our support!"
Feeney's motion also called for members of Local 2222 to go to Dewey Sq. on Wed. Oct. 12 to communicate, "Our unwavering support for the occupation activists as they fight corporate greed." The motion passed unanimously.
Verizon workers have been fighting for a new contract since August 7 when 45,000 union members went on strike for more than two weeks. When meaningful negotiations resumed, members returned to work without a contract on August 23. Since then, they have waged a vigorous public campaign to keep pressure on management to bargain in good faith.
"We know that justice won't be won by asking greedy employers for permission or waiting for politicians to pass laws," said Myles Calvey, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2222 and a leader of Verizon telecom workers in New England. "That's why we hope that these young activists will stand their ground in the battle against corporate greed -- on Wall Street and across the country. It is the '99 percent' of us who are facing very similar problems. Only by joining forces, can 'We the People' gain the power to turn our country – and this disastrous economy – around."