Disgruntled Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless workers and members of the labor union Communications Workers of America will be joining the "Occupy Wall Street" protest Friday in protest of "Verizon's corporate greed."
In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, the CWA said that about 1,000 Verizon workers will meet at Verizon's headquarters in downtown Manhattan near Wall Street at 4 p.m. ET and march past Liberty Plaza/Zuccotti Park where "Occupy Wall Street" protesters are gathered. The march will end at a Verizon Wireless dealer on Broad Street. Many of the protesters are then expected to return to Liberty Park and stay through the night.
Verizon's union workers have been at odds with the company over pension and benefit cuts as they try to negotiate a new contract. On August 7, some 45,000 workers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states walked off the job. Workers eventually went back to work on August 22, but they had not finalized a contract with Verizon management. Workers are currently working under the terms of the old contract.
The UWA, which is organizing the protest, said that, "Occupy Wall Street has focused the world's attention on the destructive power of corporate greed. Together, we are demanding that the American economy start to work for the 99 percent again, not just the top 1 percent."
Verizon spokesman Rich Young said that the company understands that the Occupy Wall Street group has concerns and frustrations about the U.S. economy and government. But he said that calling out Verizon on these issues is misguided.
"As one of the nation's largest employers, we take pride in offering our employees a great place to work," he said. "We offer more than 195,000 employees great jobs with competitive wages and benefits."
He added that the company is still negotiating with labor unions to come up with a satisfactory new contract for its union workers. And he said that in the end, Verizon will offer its employees a competitive wage and benefit package.
"Unfortunately, the unions have joined together with The Occupy group as part of their misdirected outreach," he said. "We hope the Occupy stays clear of the union's labor campaign that is only trying to spread misinformation and misleading facts."
Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless will report its third-quarter financial results on Friday morning.