Local labor activists will rally outside Cornell trustee meeting

Tompkins County Workers Center says Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam may be on campus this weekend for a Cornell Board of Trustees meeting, and they’re organizing a march and rally for Saturday morning.

Update: Saturday’s protest has been canceled

Striking union workers and supporters outside Ithaca's Verizon Wireless store. Photo courtesy TCWC.

Striking union workers and supporters outside Ithaca’s Verizon Wireless store. Photo courtesy TCWC.

Communication Workers of America is on strike against Verizon Communications, and union members and local supporters have been picketing outside Ithaca’s Verizon Wireless store.

Lowell McAdam is a Cornell graduate and member of the university’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee, and protest organizers say he may be at a board meeting at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art this Saturday morning.

Tompkins County Workers Center organizers say supporters will gather in Ithaca’s southwest at the Verizon Wireless store at 8:45am this Saturday, May 28, and leave “no later than 9:15am” to march up to campus. They will “protest corporate greed and demand a fair contract” outside the Johnson Museum starting at 10:45am. “A delegation of strikers and community supporters will present a statement to the Trustees,” TCWC said in a statement.

Cornell's Johnson Museum will be the scene of Saturday's protest. 14850 file photo.

Cornell’s Johnson Museum will be the scene of Saturday’s protest. 14850 file photo.

“This struggle is not only about the 40,000 striking technicians and other Verizon employees,” says TCWC founder Pete Meyers. “It is for all of us. It is all about taking a stand against corporate greed and for preserving middle class wages and benefits not only at this company but throughout the country.”

Verizon has given generously to Cornell, including a $50 million gift last February to the new Cornell Tech campus in New York City to “support the development of the Verizon Executive Education Center.” At the time, McAdam said, “Our donation to Cornell Tech is an investment in the future and fits perfectly with our mission to use communications technologies to solve big challenges and make people’s lives better.”

Organizers expect “hundreds of striking workers and community supporters” to participate in the march and rally, and have published a rough timetable of when the march will reach different spots along its route, for those who’d like to join midway. They will be walking north along Route 13 from the Verizon store, east along Green Street past the Tompkins County Public Library, up East State Street, left onto Stewart Avenue, right up Campus Road, left onto West Avenue, then up University Avenue to the Johnson Museum.

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