As Verizon and unions reach a deal, local protest is called off

A protest scheduled for tomorrow on the Cornell campus has been called off, according to the Tompkins County Workers Center, as Verizon Communications has reached a deal to settle a weeks-long union strike.

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.

“Hats off to the courageous union members who struck Verizon for six weeks and to their families who endured hardship,” said TCWC board member Joe Lawrence.

Local labor activists planned to gather at the Verizon Wireless store in Ithaca’s southwest on Saturday and then march to the Cornell campus to “protest corporate greed and demand a fair contract” outside the Johnson Museum, where a Cornell Board of Trustees meeting would be taking place.

Rally organizers planned the event to coincide with Cornell’s board meeting because Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is a Cornell graduate and member of the university’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee.

“I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute between Verizon’s workers, unions, and management,” according to a statement from U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on Friday afternoon. “The parties are now working to reduce the agreement to writing, after which the proposal will be submitted to CWA and IBEW union members for ratification.”

Tompkins County Workers Center organizer Pete Meyers says the group is pleased that they were “able to organize our members and many community supporters to stand with the strikers on the picket lines.” He hopes the strike, one of the largest in years, “reinforces the resurgence of worker militance we have seen across the country in the last few years.”

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