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Workers Vanguard No. 1088

22 April 2016
The closing date for news in this issue is 19 April.

Workers Vanguard

Democrats Are No Friends of Labor

Victory to Verizon Strike!

APRIL 18—Picket lines went up at Verizon locations from Massachusetts to Virginia on April 13, as some 39,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) walked off the job after working without a contract since August. Verizon is demanding new health care and retirement concessions from the union. What has most enraged the workers is the company’s attacks on job security—threatening to close call centers and to outsource work to non-union contractors—and its demand to be able to transfer workers more than 35 miles from their current work location for months at a time. All working people in this country have a stake in this struggle. A victory by Verizon workers could be the spark to begin a real fightback against the one-sided class war waged by America’s capitalist bosses against workers.

This is the biggest strike in the U.S. since the last Verizon strike in 2011. Verizon is not just aiming to get more concessions from the workers. It wants to crush the unions and to gut Verizon’s unionized workforce altogether, overwhelmingly concentrated in the landline and FiOS broadband business. Since last July, Verizon has been training some 20,000 non-union employees to act as scabs. The contempt of the company for its workforce was exemplified on April 14 in Gaithersburg, Maryland, when a Verizon company lawyer hit two picketing CWA Local 2108 members with his Porsche, sending one to the hospital!

The telecommunications giant is geared up for war. But the workers are also determined to fight and win. Workers Vanguard salesmen have gone to the picket lines and rallies to express our support for the strike. Many workers told us that they had been itching to strike ever since their contract expired last year. They made clear that they didn’t want a repeat of what happened in 2011, when workers were sent back to their jobs by the union leadership without a contract.

These workers understand that without their unions they would be left at the mercy of a capitalist boss that wants to treat the workforce like slaves on a plantation. Verizon raked in some $39 billion in profits over the last three years and is hungry for more. Its heavily unionized wireline business is much less profitable than its wireless sector, which generates over 70 percent of the company’s total revenue. Verizon has received billions in government subsidies to expand its fiber-optic broadband service in the Northeast, but has stalled on doing so. Several striking workers told WV that the company is holding off on building out its profitable FiOS network because the workforce is unionized. Verizon wants to smash its unions so it can have a “flexible” workforce, akin to the 70,000 unorganized workers in its wireless section who get far lower wages and benefits. (read on)

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About the ICL




V.I. LeninLeon TrotskyThe International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is a proletarian, revolutionary and internationalist tendency committed to the task of building Leninist parties as national sections of a democratic-centralist international. Our aim is the achievement of new October Revolutions—nothing else, nothing other, nothing less. The ICL bases itself on Marxist historical, dialectical materialism and seeks in particular to carry forward the international working-class perspectives of Marxism developed in the theory and practice of the Bolshevik leaders V. I. Lenin and L. D. Trotsky and embodied in the decisions of the first four Congresses of the Communist International as well as key documents of the Fourth International such as the Transitional Program (1938) and "War and the Fourth International" (1934). We also look to James P. Cannon, a leader of the early American Communist Party who was won to Trotskyism and went on to become a principal founder of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), working in close collaboration with Leon Trotsky. The origins of the ICL are in the Spartacist League/U.S., which began as the Revolutionary Tendency in the SWP and was bureaucratically expelled in 1963. Our ICL "Declaration of Principles and Some Elements of Program" was modeled on the Declaration of Principles adopted at the 1966 founding conference of the SL/U.S.

Adopted at the Third International Conference of the ICL in early 1998, the declaration presently exists in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, German, Russian, Polish, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Greek, Korean and Tagalog. In this post-Soviet period, marked by a deep regression of proletarian consciousness, we continue to be guided by Trotsky's statement that "the task of the vanguard is above all not to let itself be carried along by the backward flow; it must swim against the current." Reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution!