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'This is for Our Families': Children of Striking Verizon Workers Join Picket Line

Children marched on the Verizon strike picket lines to call attention to the corporation's "family-devastating proposals"

Children chanted and marched on the picket line in front of a Verizon store in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo: Hae-Lin Choi/Twitter)

From Indianapolis to Philadelphia, there were new, younger voices joining the usual chant on the Verizon strike picket lines on Saturday: "What do we want? A contract! When do we want it? Now!"

Children of striking workers joined their parents for 25 nationwide "Family Day" protests organized by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), one of the unions behind the strike.

Holding cotton candy, balloons, and handmade protest signs, the children called for what their parents have asked for from the start: a fair contract, keeping their jobs in their communities, and putting a stop to pension cuts and offshoring of middle-class jobs.

"Despite $1.5 billion in monthly profits and a record $39 billion in profits over the last three years, Verizon is trying to force concessions that would devastate families and kill good jobs," as CWA put it in a statement.

And as Alex Gourevitch wrote in Jacobin this week, Verizon's middle class workers "are simply trying to keep what they already have."

The Family Day protests were the latest in a series of nationwide actions that have drawn attention to the workers' plight and their struggle against "corporate greed."

Saturday was also the strike's 39th day, and as the strike drags on, families are struggling, as they are not only going without their Verizon salaries but the billion-dollar corporation went so far as to cut their health insurance on May 1. Supporters have been asked to donate to a fund to help these workers as the strike continues on.

Even as the strike approaches the 6-week mark, Verizon has been dismissive of its workers, even going so far as to call in armed guards on union representatives when they discovered a massive offshoring operation in the Philippines during a fact-finding trip.

Labor secretary Thomas Perez is currently mediating discussions between the unions and Verizon executives, who agreed this week to resume negotiations.

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