Verizon Workers Rally At Station Square, March To Downtown

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Striking Verizon workers gathered for a rally in front of Sen. Pat Toomey’s office in Station Square and then marched to company’s headquarters downtown.

Verizon and the Communication Workers of America are dug in. The strikers say it’s a battle over greed.

“Our CEO makes $55,000 a day and they want every one of these people plus more to take a $20,000 a year pay cut,” Jennifer Gromek, a striking worker, said.

The company says it’s a battle over changing technologies.

“Our landline business is continuing to shrink,” Lee Gierczynski, a Verizon spokesman, said. “We’re serving less than half the number of landlines that we served 10 years ago.”

The rally comes as both the CWA and Verizon are running ad campaigns in this increasingly bitter strike.

A Verizon radio commercial claims the strikers are earning on average $85,000 a year. The strikers laugh at the number and even the company is backing off the figure.

“If you look at a labor dispute like this, they’re always going to be claims that are going back and forth between the parties.

While a PR war continues in the street and on the airwaves, little progress is reported at the bargaining table.

Communication Workers of America
More News on the Verizon Strike

  • The Truth

    They are not Verizon workers…they are verizon strikers.

  • Paul

    Nobody cares – mostly everyone uses a cell phone now in lieu of land lines.

    • Anonymous

      Just for the record verizon actually is incharge of all calls and debit card purchases made by every phone company (T-Mobile, Sprint, Etc.) not verizon wireless. What is behind all the coverups on tv verizon is the reason you can pick up the phone and call someone even ur cell phone. Every call from every cell company goes through verizon and through their lines. Then it is sent to verizon wireless and other mobile phone companys but the point is without verizon there is no verizon wireless, sprint, at&t,t-mobile, etc.So before you post stupid comments think about what your saying and if it is even true.

    • dj

      You may want to know that cell phones don’t run by magic. There is a lot of “landline” in the background. Goodbye landline – goodbye cell phone. I’m sure you live in the city or an area with lots of cell service – but guess what – there are lots and lots of areas where people cannot rely strictly on cell phones – so what do you propose they do?

  • Pittsburgher

    Just fire them all. There are plenty of good people who WANT to work and would GLADLY take these jobs for what they were getting paid.

    • M K I A

      I don’t work for the company, you base opinions obviously on your own clouded judgement.

      I’m sorry and you have a bachelors in what major?

      Dur your so smart now :)

    • mrs no it all





      • Mayor of GBD

        you don’t own the company, you were hired to work for them. The idea of owning a compnay is to make money off of it fool. Stick to manual labor troll, you aren;t cut out for management or ownership.

  • bob the hard hat working guy

    here’s your truth paul the pittsburgher we are striking keeping our labor away from a company who made billions in profit and still wants us to be gone so they can make more billions in profit and believe me wireless jobs are next you wont go to those nice little kiosk any longer you will be lucky to understand that chinese accent on why your paying twice as much as b4

  • My2cents

    What a waste of manpower, should have been working, FIRE THEM ALL!

    Dear Verizon,
    Please fire all of these worthless, non-thankfull people, then hire folks that are unemployed and would be DEDICATED and THANKFULL to have a job. Also get rid of the Union.
    Its amazing how they are so comitted to this strike, rather than being comitted to the company.
    All of you strikers, have fun with your come backs to this post, but I don’t care, you should be working insted of having all of this FREE time. The grass isn’t greener always on the otherside.

    • mrs N I A

      Hey Mayor,

      No, probably not. But maybe outsourced companies…. Verizon will always have techs but good luck getting an English speaking rep….

      Only the half the moron you are *xoxo*

    • Mrs. No It All

      Free time?

      Pleeeease, If verizon wins there won’t be any jobs left for the “unemployed” you are talking about, they will all be overseas…..

      Pick up some information or talk to a member on strike for some information before you make so many judgements.

      This strike can affect you and your family, its a strike for middle class workers.

      Get educated on the subject before you speak please

      • Mayor of GBD

        SO, installers will be coming from overseas? MORON

  • John Rock

    Verizon is a rip off company. The people needing to strike are the people who have Verizon Cell service and are paying out the ass for Verizon to “F” their bill up every month and the horrible customer service.

  • Stan

    I support these hard working individuals completely. They work hard for all that they get.

  • Stan

    Casey is already smart enough to support them. Toomey still needs educated.

  • margie

    so quick to post a comment without any real thought or research in to the topic. you can keep your 2 cents until you actually read and understand the situation. maybe you should look at it as the company should be committed to its workforce or is that concept too far over your head to understand.

    • Stan

      Great point margie

    • Fran

      Please tell us how much they currently have to pay for pension and medical insurance.

      • Mrs. No It All Still

        And Fran your not very good at spelling…. Quit whining about what you have to pay and get over your jealous rant. You would be mad too if you had $20,000 worth of concessions ripped out from under your feet for all your hard work. Your pension GONE, your vacation days DECREASED. I can go on and on. You are missing the big picture. When they take they do not stop. If they win this do you think they won’t take more the next contract? It gives them more of a reason too.

        Oh and the right to outsource jobs was another thing placed at the bargaining table this time. So don’t cry when you can’t get someone who speaks English when you have a phone issue or billing question.

        Learn something before you speak please.

        “Just Saying”

      • Mrs. No It Alll Again

        Oh, and Fran my “avoidance of the question” has really nothing to do with your argument. I’m not on Verizon’s payroll. So whatever you were trying to insist with that comment you can just disregard.

      • The Reality

        Fran I just wanted to let you know after doing some research…. that its not about what they “currently” pay its about what they WANT them to pay…

        If the amount has increased .01 they have a right to argue. Why the increase when the company is making record numbers? Why are the employees being asked to contribute even one cent MORE if the company is MAKING more? I see that you said you pay over 5000 a year for family coverage. That is fantastic, you know what you pay and just like every single working person I’m sure you would like to either A)Keep it there… or B) have it lower… Its JUST COMMON SENSE…
        People Crying Mean Management is not actually correct either… Management are labeled as “company” employees… so in reality they are still saying what they mean… The COMPANY is not treating us fairly and asking us to do something that no logical person would do… Pay MORE towards something when the company is MAKING MORE not less….

        I hope my Vitriol Tirade Is better understood… I am not sure if that is normal linguistics for you or trying to impress someone… but either way the knowing of such words implies you are smart enough to understand these basic economic and company ..lets call them nuances…

      • Mrs. No It All

        How much do you pay? the amount is besides the point

        They pay enough, with the hard work, the time away from their families, the hell management puts them through… THEY fought hard to have what they have and they will continue the fight to KEEP what they have. They don’t want more they want what they have now. You have no idea

        So funny the ones who are so full of criticism are the ones who are full of hate and jealous and the same ones who can’t pass the drug test or training to get into the company… just saying…

      • Fran

        @ Mrs. No iIt All
        I pay over $5000/year for family coverage. But I’m not the one striking and crying “mean management”. Your avoidance of the question speaks volumes. Feel free to go back to complaining about mean Verizon.

        If the $$$ is beside the point, then why is that what they’re striking about?

      • Fran

        @Mrs. No…

        I asked a simple question, you go on some vitriol tirade and then claim I’m the one with hate/jealousy? I don’t do drugs, did take (and pass) a drug test for my previous employer… Oh, “just saying…” You’re not going a good job proving your point.

  • Dave

    I pay for medical coverage with a large deduction, which I never had to do before – I pay into a pension fund, which I never had to do before – My wages were frozen for several years, while the unionized employees saw a 3-4.5 percent increase annually – I do NOT get MLK or Veterans Day off as holidays. Join the real world. The days of plush benefits and salaries are over. The economy has seen to that. You have your great leader and chief to thank – remember he said CHANGE – well, there you have it – CHANGE IT IS.

    • Cry me a river

      they own the company you don’t. nobody runs a company to lose money.
      ypu don’t like it, start your own company.

  • me

    What they pay is irrelevant. This is about corporate greed. The givebacks that Verizon is trying to squeeze out of the striking workers are staggering when one considers that the company raked in $10 billion in profits in 2010. In its most recent quarter alone, Verizon took in $3.2 billion in profits and its top five executives were paid a total of $258 million over the last four years in salaries and bonuses. The telecommunications giant is also a notorious corporate tax-dodger that hasn’t paid a dime in federal income taxes for the last two years, yet it received a $1.3 billion federal tax rebate this year.

    • dpwea

      It is funny that the company is greedy because they do not want to pay your medical, but you are justified because you don’t want to pay your medical. Maybe if everyone paid their own medical, medical costs would go down. Hmmmm…..

      • Mayor of GBD

        companies are in the business to make money, simple economics.

    • Steve

      So by your argument, if the employer is struggling, then the union people should give up great benefits. Where were you when GM was (and is) losing money yet the unions get better pay/benefits than the rest of the working public. And with PAT bus losing money yet the union wants more/better than most. You can not expect a company to be strong armed into giving more because they have been successful. If it wasn’t for successful companies there would be very little employers out there. So yes, when you’re striking and expecting sympathy from non union people then pay is 100% relevant! No one is going to shed a tear when you’re being asked to pay what the rest of us pay.

      • The Reality

        Steve…your argument holds no merit. Just like the Workers that are striking have the opportunity to find another job that pays them what they want etc.. You as well have the opportunity to do the same…

        The point that is being missed here by you is that Financial surplus by any company usually and SHOULD not lead to any company asking its employees to “give up” anything… regardless if you are union making X amount of dollars or non union making Y amount of dollars…


        This is EXACTLY why our country is in such financial turmoil! Being hard-nosed towards these employees are as you said “not going to shed a tear” does NOTHING for you as a fellow worker what if the extra money that Verizon will make from asking EACH employee to make their own contributions is MORE than enough to BUY OUT in some connected form the business or company you work for? Then you are out of a job here in America all together… The problem is you are looking at things on the surface…

        My example may be far stretched I understand that… but in the world of big corporations it may not be as far stretched as you believe!

  • The Reality

    Personally I hate Verizon and I hate their Union… The fact of the matter is that if ANYONE lets their employers changes impact the people at the bottom, how far does it go? Its not really a hard concept to understand that these call center jobs etc.. can easily be outsourced for pennies on the dollar. I personally would like to see jobs stay here in America. There is no logical or educated person who does not understand the grand scheme of things. If you start out at a wage, and the company posts record breaking profits, and they ask the bottom level employees to take pay cuts or now start paying their own health care…. then where does that money go? Surely not back INTO the company this is now financial surplus… that is given to their Vp’s and Presidents etc as bonuses… If you cant grasp this… then you really should not be arguing your point of view because most likely it is WRONG.

    • Dave

      The reality of it, The Reality, is that what Verizon is asking its employees to do is what mostly every company in the U.S. has already done.

      • The Reality

        Yes Dave, and have seen how that has worked out for those “former” employees.. My attempt at humor

    • margie

      thank you for a well thought out post, perhaps others can understand this now.

  • Val

    How did they manage to gather so many workers at the same time and place? Usually if you need them they can only promice to come Wednesday Thursday or Friday between 10 and 6?

  • Anonymous

    Once again, Just for the record verizon actually is incharge of all calls and debit card purchases made by every phone company (T-Mobile, Sprint, Etc.) not verizon wireless. What is behind all the coverups on tv verizon is the reason you can pick up the phone and call someone even ur cell phone. Every call from every cell company goes through verizon and through their lines. Then it is sent to verizon wireless and other mobile phone companys but the point is without verizon there is no verizon wireless, sprint, at&t,t-mobile, etc.So before you post stupid comments think about what your saying and if it is even true.

  • Arby Tron

    KDKA radio has dropped to 8th in the ratings, isn’t it about time to get rid of the 3 stooges and hire talk show hosts who aren’t stuck in the last century?

  • Wilson

    The mayor should pass out more guns to get this war over as soon as possible so the remaining monkees can gets back to setten on the poch

  • Proud Union Member's Wife

    Below is the 100 Concessions Verizon wants to take from the striking workers. Please people educate yourselves before you open your mouths and learn how to spell and use spell check too before you post, it makes you look even more ignorant. And My2cents we spoke earlier about this on another article regarding this strike I put these same concessions on there for you to educate yourself but as I said there were no pictures so maybe you wouldn’t understand it. As far as Paul and a few others on here your cell phones will NOT work without the landlines. And the Verizon representatives are saying there is a decline in landline but these same people just told their investors that landline is NOT declining. I am NOT an employee for Verizon, I am NOT a CWA member and do NOT work under a Union but you need to try and fight for what you have earned. These jobs are all being outsourced how many times have you called a tech support number for something and had to speak with someone with broken English from like India?? Pretty often…. how often do you try and find something made in the USA??? It isn’t easy to do either. So wake up people! And as far as Democrats and Republicans I have sent letters to all our state representatives, state senators and even President Obama… this is NOT about political affiliation I am a Republican they all need to be made aware of what this strike is about as do the rest of you. And dpwea as far as your comment about people all should be paying their medical coverage and the medical costs would go down…what good is that going to do when the cost of medical care is so outragous.. that is where this all starts, have you ever looked at a hospital bill where they have charged $12 for a Tylenol etc. So whether we all pay for our health coverage ourselves or not will not change the high costs of care. Again please educate yourselves before you speak. Signed: A Proud Union Member’s Wife. Wed, June 29th, 2011 Verizon wants to:


    • Eliminate the Job Security Provisions for all employees
    • Eliminate the Movement of Work Protection
    • Eliminate the 35 mile transfer provision
    • Eliminate provisions in Force Adjustment Plan
    • Eliminate New Contracting Initiatives agreement, which would allow them to increase the level of contracting.


    • Both annual and progression increases will be tied to your yearly evaluation. If you receive a “Does Not Meet Position Requirements” you will not receive an increase.
    • Eliminate Night and Saturday Differential
    • Eliminate Sunday premium pay
    • Eliminate Double Time for hours worked past 49 in a week
    • Eliminate all Overtime Caps
    • Eliminate city allowances
    • Create new job titles for the consumer and business call centers that would work on a commission based wage schedule


    • Eliminate pension accruals. For anyone currently on the payroll your pension will be frozen as of December 31, 2011 and after that, there will be no more pension plan.
    • Eliminate the Pension Cash-Out option
    • Modify the 401(k) Plan and the CPS


    • Eliminate the Sickness Death Benefit Benefits
    • Eliminate the current health care, prescription, dental, and vision plans and offer plans with high deductibles and contributions
    • Eliminate accident disability benefits
    • Cut in half the sickness disability benefits
    • Reduce sick time pay to 5 days per year for those members with 20 or more years, 4 days for those with 15-20 years, 3 days for those with 7-15 years, 2 days for those with 2-7 years and 0 days for those with less than 2 years

    • The most drastic changes are proposed in the medical plan. The company proposed to eliminate the PPOs and network plans that have been in place for decades and replace them with high deductible health plans.

    • The company has proposed to terminate the major health benefit plans that CWA has negotiated over decades.

    • The company is demanding premium contributions for both the medical plan and the dental plan.

    • In the first year, the medical plan premiums for a single employee would range from $390 a year to $1,420 a year, depending on the plan they choose.

    • For a family, the medical plan premium would range from $1,380 a year to $3,810 a year, depending on the plan they choose.

    • Premiums would increase in each year after that.

    • Before the plan would begin to pay any benefits, a single employee would have to pay $1,000 and a family would have to pay $3,000.

    • The company wants to impose premiums for retirees as well. For pre-Medicare retirees, a single retiree could pay somewhere between $290 and $1,320 depending on the plan they choose. A pre-Medicare retiree with a family could pay between $1,280 and $3,710 depending on the plan they choose.

    • Medicare retirees could pay between $145 and $960 a year depending on the plan they enroll in if they are single, and between $640 and $2,155 a year depending on the plan they choose.

    • Premiums for the dental plan would be up to $185 per year for a single employee and up to $435 per year for a family, depending on the plan they choose.

    • Retirees would also have to pay for dental coverage, the same rates as active employees.

    In other words, the company is proposing to shift thousands of dollars in health costs to our members, without offering any improvements in health care quality or any support for our members to navigate the health care system. They are saying “You’re On Your Own” to our members and their families who need quality, affordable health care.

    • Eliminate the Next Step Program
    • Eliminate the half day on Christmas Eve
    • Reduce the notice to the Union on Major technological changes from 6 months to 30 days
    • Eliminate the Dependent Care Reimbursement Fund
    • Reduce Paid Holidays to (7)


    • In 2009 Verizon made 10.2 Billion dollars.
    received their last paycheck until this strike is over. We understand that in this economy everyone

    • Proud Non Union Member

      How proud you gonna be on payday now that you lost 2 weeks pay?

      • Mrs. No It All

        Everyone prepares for the loss of income because its expected. This is not the first time this has happened. Every contract that expires the company comes up with some fancy argument why they need to take more from the employees. (It’s different every-time by the way). The only difference is this time it is the first strike with social media and there is a lot more coverage and opinions being thrown around everywhere which confuses the facts.

        Can you imagine knowing every 3-5 years you may be out of work for a few days, weeks, months, (not knowing how long) and having to plan your life around that. Vacations, buying a house, saving, college, etc…. It shouldn’t have to be that way…. The company really does not care for it’s employees one bit… It’s truly sad.

        Its a mess for everyone involved. The employees, the customers, the economy.

        Just a big mess……

    • Common Sense

      WHAT!?!?! They want you to pay towards your healtchare!!!! That’s INSANE, just INSANE I tell you!!!

  • Mayor of GBD

    Damn, that looks a lot like what EVERY OTHER PUBLIC SERVICE UTILITY has done. I guess you’re special!

    Dear wife….have you been drinking the CWA Koolaid too?

  • LS

    I’d like to point out some things… First, there are many people who do need jobs in this country – sad but true. By working for this company, without a union, the company can decide to pay and compensate any way they choose…so yes while 20,000 per year without benefits may be great compared to 0, the only clear winner is Verizon whose profits will surge. What people fail to realize is that Verizon will not hire 43,000 people to replace the union workers, but instead they may replace a portion, say 5,000 people, and then shift the remaining work to other countries. That would mean the # of jobs created in America is -38,000 or for those without math skills, an increase in the unemployed. This will though give Verizon an increase in profits and higher pay for executives because labor costs will be cheaper.
    You will now have an additional potential 38,000 people who are out of work and cannot afford to spend money, sending the economy into another downward spiral – goodbye recession, hello depression. You will also have other companies following in the path of Verizon which is; Not Negotiating with the unions, forcing the workers out of jobs and sending jobs overseas, and raising their profits (keeping the consumers prices the same or increasing during the whole time).
    So, while people may feel that the union is wrong, greedy, crybabies, and other negative terms, just keep that in mind when the American population is trying to support a family of four on 20,000 per year…that’s what it will lead to…sad, but true…
    Without people who stand up for what they believe in, employers will walk all over the people who do all of the work. I don’t see Verizon executives sacrificing any of their pay, benefits, or bonuses. Mark my words, if Verizon is successful in the downfall of the union, other companies will follow and then America as we’ve known it will cease to exist. Welcome to the future of supporting a family of four earning 20k per year, having to pay 6k in healthcare, 12k in mortgage, and only having 3k PER YEAR for food, entertainment, transportation, insurance, and other necessities…What a future it will be if Verizon succeeds. So to those who think these workers are lazy, selfish, etc. try to be more like them and instead of accepting things as they are, take a stand and fight for what SHOULD be.

    • Tired of hearing it....

      Dear LS, This was an excellent post…. you have said everything that I have been trying to say to these people that keep whining on and on about how lucky these workers are to have a job. It is so easy to sit and run your mouth and say this is what I would do etc. when it isn’t you. There is no one out there that would be willing to lose $20,000 a year and not put up a fight or at least try to do something about it and if there is then shame on them and they deserve to be in a low paying job getting very little. People need to take a stand before it is too late and I would bet $20,000 that the same ones on here running their mouths and wishing job loss on these workers and that claim to have so much knowledge on the strike and unions as well would be the first ones whining again as to what has happened to the country we used to have.

  • LS

    Yes, it is time for people to look past their own greediness and selfishness and do something about it. You can blame democrats, republicans, and other political party but that is what is going on with our country…everyone is too busy blaming others rather than asking “What can I do to change things?” Placing blame rather than working towards a solution would require effort…something that unfortunately not many people are willing to do. It is far easier to blame unions, politicians, etc. than to fight for what is right. Those against the union on this issue calling them “lazy” seem to be projecting their feelings of themselves onto the strong union members. While I am not a union member (ironically I am a manager of a company who has a strong union) I have learned from the past, understand how business works, and also have experience with Verizon, not only as a customer but as a former employee who after seven years, quit my job due to being an undervalued, unappreciated, and harassed employee. My only hope is that there are many more supporters of this effort who do not fault the union but instead recognize that they are standing up for the United States of America…

  • cher twyman

    I am a proud member of the Communication Workers of America. I have the same amount of pride in being an employee of Verizon Communications for the past 14 years. I’m not ashamed to say I make $24.26 an hour, I have benefits, a pension and a 401k. I work hard everyday to earn these benefits, therefore I am glad that my company is making billions in profits. Verizon wireless is succeeding, but don’t be fooled so is land line. Without land line, wireless would fail. “Wireless” isn’t another word for magic, it’s a co-dependent network. Also, Verizon owns 55% of Verizon wireless. Verizon wants us all to believe that in this bad economy they too are suffering and need their employees to help cut costs. This is not only offensive to me, it’s a slap in the face to the companies and people that are truly hurting everyday. I don’t see the victory in a further attack on the middle class. Any news reports you see are initiated by the company for a reason, Verizon knows manipulating the media will pit middle class families against each other.

    Verizon also wants you to believe that their striking employees are currently “sabotaging” their network. Verizon has been “sabotaging” their network for almost a decade by budgeting the bulk of their money towards their FIOS construction and leaving the existing plant in disrepair. (Maybe you have noticed all the double poles sitting unattended to for years or you have static on your line every time it rains). The 45,000 union members know this, we see the neglect everyday.. We are what keeps this company running doing more with less. Despite what Verizon statements have indicated, the service is suffering without us at work . The CWA members want to return to work, just with fair conditions that not only reflect our experience and ability, but also Verizon’s profits. You can be anti-union, but this is bigger than a union/management issue. I believe this is yet another battle in the class warfare that is undermining this country.

    Cher Twyman

    CWA member/Verizon employee

  • More @ 11

    Day 12 of the Verizon Strike! The town is crippled with the dark knight, houses are burning, gang members are killing each other,people can’t park because they don’t have quarters and NOT one person has NEEDED to call the phone company

  • JD

    End of the day, it comes to this- If YOU were lucky enough to have been hired by Verizon in an era that offered so much and you have grown to depend on those benefits from a company that MADE BILLIONS wouldn’t you fight for them? If it was you and YOUR family, you woudn’t fight to keep what you have? In a time where employees are sitting at their desks COMPLAINING about what they have to pay for healthcare and how much they have to contribute for their pensions, the Union is doing somehting about it. Verizon is a privately funded company..YOU, those who do not work for VZ, are NOT contributing to these employee’s pensions and why all the sour grapes? – Is it because YOU are so angry that you have to pay such high premiums that everyone else should? That’s like saying you and someone else play the lottery, your friend won so she/he should give you half bc you pay the lottery too and that’s not fair- and as a side not Verizon ee’s DO PAY INTO their benefits. – again VZ is a privately funded company…THEY deciede how’ll they’ll proceed…and for a company that has made BILLIONS to ask their employees to give back, is just greedy…

  • Warlock Jones

    What an excellent opportunity to “trim the fat”! Layoffs should begin Monday.

    Typical union, half the business yet same number of workers….

  • The One

    “Our CEO makes $55,000 a day and they want every one of these people plus more to take a $20,000 a year pay cut,” Jennifer Gromek, a striking worker, said.

    I am sure jennifer Gromek will be up for promotion when/if she ever works again. What a union moron.

    • Sassy mcgee

      Many of the managers used to be unionized reps and have walked the picket line. Know the facts before you make yourself look like an idiot. Oops, too late.

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