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Unions Champion Employee Benefits

Originally published in the Springfield Republican, August 23 2011

Unions champion employee benefits

I would like to tell you a short story. Flash back to 1969. A six-year-old boy, the youngest of four, is walking the picket line with his father. His father tries to explain how he is on strike to fight for better working conditions, but the boy is too young to understand. This father of four is on strike for nearly eight months and must work part-time jobs to support his family.

Now flash ahead to 1976. Once again, the father is on strike. The young boy, now a teenager understands why his father is on strike. He fights to provide a better life for his family.

Flash ahead to 1989. The teenager is now a young man, fresh out of the military. It is now his turn to walk the picket line. The young man fights for his own future, whatever it may hold. He is on strike for 17 weeks. He must now work part-time jobs to support himself.

The same thing in 2000, but now the man has two young children and a wife to support. Now it is 2011, and once again the man finds himself walking the picket line. As you have already guessed, I am that boy, teenager, man.

Every day someone asks me “why should Verizon give you these benefits?” My only answer is that they have never “given” me anything. I fought, my father fought and thousands of union brothers and sisters across this great nation have fought for these benefits. My only question to them is “why haven’t you?”

– JAMES WAYSON, Verizon Employee, Union Steward, Executive Board IBEW 2324

Please sign the Verizon workers solidarity statement.

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