You'd be hard-pressed to find a better example of corporate greed than Verizon, a company making billions and tripling its CEO's pay while demanding givebacks from its workers. Today the 99% Spring movement let Verizon know that 99% of us are trying to bring big corporations back under democracy's control. Today’s Verizon shareholder meeting in Huntsville, Alabama was disrupted six separate times by members of the 99% Power coalition, part of the 99% Spring movement.
The Verizon shareholder meeting comes as the company is in negotiations with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The highly-profitable company -- the 16th largest corporation in America -- is asking its workers for givebacks amounting to as much as $20,000 each, while tripling the compensation of CEO Lowell McAdam from $7.2 million to $23.1 million. The company made $22.5 billion in profits over the past four years while paying its top five executives $283 million over that period. Because of this the company has earned the nickname “Verigreedy."
After today's meeting was opened by McAdam, and as he was introducing Verizon's Board of Directors, a group of people stood up with one shouting "Mic Check" three times. Then the leader continued, with the rest of the group repeating, "Verizon wants to ... slash worker benefits ... 20,000 dollars ... per worker ... per year! ... We say ... SHAME on you! ... Meanwhile ... Verizon CEO ... Lowell McAdam ... got a ... 220% raise ... up to 23 million dollars ... Shame Shame Shame on you ..." The last line was repeated as the group was led out of the meeting by security, with many in the audience applauding them. There were no arrests.
After several minutes another group disrupted the meeting, and was led out by security as many in attendance applauded and chanted with them. Then the same sequence again, and again, for a total of 6 times.
At a rain-soaked rally before the shareholder meeting Al Henley, President of the Alabama AFL-CIO demanded that Verizon be a better corporate citizen. “Verizon is on the run from their own workers, and thought that by taking the meeting to Alabama, a “right-to-work” state, but they misjudged our sense of solidarity here in the South.”
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