The last week of May was an important one for workers organizing for a better life. The largest and most successful strike in recent history has just ended in victory for nearly 40,000 Verizon Communications workers.
Led by their gutsy union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), they defeated outsourcing to low paying non-union areas in the U.S. and around the world. They stopped cutbacks in wages, health benefits and pensions. The workers 45-day sacrifice resulted in an 11 percent wage increase over four years from this ever-growing corporation that grossed over $39 billion last year.
The strike also produced 1,300 new call center jobs. During this same week over 5,000 fast food workers marched in Oak Brook, Illinois at the McDonald’s stockholders convention demanding a “living wage”of $15 an hour and the right to form unions.
Acts of non-violent civil disobedience disrupted the meeting which prompted a company CEO to threaten workers with using robots to “bag fries.”
Here in Hawaii, delegates to the Democratic Party Convention from Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island, introduced resolutions to raise the minimum wage to a “living wage” of $15 an hour.
Even $15 is not enough in Hawaii, but it’s much better than a paltry $10 an hour. The struggle against greed and income inequality is growing and no corporate head or long time politician can stop it. No matter what happens to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the seeds of revolt for economic and social justice have been planted.
Raymond Catania is a Lihue resident.