Friday, January 6, 2012

Verizon's Message to Workers

So, the struggle against Verizon's efforts to cut their employees' family healthcare continues. Verizon workers just received this video, shipped to their homes by the company.

I'm floored, mostly by how transparently awful this company is. Most corporations try and sell workers on cuts will at least fake the pretense of socially positive messaging (Walmart's "we're one big family, take one for the team" narrative, charter school corporations "can't you see that exercising your bargaining rights hurt the kids?" nonsense). In no way am I saying that messaging marks those corporations' true intentions, but they're a savvy marketing ruse.

What's fascinating about this video is how brazen Verizon is about its attack on family healthcare--not just plans for for Verizon workers, but workers in general. To say that other Americans pay over $4,000 per year while wireline Verizon workers receive healthcare from their company reads to me like an indictment of the failure of American employers, and a testament to the importance of unions like CWA in protecting workers' rights.

And by far the funniest part: long tirades and powerpoints followed by an earnest executive announcing, "you've recently worked through a hurricane, floods, even an earthquake"--I mean, if you were a worker who had dealt with those conditions, wouldn't your immediate response be, "yeah, I did all that, and now you want to take away my kids' healthcare coverage?"

Maybe my ideology is getting in the way, but I simply do not understand how the company would think this was an effective appeal to its employees. I could imagine this as a ploy to turn the public against unions by describing hard-won decent healthcare as "cadillac," but the company didn't put this up on Youtube--it shipped this out to workers' households.

I guess the best way to view this is as an object lesson in corporate smugness and the total disconnect between executives and the reality of working people on the ground. The idea that hearing that slashing healthcare could be justified because it allows Verizon to invest in speedy customer service through decentralization (read: moving call centers overseas) could only seem like a valid argument to an executive or cynical executive.

How the hell does cutting healthcare and shipping jobs to underpaid folks in India improve the lives of workers (East Coast Verizon workers, American workers who pay for Verizon's services, or for that matter, exploited Indian workers)?

Anyway, I'll close with a treat---CWA's parody of the video above.

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