CWA Local 9575, Kern, Santa Barbara, Ventura Counties and the City of Gilroy

An open letter to Lowell McAdams

An open letter to Lowell McAdams;

In your series of “Hard Hitting” ads, you bring up a number of valid points, Lowell, so let’s discuss them.

You mention that our contracts were negotiated when people still used rotary phones. That’s true, Lowell, you were 7 years old when we negotiated our first contract in 1961. But our contract has grown and evolved as the technology and the corporation have grown. Our contract is the product of many negotiations, many sacrifices, and, yes Lowell, many cooperative decisions. It is the product of sweat, and tears, and, yes Lowell, blood – in 1989 one of your scabs killed one of our picketers, do you even know the name Gerry Horgan?

You say that Verizon employees should contribute more toward Health care, How many months have you spent on a picket line to pay for those benefits? How many times have you deferred your wages to pay for your benefits? Ivan and his wife will get free medical benefits for life, probably you too! Six thousand dollars in premiums may not be a lot to you, after all, at your pay rate it’s a few minutes of your time, but to a single parent, or a head of a household struggling to meet their bills, to feed their family, to care for them, it could make the difference between the American Dream or the American nightmare. Our children are not born with a silver spoon in their mouths; they are born hungry for a piece of the American dream.

Yes, Lowell, a very small number of workers get free medical, but, is that something to be proud of? In the world’s richest, most powerful country the health care delivery system ranks 37th in the world, below countries like Costa Rica, Chile, Cyprus, and Iceland, because of greedy people like you. It’s not something to be proud of when workers must choose between needed treatment and paying their mortgage, when senior citizens must choose between eating or getting their needed medications.

You talk about inflexible work rules, but neglect to mention that they were put in place to stop abuses. Not one dot, not one comma, not one sentence in our contract was put there because of your fair and ethical treatment of our Members. Yes, Lowell we have Job security. Do you know why it’s there? Does incentive regulation mean anything to you? Ask Ivan about not being able to get it without our help. That was part of the price we paid for that job security. Without it you and the rest of the sharks that run this company would hire and fire at will to manipulate your bottom line, since we know that human life means very little to the bottom line.

You mention in your ads how much you care and want to serve your customers, is that why you’ve abandoned your copper network, which serves all of your customers in one capacity or another? Is that why you have allowed repair and installation times to escalate through the roof? Is that why you’ve chosen to skim the cream, and ignore residents throughout the state who want and need Fios? Is that why our customers must deal with contract employees in India and the Philippines who neither know or understand their needs?

Lowell, do you even know the term “Ma Bell”? Do you know where that comes from? Does it matter that at one time our company (yes Lowell, it’s our too!) was considered a benevolent employer who took care of its people? That’s before the sharks came. Do you even know the credo “No job is so important and no service is so urgent that we cannot take time to perform our work safely”, yet today we work with dilapidated trucks, broken equipment and tools, deteriorated and abandoned poles, lack of safety equipment, and so on?

Lowell, you forget to mention the BILLIONS in profits you make, and invest overseas. You forget to mention your $10 BILLION dollar payment to Vodafone. Do you know how many contracts that would pay for? How many hungry children that would feed? How many jobs that could create in this country?

Let’s not forget that it was core money that paid to build your wireless network, paid for mergers and acquisitions, and continues to pay for your Fios build.

One last point, Lowell, this letter was not written by a multi-million dollar hack for a PR firm, it was written by an individual whose heart still has the capacity to love, to care, to dream – does yours?

Executive Vice-President,
Angel Feliciano
Local 1101, CWA

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