Solidarity with the CWA/IBEW Strikers!

Local CWA Union Rep Angered by Verizon Claims

By Megan J. Miller

August 8, 2011 – BEAVER — A local representative of the Communication Workers of America union said Verizon workers were forced to go on strike after the communications giant “put outrageous demands” on them in contract negotiations.

Thousands of Verizon landline employees across several states were striking Monday after talks broke down between the company and the workers’ unions, the CWA and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Michael Rossi, president of the CWA chapter that includes about 250 workers in Beaver County, as well as the Sewickley area and parts of Lawrence and Mercer counties, told The Times that he was angered by a statement released by the company that accused the unions of walking away from the table “instead of continuing to work through the issues.”

The company’s demands include freezing pensions and requiring workers to contribute more to their health insurance premiums, above the 7 percent that Rossi said they now pay.

The proposed changes in benefits over time and holiday pay would cost union members approximately $20,000 per year, he estimated.

“(Verizon) made over $20 billion over the last 4 years,” Rossi said, categorizing the company’s demands as “another attack on the middle class.”

Verizon, for its part, pointed out that its landline business has significantly declined as wireless usage grows and said in a news release that its contract terms reflect “today’s economic realities in our wireline business.”

‘City of Steel’ by Jasiri X, Our Own Rapper

By Jasiri X and Paradise Gray

According to the New Pittsburgh Courier, “The average homicide victim in 2010 was a 33–year-old Black male with four prior arrests, most likely shot on the North Side, in the Hill District or the East End with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the early morning hours of a Saturday in July. The average shooter was a 29-year-old Black male with four prior arrests. The motive was likely retaliation. And according to the clearance-rate data, there is a 46 percent chance that he is still at large.”

This is why we decided to dedicate our latest video to the problem of violence in our community.

“City of Steel” was filmed on Pittsburgh’s Northside at, Northview Heights housing project, Allegheny County General Hospital, Zone No.1 Police Station, Union Dale Cemetery, and the newly reopened state prison, SCI Pittsburgh.

“City of Steel” was produced by Rel!g!on and directed by Paradise Gray.

This is the third video, in the four video series entitled “The Pittsburgh Press”, which was made possible by a generous Seed Award from the Sprout Fund.


Continue reading ‘City of Steel’ by Jasiri X, Our Own Rapper