August 17, 2011

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING UNION: “So the Communications Workers of America are out on strike against Verizon. The most remarkable thing is not the alleged acts of sabotage against land lines that serve hospitals , or the shocking willingness of an anonymous Verizon manager to threaten retaliation against the more pugnacious strikers when they go back to work (the NLRB rather frowns on that sort of thing). No, the really remarkable thing is this: who cares? . . . In other words, while profits have recovered since 2008, the striking workers aren’t generating those profits. In fact, the legacy network of copper wires they service is rapidly turning into a cost center rather than a source of profits. They’re essentially asking that the firm divert money from the wireless business to beef up pay and benefits for the union workers even as the number of subscribers they have to service is falling. It’s not really surprising that management is saying no.”

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