Quote of the Day:
As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders chase each other further to the left, it was only a matter of time before somebody decided to capitalize on their competition. The Democrats have now helped inspire the largest domestic strike in years—and it’s pure political performance art.
Thirty-six thousand Verizon workers have gone on strike, and, as might have been predicted both Democratic contenders for the presidency have joined them. Bernie Sanders joined a picket line in Brooklyn, accusing Verizon of "trying to destroy the lives of working Americans."
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton called upon Verizon to "do the right thing."
But what is the Verizon strike really about? Is it over poor wages and sweatshops?
The Wall Street Journal explains that it is not over such issues at all:
The walk-offs enjoy an average annual pay and benefits package of $130,000. Management is offering a 6.5% cash wage increase, the same health coverage as its other domestic employees and an industry-competitive 401(k) match.
Yet Verizon and the unions have largely agreed about compensation. The unions preferred to make a political statement about expanding the ranks of the Americans lucky enough to have decent-paying jobs, which apparently means showing solidarity with an increasingly obsolete business model.
Some 99% of the strikers work for Verizon’s legacy “wireline” business, or its traditional fixed phone service plus its fiber optic Internet service. This unit generates only 7% of Verizon operating income, down from 60% in 2000—wireless is more profitable—and as more customers ditch land lines, it is only natural that these old-fashioned networks will require fewer workers to operate and maintain.
But Verizon isn’t even looking to shed jobs. It is merely seeking more flexibility to manage its workforce, such as consolidating under-used call centers and the ability to hire more outside contractors. “Nostalgia for the rotary-phone era won’t save American jobs,” Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam wrote in a LinkedIn post.
Mr. McAdam also called Mr. Sanders’s rhetoric “contemptible,” publishing a detailed rebuttal. Credit is due to the rare executive willing to defend economic reality and stand up to political intimidation.
This is so typical of the Democrats–solidarity with people who earn in excess of a hundred thousand a year a year packaged in Occupy Wall Street rhetoric.
While Sanders, who has a knee jerk contempt for big corporations, may not actually know how important corporations are in providing–you know–jobs, I bet Mrs. Clinton does. But she certainly isn't saying. Such is political candor 2016.