Verizon: The schoolyard bully

August 15, 2011

Do you remember the schoolyard bully? That is what is happening in the case of Verizon's contractual dispute with its union workers ("Howard senior citizen facility feels effects of Verizon strike," Aug. 12).

A tiny percentage of Americans like Ivan Seidenberg are compensated like Saudi princes not because they are vastly more productive than their employees, but simply because they possess the power to take what they want. They employ two basic strategies to justify this behavior: They claim that their compensation is commensurate with other executives who also possess the power to take what they want. And they pander to the unemployed, the underemployed, and vast numbers of grossly underpaid Americans in an effort to make them jealous and resentful of union workers.

Seidenberg received $18,166,006 in 2010, and similar amounts in 2008 and 2009. That's more than 200 times what one of Verizon's union-represented technicians received, even when shift differentials and overtime are included. Broken down to a 40-hour week, Seidenberg received something like $9,000 an hour.

Remember this figure the next time a company spokesman is arrogant enough to complain about union wages or declares that no significant interruption of service is expected during the strike while your telephone, television or Internet service are no longer being maintained.

Benjamin Demille

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