'7 Days in June' hopes to start a long summer of labor talks

NEW YORK: AFL-CIO held its "7 Days in June" event last week, a

series of sponsored programs to highlight the importance of unions in

communities and the difficulties faced by some workers who want to join


The events are also serving as a forerunner to a series of actions

planned this week focusing on labor issues at Verizon.

More than 140 activities have been taking place in 34 states, including

a Justice Bus tour in New York City - a double-decker bus visiting local

spots that have had recent labor disputes, such as Columbia


A trolley tour in Boston took people to "sites where workers' rights

have been violated," according to the press release. Politicians,

religious leaders and other supporters have been involved in programs in

Chicago, Louisville, KY and Sacramento, CA.

A day of action was also held to give janitors a forum for discussing

the difficulties of organizing.

"Workers nationwide want to form unions because it is a way to have a

voice on the job and a way to do better," said Lane Windham, AFL-CIO's

media outreach specialist. "The events spotlight what happens when

workers form unions and why they want to form them."

Windham said that John Sweeney, AFL-CIO's president, is preparing to

appear on June 20 at events geared around Verizon.

The union coalition maintains Verizon has not lived up to an agreement

made during last August's strike against the company to allow its

wireless employees to join the Communication Workers of America without


"Instead, Verizon has attempted to cut off every avenue for workers to

form unions," read the press release. AFL-CIO is planning demonstrations

in Baltimore, New York and Dallas on June 20.

Verizon disagreed with the accusation. "Last August we agreed to

specific processes, which are easier than the law requires, for the

union to approach workers at the wireless company," said Eric Rabe,

Verizon's VP of media relations. "We have followed it, we believe,

correctly, but the union is looking for more."

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