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Verizon CEO Snaps Back At Sanders Over Union Dispute

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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Verizon President Lowell McAdam defended his company Wednesday against Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders after being accused of corporate greed.

Sanders has denounced Verizon on numerous occasions during the election over an ongoing labor dispute. He accused the company of corporate greed, low wages, outsourcing, dodging taxes and not investing in American society. McAdam countered the accusations as being untruthful.

“Our objective in these negotiations is to preserve good jobs with competitive wages and excellent benefits,” McAdam wrote on LinkedIn. “All of our contract proposals currently on the table include wage increases, generous 401(k) matches and continued pension benefits. Contrary to Sen. Sanders’s contention, our proposals do not call for mass layoffs or shipping jobs overseas.”

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Verizon have failed to finalize a contract since negotiations began June, 2015. Workers even went on strike Wednesday in response to the troublesome contract talks. The union rejected the last contract proposal which included a 6.5 percent wage increase, better healthcare coverage and an improved retirement plan.

“Verizon wants to take American jobs,” Sanders said during a speech last week. “We are going to have to deal with this corporate greed, which is more concerned with compensation packages for CEOs than about the needs of hard working people who want nothing more than to be able to live in dignity and security and bring their kids up in a decent way.”

McAdam adds the company is not seeking to outsource more jobs. It simply wants to include in the contact more flexibility to reroute calls to other countries. Sanders has accused Verizon of being one of the top 10 corporate tax dodgers. McAdam countered the claim by noting the company has paid billions of dollars in taxes over the last couple of years.

“Our financial statements clearly show, we’ve paid more than $15.6 billion in taxes over the last two years,” McAdam said. “The senator has started to fudge his language – talking of taxes not paid in some unspecified ‘given year’ – but that doesn’t make his contention any less false.”

The last contract expired Aug. 1 a few months after negotiations began. Verizon and CWA have accused each other of not negotiating fairly. Unionized workers rejected the last contract proposal over a lack of overtime and outsourcing protections. McAdam shot back against the claim his company doesn’t reinvest in America.

“In the last two years, Verizon has invested some $35 billion in infrastructure,” McAdam said. “In Sanders’s home state of Vermont alone, Verizon has invested more than $16 million in plant and equipment and pays close to $42 million a year to vendors and suppliers, many of them small and medium-sized businesses.”

The labor dispute has garnered sympathy from some other high-profile individuals. Senate Democrats have weighed in on the dispute with a letter urging Verizon to negotiate a fair deal. Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also condemned the company.

The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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