Hours after Sen. Bernard Sanders joined striking Verizon workers on the picket line, the company’s CEO fired back and said the Vermont senator’s views on U.S. corporations and the broader American economy are “contemptible.”
In a LinkedIn post Wednesday afternoon, Verizon chief Lowell McAdam disputed Mr. Sanders’ accusation that the company wants to slash worker wages. He also said the senator is dead wrong when he says Verizon doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes, saying the company ponied up $15.6 billion and was subject to a 35 percent tax rate over the last two years.
“The senator’s uninformed views are, in a word, contemptible,” Mr. McAdam said. “I understand that rhetoric gets heated in a presidential campaign. I also get that big companies are an easy target for candidates looking for convenient villains for the economic distress felt by many of our citizens. But when rhetoric becomes disconnected from reality, we’ve crossed a dangerous line. We deserve better from people aspiring to be president. At the very least, we should demand that candidates base their arguments on the facts … even when they don’t fit their campaign narratives.”
Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers walked off the job Wednesday in the culmination of a months-long contract dispute with the company. Mr. McAdam said Verizon is looking to consolidate some call centers and take other steps to streamline company operations.
The striking employees say Verizon wants to lower wages and ship some jobs overseas.
Mr. Sanders joined those workers on the picket line Wednesday.
“I know what a difficult decision it is to go out on a strike, and I know your families are going to pay a price for going out on a strike,” the senator said, according to NBC New York. “But you have chosen to stand up for dignity, for justice and to take out an enormously powerful special interest.”
Hillary Clinton also released a statement Wednesday expressing support for the Verizon workers.