Fifteen union and community protestors were arrested and six shareholder proposals were defeated at Verizon’s annual meeting Thursday.
According to a release from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), more than 250 union supporters gathered outside Thursday’s meeting in Albuquerque, N.M., as part of a nationwide rash of protests against the carrier at 400 wireless stores.
During the New Mexico demonstration, the CWA said 15 individuals were taken into police custody after the group dropped a 70-foot banner reading “Verizon: Good Jobs, No Greed” across the busy Rio Grande Boulevard and laid down on the banner to block traffic.
At the meeting inside, Verizon said shareholders approved the company’s executive compensation but overwhelming voted against six shareholder proposals.
The blocked measures included a proposal regarding an enhanced executive stock retention policy from the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers Pension Benefit Fund; a bid to expand the company’s current severance approval policy; a CWA-backed suggestion to require an independent chairman of the board; a measure for renewable energy targets; and proposals to release an indirect political spending report and lobbying activities report.
All of the company’s 13 directors were re-elected at the meeting, Verizon said.
The news comes amid an ongoing battle between Verizon and union workers in the Northeast.
On April 13, nearly 40,000 CWA and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) members walked off the job after nearly 10 months of negotiations failed to yield a contract agreement.
Verizon recently said it has had to deploy nearly 20,000 contractors and employees on special assignment to fill the gaps left by the striking workers. Verizon said it is also looking to automation and other new remote technologies to help meet customer needs.
The carrier last week said it had presented its “best and final” to union officials. That proposal, however, was panned by CWA leaders, who called on Verizon to “get serious about negotiations.”
Union officials have expressed frustration with Verizon, accusing the carrier of failing to meet pledges to expand FiOS broadband and looking to move jobs out of the United States.
The strike has been ongoing for more than three weeks. The CWA recently revealed it is issuing checks from a $440 strike fund to help striking workers make ends meet in lieu of their regular paycheck.