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Working In These Times

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010, 11:38 am

West Va. Governor Joins Activist Rally Against Sale of Verizon

BY Rand Wilson, AFL-CIO Communications Coordinator

Months of hard work by campaign activists paid off when West Va. Governor Joe Manchin made a surprise appearance during the "Stop the Sale" rally in Charleston.   (Photo by Rand Wilson)

CHARLESTON, W.V.—Campaign activists here have been mobilizing for months to build broad public opposition to the proposed sale of Verizon's landlines to Frontier.

Hundreds of members have met with their legislators at the Capitol or attended meetings with their County Commissioners to educate them about the proposed sale, which I wrote about on this site last week. Many others have talked with neighbors and friends, distributed lawn signs and bumper stickers, or gone online to get hundreds of letters opposed to the sale sent to West Virgninia Governor Joe Manchin.

Thankfully, everyone's hard work paid off on Sunday, January 10, at the Culture Center in Charleston, when Manchin made a surprise appearance in the middle of the "Stop the Sale" rally.

Manchin joined CWA President Larry Cohen, CWA District 2 VP Ron Collins, United Mineworkers President Cecil Roberts and many other labor and community leaders on the stage to say that he would do everything in his power to make the proposed deal work for the working families of West Virginia—not just for the Wall Street bankers.

Other rally speakers included Sen. Jack Yost, Del. Mike Caputo, state AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue, and representatives from the firefighters, nurses and senior citizens. (Pictures from the rally can be seen here.)

The rally was timed to be just days before the West Virginia Public Service Commission began hearings on the matter this morning in Charleston. 

"We need to bring high-speed broadband to West Virginia and communities across the country, to foster economic growth," Cohen said.  "Instead, Verizon is using an obscure tax loophole to do a tax free deal that will leave West Virginia without a platform for achieving the speeds that are necessary for economic development.  This deal is only good for Wall Street, not Main Street."

Rand Wilson is communications coordinator at the AFL-CIO Organizing Dept.'s Center for Strategic Research. He has worked as a union organizer and labor communicator in the United States since the 1980s. For more information about Wilson, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rand_Wilson

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