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The Corporation Battling the Communication Workers of America to Cut $1 Billion in Employee Benefits

In August, 45,000 Verizon employees went on strike to protest the company’s push for employees to give back $1 billion in health, pension, and other contract concessions.

CTJ commented at the time that Verizon’s stance is particularly galling given that Verizon is both highly profitable and already a model of poor corporate citizenship. Despite earning over $32.5 billion over the last 3 years, Verizon not only paid nothing in corporate income taxes, it actually received nearly $1 billion (the same amount as the concessions they are seeking) in tax benefits from the federal government during that time.

As Verizon’s tax avoidance again received media attention following the publication of CJT’s major report last week, the company responded that the president of the Communication Workers of America, which organized the strike against Verizon, sits on the board of CTJ.

We’re not entirely sure what this is supposed to prove. If having the CWA president on our board makes our analysis biased, then surely anything said by Verizon’s tax department or spokespersons is even more biased since they actually work for Verizon.

More importantly, Verizon never actually offers any profit or tax figures that conflict with those in the CTJ study. The company’s spokesperson complains that the study does not count “deferred” taxes. (These are taxes that a company may pay in the future but has not paid yet, rendering them irrelevant.) He also says that the company “fully complies with all tax laws and pays its fair share of taxes.” Of course, CTJ has said from the beginning that the tax avoidance techniques used by Verizon and other corporations are (as far as we know) legal, and that’s why we know the tax system needs to be reformed by Congress.