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By Mel Fabrikant

June 22, 2012

Communications Workers and their allies call on CEOs of Darden Restaurants and Banco Popular to act in support of a fair contract at Verizon and to improve business practices in their own companies

Darden Restaurants [DRI] CEO Clarence Otis and Banco Popular [BPOP] CEO Richard Carrión, members of Verizon’s board of directors, are facing protests across the U.S. today, as members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Jobs with Justice and other allies urge the executives to take responsibility and urge Verizon to reach a fair contract with 45,000 members of CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Actions are taking place at nearly 300 locations across the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Boston and Washington D.C., as well as in San Juan, Puerto Rico. CWA members who work for Verizon are joined by members of the IBEW, Jobs with Justice, Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), AFL-CIO and the Change to Win coalition.

“Mr. Otis and Mr. Carrión are each paid $230,000 per year to direct Verizon's business,” said CWA Communications Director Candice Johnson. “It’s time for them to step up and make Verizon management recognize the contributions of front line workers who have helped the company become so successful. Leaving the workers' contracts unresolved undermines the workforce, hurts employee morale and creates unnecessary uncertainty for the company.”

Verizon is a $100 billion company and directors did approve a 200 percent increase in compensation for the CEO, to $23.1 million. But the companies continue to demand cuts in compensation from workers of at least $10,000 a year.

“We want to reach a fair agreement so we can support our families and focus on doing our jobs, but Verizon’s management and board of directors are failing to hold up their end of the bargain,” said Vanessa Ellis one of the CWA Verizon workers joining the protest at a Darden-owned Olive Garden in Roanoke, Virginia. “We are here today to tell Mr. Otis, Mr. Carrión and other board members to do their jobs — and fix the problems at both Verizon and their own companies.”

The actions are coming at a bad time for Mr. Otis and Mr. Carrión, who face criticism for their own business practices at Darden Restaurants and Banco Popular, respectively.

Amid reports that workers at some Darden restaurants are not fully compensated for their work and others have been subjected to racial discrimination, Verizon workers and supporters will bring attention to these problems at Darden locations across the country as part of the Day of Action.

Carrión’s Banco Popular owes taxpayers more than $900 million in TARP bailout money – more than any other bank in the United States except one. Yet, Carrión’s own compensation has more than doubled since 2009. Meanwhile, under Carrión, the bank has controversially loaned millions of dollars to companies controlled by Carrión’s relatives – much of which has been written off as a loss to the bank.

To read the full article visit The Paramus Post