Update: 2:24 p.m. An AFL-CIO organizer of the Verizon protest in Creve Coeur tells Patch protesters from an organization called Midwest Rising joined them Monday but that the labor organizers were not tied to other protests taking place around St. Louis Monday.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 14 Midwest Rising protesters were arrested after an event staged downtown. The paper said other events, were planned Monday at and headquarters in Creve Coeur.
More than 40,000 union workers for Verizon Communications along the East Coast are entering their second week on strike after negotiators were unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
On Monday, dozens of labor supporters gathered along Olive Boulevard in Creve Coeur in front of a Verizon Wireless location, as a symbolic show of support.
Company officials point out that Verizon Wireless is a separate entity from the Verizon's landline business, and that Verizon does not provide landline service in the state of Missouri. But those in attendance Monday said they were concerned about what sorts of precedents might be set for other unionized workers around the country as a result.
"They make billions of dollars quarterly. Instead of sharing some of that, they cut back. We need to take back your health care. We need to cut back on your salary. That just isn't fair," said Robert Murray, a Creve Coeur area resident who works for AT&T in Maryland Heights.
By phone, a Verizon spokesperson said the company has lost 50 percent of its business over the last decade because of technology like Skype, Facebook and Twitter. Harry Mitchell said Verizon stands "ready willing and able" to negotiate an agreement that gives it a cost structure to compete in that environment, while also supporting upper middle class jobs.
Members of the , along with law enforcement authorities from Olivette, Maryland Heights and St. Louis County were on hand as a matter of standing operating procedure, but reported no incidents with the crowd.