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Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Aug. 24, 2000
issue of Workers World newspaper

Is Verizon James Earl Jones?

When people think of Verizon/Bell Atlantic, they think of actor James Earl Jones and his great voice. But this is just slick advertising. What is Verizon and who's really behind it?

Here are some of the facts:

Verizon is no mom and pop outfit. The company has 95 million telephone lines in the United States; 25 million wireless customers; and 4 million pager customers. It's the world's big gest provider of print and online directory information. Verizon operates in
96 of the top 100 markets in the country. The company reported $60 billion in revenues for 1999.

Verizon is not just a monopoly here. It owns the main telephone companies in 21 countries and has a presence in another 19 countries. These include Canada, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Britain, Italy, Greece, Micronesia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, New Zealand, and the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico. Verizon has 6 million wireless customers overseas.

Who's on the board of directors? Not James Earl Jones.

The following Fortune 500 companies are represented on the board:

Banks: Chase, First Union, PNC

Pharmaceuticals: American Home Products

Oil: Shell

Military-Industrial Complex: United Technologies

Steel: USX

Transportation: CS Railroad

When you look at who owns the stock, you discover a Who's Who of big business and big banks: Barclay's, Fidelity Management, Bankers Trust, Mellon Bank, State Street Bank and others.

Your may not see these folks in the Verizon ads. You may not see their faces on your telephone bill. But these corporate interests are part of the system of exploitation that dominates our lives from telephones to political offices. They're part of the system we are fighting when we protest police brutality.

So when you pass the picket line, let the strikers know you support them. Not only because their battle is just--but because they are fighting for all of us!

Sources: Verizon Web site (, Wall Street Journal (, Yahoo Full Coverage (

—Jeff Bigelow

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