Verizon Workers Strike Over Concession Demands

More than 45,000 workers are on strike at Verizon Communications as a result of failed negotioations on a new labor agreement. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers (IBEW) say that bargaining continues, but Verizon has refused to move from its long list of demands.

At issue is the companies stand that the new economic realities in the U.S. require concessions that unions say will strip away 50 years of collective bargaining gains for middle class workers and their families. As the contract expired, nearly 100 concessionary company proposals remained on the table.

As a result, CWA and the IBEW have called for a strike until Verizon stops, what the unions characterize as,   “its Wisconsin-style tactics” and starts bargaining seriously.

In anticipation of this development, Verizon has activated a contingency plan to ensure customers experience limited disruption in service during this time.

In a statement on Verizon’s website the company said:

We are confident that we have the talent and resources in place to meet the needs and demands of our customers,” said Marc C. Reed, Verizon’s executive vice-president of human resources.   “It’s regrettable for our employees and our customers that the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have decided to walk away from the table instead of continuing to work through the issues.

Union officials said that members are prepared to return to work when management demonstrates the willingness to begin bargaining seriously for a fair agreement adding that, “If not, CWA and IBEW members and allies will continue the fight.”

The contract covers 45,000 members of Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers from New England to Virginia.

Comments

  1. Seems to me these people are not happy enough to have a job. There are plenty of unemployed in this country (likely more to come with the way things are going) that would love to have a paycheck coming in.

    • @Tom..It’s MORE than being happy and having a job… in this bargaining of the contract ! My husband and I are retirees of the old Bell Telephone Co, now Verizon. We worked our butts off for over thirty plus years and contibuted to our retirement. We retired with those benefits we worked for and now Verizon plans on doing away with those benefits…our health and pension plans !! How would you like to plan all those years (30+), finally be able to retire, then have it all taken away by the company ?
      Yes, todays times are very hard on EVERYONE, but you should not make such a flippant remark without considering all the reasons why people are fighting to keep what they EARNED !!!

  2. Because I Care says:

    I can sympathize with these workers knowing their CEO, who stepped down in October 2010 was paid over $18 million in compensation. The ratio between the lowest paid worker and the CEO is over 300 to 1. This is unacceptable. Maybe if company executives would take a pay cut, many people would retain their jobs and be paid a decent living wage with decent benefits.

  3. Because I Care says:

    I can sympathize with these workers knowing their CEO, who stepped down in October 2010 was paid over $18 million in compensation. The ratio between the lowest paid worker and the CEO is over 300 to 1. This is unacceptable. Maybe if company executives would take a pay cut, many people would retain their jobs and be paid a decent living wage with decent benefits.

  4. Bobs Sports Store says:

    Not to mention Verizon is a very profitable company! They do that on the backs of the employees and yet don,t want to share the wealth. This is a prime example of the down sizing of the middle class in this country, making the highly paid executives richer while not letting the workers stay even with the cost of living. As for pensions I believe that companies who reduce or elimniate their pension obligations promised, are nothing short of criminals, and should be punished accordingly!

  5. BlossomButt says:

    Unless I have read all of the online articles correctly, the main issue being disputed is union employees and their health insurance. Verizon union employees do not pay any premium towards their health insurance coverage, which is basically unheard of in todays working world. If that is the main complaint, then I cannot sympathize with the workers. There are millions of people without health insurance that would gladly pay $100 – $300 per month to have insurance coverage and you are complaining? Also, please do not give me the “poor working class” talk. I and many others are close friends of Verizon employees and we are well aware that those starting salaries are at par or well above the local average.

  6. Self Employed says:

    I have to agree with Blossom. Most people are not able to pay for private healthcare, so if part of the issue is down to the contributions they have to pay, then I have no sympathy. A number of reports on the internet state that a large number of Verizon engineers that belong to the CWA are damaging the network to get back at their employers.

    I own a business in Berryville and have been without internet access for two days. The head of the CWA states that he cannot guarantee repairs will be carried out with immediate affect. He went on to mention that if negotiations go on for weeks or months, then so be it, as he isn’t going to move. That will mean that engineers will not fix business lines or internet faults until this has been resolved.

    During a recession, I don’t need the extra stress of having union bullies like him killing my business due to a lack of contact with my customers.

    • First off the main issue is not all about Health Care – Health Care is just one issue on the table – (one of 100 issues on the table) and no one has said that Verizon employee’s would not agree to paying a fair amount monthly for their healthcare- it hasn’t even been discussed yet – that is something that could be discussed, worked on, compromiesd on but in order for that to happen Verizon has to actually sit down and discuss it with the union – they don’t seem to be willing to do that. And the union workers ARE glad they have a job – they want to make sure they keep one, with Verizon refusing to let workers from the Land line offices move over into open positions in the wireless offices and with Verizon sending thousands of jobs oversees more and more Verizon workers are facing the loss of their jobs every day. And I love the way the company likes to make Verizon sound like two seperate companies – the Land Line Company and the Wireless Company – It’s all one company and while it may be the wireless department that is bringing the most profits at the moment, the company seems to forget that the wireless portion requires work done everyday on by the Land line workers to stay up and running. But again I say, there are many issues at hand – not just the 2 or 3 Verizon wants to single out to make it appear the way they want it too but none of the issues will ever get discussed or settled until Verizon agrees to sit down and Bargin in good faith – as soon as they start doing that the workers will go back to work.

  7. Does anyone have a link to the list of 100 items Verizon is asking for?