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.