Verizon Faces Huge Strike
April 16, 2016 Leave a comment
Verizon, which is the nation’s leading wireless provider, is facing a massive strike, one of the largest in recent years. 40,000 workers walked off on April 13th, although none of those workers are part of the company’s wireless operation, and while the East Coast will see some disruption of service to Verizon’s Fios TV, Internet, and landline operations, the rest of the country should be fine.
The workers are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which primarily represent customer service and network technicians at Verizon. The strike follows a standstill in contract negotiations, following the end of the previous contract back in August of 2015. Previously, contract negotiations in 2011 had led to a strike, which ended in two weeks.
Verizon has claimed that they have 10,000 trained, non-union workers who should be able to keep service outages to a minimum, but the CWA claims that those workers can’t possibly take up the slack, which will likely push Verizon towards a speedy resolution. The negotiations are bogged down in a number of issues, namely demands for workers to temporarily relocate, and cuts to healthcare and pensions, and outsourcing call-enter jobs.
The company has been accused of shipping jobs overseas and of instituting lay-offs by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, though Verizon holds that these aren’t even on the table. They do face some pretty solid criticism from their workers though, such as Anita Long, who has worked at Verizon for 37 years and claims that the company makes around a billion dollars a month, which makes their “inability” to pay decent wages or preserve healthcare seem absurd.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), which helped mediate in the 2011 negotiations, has offered to help, but the CWA denies having contacted them. They don’t want to go to Washington and involve the federal government, they simply want Verizon to address their concerns.