Verizon Strike: Labor’s Last Stand?
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) faces a strike of 45,000 of its workers. Members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers walked out because Verizon wants sharp cuts to offset its drop in landline revenue. More and more people have abandoned home phones in favor of VoIP and cell phones. Verizon’s revenue position is even more difficult because its rapidly growing wireless business has not expanded recently like it did a few year ago. The cellular subscriber market in the U.S. is saturated.
The unions that walked out on Verizon understand they are part of a long line of workers likely to lose jobs because of new technology, a deteriorating economy, or changes in the businesses in which their employers make money.
The UAW negotiations with the Big Three this year are not likely to be contentious, which may make the Verizon strike one of the last huge labor walk-outs in American history. Auto workers have recently gotten some share of car company profits in many cases. The big “downsizing” of the industry happened when the industry nearly went under and Chrysler and GM (NYSE: GM) filed for Chapter 11. The UAW hopes to organize workers at more foreign car companies with U.S.-based plants. That includes Volkswagen. The number of people who might join the UAW from these assembly lines is small compared to the huge numbers of workers who used to work in plants at Ford (NYSE: F), GM, and Chrysler. The UAW’s best years were over long ago. Read more by Douglas A. McIntyre here.