Verizon Strike: What You Need To Know.

More than 45,000 workers from two unions at Verizon went on strikeyesterday, according to the Communications Workers of America, one of the striking unions. This is the first strike at Verizon since 2000.

So who’s striking? Unionized workers from Verizon’s wireline business.

Everybody at the wireline business? No. According to Bloomberg, it’s about a quarter of the company’s staff.

Will this affect my cell phone? No. Verizon Wireless is mostly non-unionized and is unaffected. The only CWA workers at Verizon Wireless are 70 technicians in the New York City metro area, according to the CWA.

What will this affect? Service, installations, and maintenance for Verizon DSL Internet, FiOS cable TV and Internet, and landline phones in states between Massachusetts and Virginia. Verizon says it’s pressing managers into service, but obviously, staffing will be down.

Why are they striking? Verizon is trying to cut workers’ benefits, get them to pay more for their health care, eliminate pensions for future workers, and reduce job security, among many of the company’s demands.

What do the unions say? Verizon has been making massive profits recently, so the company shouldn’t be cutting workers’ benefits. According to the New York Times, Verizon had net income of $6.9 billion in the first six months of this year. Verizon’s top five executives made a total of $258 million over the last four years, the Times says.

What does the company say? The company’s growth is coming from the wireless business, not the wireline business, so Verizon wants to cut costs on the wireline side. That means giving workers less.

What might this have to do with the AT&T/T-Mobile merger? The CWA, one of the striking unions, is present at AT&T and has expressed strong support for the merger so unionized AT&T can eradicate non-union T-Mobile. There’s an element of the CWA flexing its strength here, possibly in part to show AT&T that it’s not a pushover and will still fight for its workers.

When will this end? Nobody knows. The two sides are trading insults, but they’re still in talks. Depending on their willingness to compromise, the workers’ patience and the damage the strike does to Verizon’s business, this could take a while. ~ Sascha Segan. PC Mag


Posted on August 8, 2011, in Labor Relations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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