Roughly 36,000 Verizon union workers went on strike at 6AM this morning after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a new contract after more than nine months of negotiations. Despite $39 billion in profits over the last three years the union says that Verizon executives have been pushing to offshore jobs to the Philippines, Mexico and other locations, outsource work to low-wage contractors and transfer workers away from their families for months at a time.
The strike could have an obvious impact on Verizon DSL, FiOS and fixed-line customers, many of whom were already seeing reduced support and repair quality as Verizon focused its resources on wireless.
Through our hard work, Verizon is making record profits while our families are left with threats to our jobs and our customers aren t getting the service they need,” the CWA said of the strike. “Striking is a hardship for our families, but we need to remind Verizon executives that the people who build their profits are a critical reason for the company s success.”
Verizon has made it repeatedly clear the company would like to end union work entirely for its wireline assets. The company’s wireless service is largely non-unionized. Company executives say they’ve prepared for a better part of the year for a strike, and insist that consumers should see no disruption to service.
“Let’s make it clear, we are ready for a strike,” Bob Mudge, president of Verizon’s wireline network operations says of the strike. Mudge says that the company has brought in Verizon workers from other departments to fill in, and these workers “know our first priority is maintaining services for our customers and they have taken on this challenge with pride.”
Verizon’s union workers had been working without a contract since August 1, 2015, and had technically begun negotiating for a new contract back in June. It remains entirely unclear just how long the strike will last.