Verizon may be facing a strike among union workers, according to new statements by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Verizon’s union workers haven’t been able to negotiate a new deal with Verizon since their original contract expired last summer. As such the CWA has issued an announcement saying they’re setting a hard strike deadline of 6am Wednesday, April 13. 40,000 Verizon workers could walk off the job, leaving the company and its FiOS & DSL users with a support headache later this week.
“More and more, Americans are outraged by what some of the nation s wealthiest corporations have done to working people over the last 30 years, and Verizon is becoming the poster child for everything that people in this country are angry about,” the CWA said of the strike threat.
“This very profitable company wants to push people down. And it wants to push communities down by not fully repairing the network and by not building out FIOS.”
Negotiations for a new contract began in June 2015, and the workers contract expired on August 1, last year. According to the CWA, Verizon is pushing to offshore a significant volume of additional support, slashing benefits, and “freezing pensions at 30 years of service and forcing retirees to pay extremely high health care costs.”
For months and months, we ve made every effort to reach a fair agreement at the bargaining table, said Myles Calvey, IBEW Local 2222 business manager and chairman, T-6 Verizon New England. We ve offered Verizon hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings and yet they still refuse to provide basic job security for workers. We have to take a stand now for our families and every American worker.
Verizon has issued its own press release claiming to “set the record straight.” The company says the the CWA would rather “make strike threats than constructively engage at the bargaining table,” but remains committed to ongoing negotiations. But Verizon claims that should a strike happen, the company is ready.
“We have trained thousands of non-union Verizon employees to carry out virtually every job function handled by our represented workforce from making repairs on poles to responding to inquiries in our call centers,” says Verizon. “We know the unions’ strike order will be a hardship and pose challenges for our employees, but as a 24×7 customer service company, our contingency plans are in place and our company will continue to serve those who rely on us.”
Update: One union worker forwarded us this e-mail sent by the CWA to its workers:
Bargaining between Verizon and CWA & IBEW has reached a point that has forced us to put 39,000 CWA and IBEW members on strike. Due to Verizon’s greedy demands, CWA and IBEW will be on strike, Wednesday at 6 a.m. against Verizon.
Verizon’s goal all along has been to destroy our contract and our union. We can not and will not let this greedy company take everything from us that has been fought for and died for.
Get ready for the Fight of your lives!
Until then, you are expected to exercise your contractual rights to refuse overtime and not work more than 10 forced hours of overtime each week. You are expected to follow all work and safey rules. You are expected to do only the work that you are trained and qualified for. You are expected to do a Union quality job!
We will focus our picketing on Wednesday morning at the Commack Garage, located at 720 Larkfield Road. We will keep a small group at all of the other locations on Wednesday morning. Normal picketing duties will follow thereafter. Please give your Chiefs and Stewards your availability for picket times.
Make sure that your Chiefs and Stewards have your up to date contact information. If a fight is what they want, then a fight is what they will get!