CNet and FiereceTelecom are reporting today that Verizon Communications is about to pull the plug on striking workers’ health insurance if they don’t return to work by the end of August. Health insurance is one of the key issues in the CWA member union wireline workers currently striking and demonstrating in front of Verizon Wireless stores.
The striking workers were anticipating this move by Verizon Communications. The Communications Workers of America Union, has said it would be able to make healthcare assistance available to those on the picket line through the Robert Lilja Members relief fund. The CWA along with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) are making COBRA information available to those striking workers as well.
More after the break
Some media has downplayed this strike by Verizon Communications wireline workers because Verizon, as well as other telco’s have seen a huge shift away from standard wireline services. Verizon Wireless, is often thought of as the crown jewel in the Verizon family. One thing to consider though is that these striking Verizon Communicatoins workers are responsible for installation and maintenance on a lot of Verizon’s FIOS equipment which keeps them competitive with traditional cable companies.
As Fierce points out , right now it appears that Verizon has the upperhand in this work outage however if the strike starts cutting into the bottom line of Verizon’s FIOS services the tables could turn.
A very small percentage of Verizon Wireless workers who were with Nynex before the merger are also striking members of CWA and have joined their Verizon Communicatios brethren on the picket line. Although they have to adhere to strict court mandated rules, Verizon Communications CWA members have won the right to picket in front of Verizon Wireless corporate owned locations in small numbers.