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Strike

Verizon Workers To Return To Work Monday

Verizon Communications Workers take a break from picketing to pose in front of a Verizon Wireless Store photo: CWA District-1

45,000 Verizon Communications workers, along with a handful of Verizon Wireless workers are going to return to work Monday after nearly two weeks on strike.  Although Verizon Communications hasn’t come to terms on a new contract with these employees who are represented by the Communication Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions, they do feel comfortable returning to their jobs.

The striking workers will temporarily be working under the terms of their old contract, while a new contract is being ironed out. Previously both CWA and IBEW had said Verizon was dragging it’s feet on negotiating which prompted the strike in the first place.

“We agreed to end the strike because we believe that is in the best interest of our customers and our employees,” said Marc Reed, head of human relations for Verizon. “We remain committed to our objectives, and we look forward to negotiating the important issues that are integral to the future health of Verizon’s wireline business.” (source: CNet)

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Verizon Communications To Strikers: No Health Insurance For You

Verizon Communications Workers take a break from picketing to pose in front of a Verizon Wireless Store photo: CWA District-1

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.

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Some Verizon Wireless Workers Striking Too

When 45,000 of Verizon Communications unionized workers took to the picket line this morning, a small portion of their brethren at Verizon Wireless joined them.

According to the Wall Street Journal .2% of Verizon Communications’ striking workforce, who are members of the Communications Workers of America Union, actually work for Verizon Wireless.  The rest of the Verizon Wireless workforce is non-unionized.  These remaining workers are left over from a merger 15 years ago that had these workers go to the wireless division while the rest went to the wireline business.

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45,000 Verizon employees strike at midnight

Philadelphia and New York:

After talks stalled the  Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have decided to walk out.  In the past they held NYNEX, the New England and New York company now called Verizon at bay for four months in an effort to avoid healthcare cost shifting.  In the past they have held  strikes in 1983, 1986, 1989, 1998, 2000, and 2004;

In 2003, in response to management plans to replace nearly 75,000 workers, the CWA and IBEW decided not to strike.  In the following 8 years the numbers of regional union employees has dropped from 75,000 to 45,000 due to outsourcing, job eliminations, buyouts, and attrition.  Verizon is attempting to force unionized employees to pay premium payments for individual and family coverage, which the CWA and IBEW won during the 1989 strike.

In addition to forcing members to pay between $1,300 to $3,000 a year for family coverage, Verizon is also planning on freezing existing group pensions and instead offering a 401(k) plan instead.  Sick days will be limited to only five per year, raises will be based on performance reviews, and customer service reps will be switched over to commission pay.  It is rumored that Verizon is also planning on taking away Veterans’ Day and Martin Luther King Day as paid vacations.

Verizon’s workforce now consists of 135,000 nonunion employees – and unionized workforce makes up less than 30 percent of the total workforce.  Although Verizon says that the cuts are due to the steady and continuing decline of its wireline business and is doing this in an attempt to “strengthen the unit”.  Verizon has the ability to continue with very limited disruption in service, or no disruption at all.  “Tens of thousands of Verizon managers and other personnel have been trained to step in and perform emergency work assignments,” Spokesperson Rich Young said.

Verizon is certainly not in a stressful financial situation, reporting $10.2 billion in profits in 2010 and $6.9 billion in net income for the first half of this year. Over the past four years, Verizon earned nearly $20 billion for its shareholders and the top five executives managed to pay themselves a very generous $258 million spent on salaries, bonuses and stock options.

sources: InTheseTimes, CWA, IBEW Local