Images from a union rally Saturday at Verizon’s New York headquarters show a sea of red, including signs that read, “Hey Verizon, more good jobs, not executive pay”.
Verizon wireline unit workers located in the East Coast have voted in favor of a strike if necessary, with contract negotiations continuing as of Saturday.
“Our members are clear and they are determined”, said Dennis Trainor, an official with the Communications Workers of America union. A new contract that covers more than 39,000 workers that the CWA and the global Brotherhood of Electric Workers represent ends on August 1 at midnight. They rejected the harsh and concessionary demands of the management. It includes employees who work in landline telephone operations and the popular FiOS network, which bundles together Internet, phone and television services. These are Verizon staff in the company’s wire-line business spread who are spread in Washington, DC, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut. The dispute is over sharp hikes in employee healthcare contributions and pension concessions, reports Sentinel Republic.
Rich Young, a spokesman for Verizon said that their proposal was solid and recognized the changing landscape of communications and offered workers a path towards success.
Nearly 45,000 workers at Verizon went on strike almost four years ago in August of 2011 for nearly two weeks.
Young said some parts of the contract were dated by more than a decade and has lost its relevance in the telecom industry which is reeling from structural changes and pressure.
He added that Verizon had trained employees who were non-union to take on more roles in the company to ensure that there would be no disruption for the customers if in fact members of the union were to go on strike.