Verizon Workers on Verge of Crippling Strike

Written by Long Island  |  04. August 2011

As many as 65,000 Verizon union employees are on the verge of going on strike Saturday as negotiations between the company and the main labor unions have broken down. Unless a new contract is signed, Verizon workers stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia will stop working. Nearly one-third of Verizon’s 200,000 workers belong to a union. A strike will effect linesmen, phone installers and repair men, and call center workers. Despite earning profits of $20 billion over the last four years, Verizon’s landline business was down 2.9 percent from the previous year. According to James Wagner, CWA Local 1122 president, the top five executives at the company earn $258 million over the past four years. Negotiations hit a boiling point on Saturday as 15,000 Verizon workers and their supporters rallied outside Verizon headquarters in New York City. The workers were reacting to the corporate executives who propose to take away workers’ pensions, health care, sick days, and holidays. In addition, the company wants to suspend differentials and replace regular pay raises with merit pay. The crowd wildly responded to claims of unfair negotiations pointing to the alleged $55,000 a day compensation for CEO Ivan Seidenberg. Statewide, a work stoppage would affect 16,000 Verizon workers. The resulting ramifications to service are yet to be determined.

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