Verizon workers strike over lost jobs and refusal to expand fiber


#1

Nearly 40,000 Verizon employees on the East Coast of the US have gone on strike, following almost a year of failed negotiations.

The strike was called by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which complain that Verizon is seeking to move jobs offshore, outsource work to low-wage contractors, close call centers, and force technicians to go on months-long assignments away from home.

“Verizon executives want wireline technicians to work away from home for as long as two months at a time, anywhere from Massachusetts to Virginia, without seeing their families,” the CWA said yesterday. “Working parents like Isaac Collazo, a cable splicer from New York, fear they will be forced to choose between caring for their kids and keeping their jobs.”

The unions also say that Verizon has cut staff instead of living up to promises to install more FiOS fiber lines. Despite plans to expand FiOS in Boston, Verizon has largely stopped expansion of the fiber network.

“For years, Verizon has been cutting vital staff—it has nearly 40 percent fewer workers now than a decade ago—and has failed to hire the personnel necessary to properly roll out the [FiOS] service,” the unions said. “In New York City and Philadelphia, Verizon has failed to meet the build-out obligations under their citywide cable franchise agreements. And Verizon has failed to build out FiOS in Baltimore, western Massachusetts, virtually all upstate New York cities, and many towns in Pennsylvania.” (Verizon has denied allegations that it hasn’t lived up to FiOS construction agreements.)

Verizon, for its part, is sending in nonunion employees to do the unionized workers’ jobs. There will be a deterioration in service for its customers in the region, and any ire about that should be directed at Verizon, not at the striking workers.


#2

If they don’t want to work, perhaps they should be replaced.


#3

Oh boy, here we go! When we had the ole telephones the employees never caused a shutdown of phones. “Ma Bell” couldn’t keep up with current I-phone service but we never had to pay so much $ for a phone either!

Do you think maybe current events are a reflection of the last 7+ years?


#4

I guess they’re gonna really accelerate the plan to move those jobs off shore. I mean I get why they’re doing it. But if Verizon’s on a cost-cutting binge it’s not going to forget this action any time quick.


#5

I am not understanding why Verizon employees would strike over fiber not being installed except the sales department. No one has mentioned pay. If they are not filling lost jobs from attrition… well, eight hours is still eight hours. They are not being chained in their cubes.


#6

I’m a retired CWA member that worked for a phone company. I can tell you that part of the problem with all of them is they hire contracted workers, who get higher pay but no benefits. Then the company’s little trick is at the end of their employment they then can apply for well paying jobs in the company, instead of promoting employees. They all have a transfer plan where you can move up to a better paying job. Part of the qualifications is “experience” and because these contracted workers have more experience than an employee with say 20 years with the company, doing another job but qualified through classes, the ex contracted worker gets the job. He or she then has to begin at the bottom where the employee with more seniority would get paid better.

And I’d imagine many people they’ll bring in are supervisors and retired supervisors. Of course there’s always some non union that will work because they’ll pay them more, but on the other hand could easily get fired.


#7

These are landline workers who make an average of $130,000 per year in wages and benefits. Since the landline division is not bringing in the profits it used to (now about 7% of Verizon’s profits) and raising the price of service isn’t really feasible at a time when so many customers are getting rid of their landlines, the company wants to cut health and pension benefits. Negotiations aren’t getting anywhere and the union called a strike.

I understand why the workers don’t want to lose pay and benefits, but in this changing world, what’s Verizon really supposed to do about it? Perhaps they’ll just decide the declining landline business isn’t worth the bother and everyone will lose their jobs.


#8

For some, the attitude is “If I can’t get the wage and benefits I want, nobody can have the job at all.”


#9

Or the union, if you do no think there strike is call for. Perhaps the workers that come in to fill in will even improve service.


#10

Here is the thing, a long distance call then works out to dollars per minute in todays dollars and often long distance could include the state you live in, now you can get unlimited talk plans in the US for under $50 a month.

Probably because building out the FiOS network takes labor and so does maintaining it which are both job security

That division also includes FiOS which is growing and profitable


#11

Perhaps labor unions should be suppressed, or outlawed. If workers are treated improperly, they can get a different job or start their own company.


#12

My son was a 411 operator for Verizon.

Lousy company to work for and a lousy union that represents them.

Jim


#13

The Church supports the rights of workers to form unions.


#14

Unfortunately, too many Republican politicians and voters don’t. Union busting is the name of their game.


#15

I did not remember correctly … we did have to pay lots and lots if we made a call to anyone outside our immediate area and heaven forbid - long distance. So money today and money yesterday - its lots more today but the ability to call most everywhere (not all) is wonderful. Only thing is people have gone off the edge (literally) while talking on the phone!

About the present day conditions - the whole world better get down on their knees and pray to God - the turmoil is reaching the boiling point!


#16

I still struggle to understand how it has come to pass that every single telecommunications company has terrible customer service and bad employment practices.

Verizon, Timewarner, Comcast…doesn’t matter every single one is awful to deal with and supposedly just as bad to work for.


#17

The workers in the landline business are in a tough spot. Verizon wants to invest in wireless and was pretty clear when they spun off wireline business in many states to Frontier Communications years ago that they were not interested. It is somewhat like working in the horseshoe division of General Motors. They have no bargaining power.


#18

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