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45,000 Verizon Communications union workers go on strike

Posted: , by Victor H.

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45,000 Verizon Communications union workers go on strike
Many called this possibly the last big strike in land lines, but Sunday's strike brought 45,000 unionized workers from Verizon Communications and it seemed as serious as it gets. The land-line industry might be shrinking, but workers united in the Communications Workers of America felt that Verizon's proposed draconian cuts aiming to tie salary to employee performance, concessions on pensions and requiring workers to pay over $100 montly for health care premiums, contradicted the fact that the company registered profits from its wired network, while Verizon's top five executives compensation amounted to over quarter a billion in the last four years.

Bargaining kicked off on June 22nd, but Verizon hasn't made any concessions to the workers, forcing unions to go on strike. The strike likely won't affect Verizon Wireless and its cell phone business, but rather cause some problems with land lines and the company's FiOS TV and Internet service. A large part of the employees on strike are field technicians, call center employees and cable installers.

“Since bargaining began on June 22, Verizon has refused to move from a long list of concession demands. Even at the 11th hour, as contracts were set to expire, Verizon continued to seek to strip away 50 years of collective bargaining gains for middle class workers and their families,” the union explained in a statement.

From the viewpoint of the company, though, the strike is all about Verizon's financial health. It is also one of the first challenges for newly appointed Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. "It is clear that some of the existing contract provisions, negotiated initially when Verizon was under far less competitive pressure, are not in line with the economic realities of business today," the chief executive replied to the workers' claims. 

While the outcome of the strike is yet unclear, Verizon has promised that its service won't be affected as it has activated tens of thousands of non-union workers to fill in for those who are on strike. The replacement workers are expected to work 12-hours days in a six-day work week.


28 Comments
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posted on 08 Aug 2011, 07:16 3

1. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5582; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Squeeze the workers.... CEO has to make his numbers somehow. If sales aren't rising, squeeze the workers.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 07:19 7

2. Sniggly (Posts: 6760; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Unions suck. Yes, I understand the good they've played in the past, but in the past few decades they've gotten so goddamned greedy about wages and benefits that they've helped destroy the existence of the United States workforce.

And it's good that HAW won't be affected.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 08:10 3

5. mambocream (Posts: 27; Member since: 10 Jun 2011)


Amen!

I've been saying the same thing for years. They had their time and place, but they are a hindrance to progress and the success of US businesses when competing in a world market.

P.S. I'm glad I don't have Verizon at the moment

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 08:33 6

6. exsoutherner (unregistered)


You guys just don't get it, do you? This isn't about the $100/month, it's about not sending VZW the message that they can continue to do this to the point where people are working to the bone for money that can't even support their families.

Even with the benefits now the VZW employees are not living the high life. Whatever concessions VZW gets will not get passed down to the customers. It'll just further line the pockets of people who are already have more than they can spend their entire lives. Last I checked, making 3.6 billion last quarter and growing year after year in profitability despite the benefits they were paying seems like a weak argument that VZW "isn't competitive".

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 08:41 4

8. captn3x (unregistered)


These numbers are actually proving that workers need protection from corporate greed more now than ever. If it wasn't for the unions those workers and families would be sitting without insurance and making minimum wage while the top 5 execs pulled down over half a billion. Get rid of corporate greed and get rid of the unions. Its a fact that the 400 richest people in the USA make more than the rest of the country combined. I am all for cuts across the board but let make sure we start at the top of the board and go down, not just start in the middle and go across.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 09:01 5

9. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


While I don't know the details... $100 a mo for insurance isn't that much IF they are talking about family coverage. Personal coverage that is a bit high.

Salary tied to performance? What is wrong with that!

But... 1/4 billion for 5 execs over 4 years... That's 12.5 million per year per exec. That is insane! According to the WSJ, they monitored 50 companies and the highest bonus last year went to Walt Disney CEO 13.5 million. The average bonus was 2.5 million. That is also after a 30% average increase last year.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703818204576206903329068840.html

If the execs can be greedy about their "goddammed" wages the employees should be to.

Execs are the leaders of the company. I have always been taught lead by example. If they want the workers to take a cut the execs better be taking a serious one too.

While in some cases I agree unions can cause problems, this situation is the EXACT reason what they are still useful in the modern age. The only way normal workers can stand up against this obvious salary/benefit hypocrisy is together.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 14:06 2

15. Bama (unregistered)


Look at GM.

Both the executives and the unions bankrupted them.

You guys are stupid for sticking up for either side.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 16:42 1

18. captn3x (Posts: 43; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)


Lets look at GM. everything the Union workers gave up in the first round of "bankruptcy saving" negotiations GM paid out to the CEO's that got the unions to take the cuts as a bonus. So you tell me why during the second round the union should have budged.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 07:19 1

3. Sniggly (Posts: 6760; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


HAW? VZW. Damn autocorrect.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 07:39 10

4. dzyuba (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)


Requiring workers to pay over $100 a month for healthcare? That's outrageous and greedy! Paying people based on how they work? That's ludicrous!

Gotta love unions. Funny how many others like myself have to perform at a certain level to KEEP their job and pay over $100 a WEEK for healthcare.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 17:31 1

20. ogre150 (Posts: 22; Member since: 16 Apr 2010)


I wish I could thumbs up that like 30 times. My old job spent millions on a party and literally the next week cut all OT and 3 months later laid off 130 employees out around 450. The final total was 165 gone. I personally was laid off twice, called back once, and am unemployed trying to get my CDL.
For insurance I paid $139 every 2 weeks for me and my wife.

I've been around unions my entire life and honestly they only breed laziness in workers now. Many times I was told to stop working so hard because it makes everyone else look bad! Can you believe that!?

When unions were designed some hundred plus years ago they were needed. Today, not so much. I heard that for every GM car that was sold nearly $3000 of each one was to pay for pensions of retired workers. A friend of mine worked at FORD and he complained when they upped the amount of screws he had to install from 2 to 3 for his particular part of the assembly line. I'm telling you unions breed laziness.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 08:40 5

7. wackyjazz (Posts: 10; Member since: 11 Apr 2011)


Crazy...I am single, work for a hospital and I pay MORE than $100 per month for healthcare insurance and this is the middle plan. Paying for a portion if not all of your healthcare is the future of American employees...

Wake up union employees...check out the unemployement rates, there are 100's of thousands of people who would LOVE to have your job!!

Stop yapping about how much the CEO makes. Go back to school and you can have his job. Remember, its the CEO's job to protect the interest of the SHAREHOLDERS, not union greed.

Yes, in the past unions had their place, contributed to the growth of America, but now the world is a global economy so unions prevent these companies from becoming flexible to changes in markets.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 09:16 6

10. Mark Wiseman (unregistered)


America is quickly becoming a third world banana republic with wages to match. The cuts are not needed. Republican assholes are just continuing their quest to collect all of the nations money into the pockets of the top 1%. The rest of us will all be slave labor with no voice, if they succeed in destroying all unions.

Wake up America! Before it's too late.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 14:03 3

14. Bama (unregistered)


No...sorry, bud.

Obama wants slave labor.

You got your wires crossed and your parties wrong.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 12:53 1

27. PeterIfromsweden (Posts: 1230; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


Uhh...
America needs to make spending cuts, and quick !
Have you seen how much dept your country is in ?
Here in Sweden we are not in debt, but have you seen the taxes here in sweden ?
About 70-80 %, thats right you read it correctly. 70-80 % taxes here in sweden, and you are complaining ?
Maybe you should not have spending cuts, you should just increase your taxes to 80 %, your debt will be solved in no time !

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 12:28 1

11. droidlova (unregistered)


Sadly this is what unions have become. It doesnt matter if the business is going bankrupt, they will not compromise. There was a need for unions in the past, but just like govt, they are made of people and the bigger they get the more corrupt they become. Sad but true. I pay more than $100 for my healthcare....and im glad we arent unionized here at the wireless services. Landline services unfurtunately are going nowhere. Its that simple. Either take cuts or get laidoff. The only things you are entitled to are life, freedom, and the persuit of hapiness. What a concept.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 12:58 2

12. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)


Sniggly, I used to respect your opinions in this forum--but your use of The LORDS name in vein is so useless and not needed anywhere....

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 13:18 5

13. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)


so was your goddamn comment.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 16:30 1

17. Sniggly (Posts: 6760; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


So...my lack of reverence in every other area of my life is only significant when it comes to a god that I don't believe in?

Granted, I get where you're coming from, but you have to understand that not everyone shares your religious views. Unless my usage of profantiy/using God's "name" (narcissistic of Christianity to claim the generic noun for a deity as their god's actual name) is causing you physical harm, I'm not going to walk on eggshells over the language I use. Not trying to offend, I just don't see a special reason to bow to your linguistic preferences.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 18:52

21. quakan (Posts: 1156; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


ummm...so back to talking about the article

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 14:53 3

16. cybervlad81 (Posts: 84; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)


This is the perfect time for a company to stand up to the Unions, being there is a huge workforce out there that would gladly take the place of the Union pawns. I would love to see Verizon Communications (which contrary to what some seem to believe, is not VZW as it is a private company with shared ownership by V-Com and Vodophone, 55 and 45 percent respectively.) take a stand against Unions. It would surely make people think twice about those Union dues...

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 16:52 1

19. captn3x (Posts: 43; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)


People fail to remember that the this economy revolves around a decent wage were people can afford a $100 per month on a smart phone plan and a 65 inch TV at home. Whether you wan to believe it or not Unions played a huge role in getting those wages. NonUnion electricians get the wage they get because the union counterpart fought for them. The same goes for pipe fitters, millwrights, carpenters, steel workers, and the list goes on. Once CEO wages start dropping I will back off the belief that we need unions, but while the middle man is being bent over the barrel so the people upstairs can have there lavish lifestyle I'll stand firm.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 20:53

23. Soulmanager11 (Posts: 26; Member since: 04 May 2011)


You serve are 100% right.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 06:35

26. Soulmanager11 (Posts: 26; Member since: 04 May 2011)


***Sir

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 20:52 1

22. Soulmanager11 (Posts: 26; Member since: 04 May 2011)


The best comment in the entire post.+1,000,000,000,000. Everyone complaints about the union workers but they don't complain about a CEO or other executives making ridiculous wages at the expense of the real hard workers of each company, the blue collar guys and all the unemployed americans that can't provide a decent meal for their family. And struggles to paid for the most basic bills like water, electricity etc... Where I'm from right now they're 8,000+ homeless children starting the school year. Meanwhile Lowell McAdams is having a big spiny lobster fresh from the Caribbean, having the best Internet in his house for free (FIOS) and living in a 20,000 sq. Ft mansion. I'm not against them making a decent wage but not greedy ones. America has become the land of the greed. You know how many people you can feed for 12.5 million.

posted on 08 Aug 2011, 21:37

24. ngo2dd (Posts: 781; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)


100 dollar a month can be a lot if you're are make 9.5 per hour. Some of the demand are reasonable some are not. You strike high and hope for the best that it work out.The verizon is making a large sum of money, it show be pass on to the consumer or the work. Not make it worst. But I want to live in an ideal world.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 00:43

25. Sniggly (Posts: 6760; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Verizon Communications is not making a lot of money. Quarter over quarter they're doing poorly. And 9.5 is what a call center employee makes, not a technician who actually installs and services landlines. He or she is paid much better, I promise you that.

posted on 09 Aug 2011, 15:50

28. Unemployed Union Worker/VZ Spo (unregistered)


Where is the contract information coming from? My husband is a VZ employee and we can't get a list of the concessions. The information on insurance that I saw was aroud $400 for a family with a $3000 deductible. Seems to me we would be paying for most all medical bills yearly. I can understand giving some concessions back, but VZ wants all or nothing. They are merely trying to break the Union. My belief is they have a buyer and are trying to get rid of the Union for a sweet deal.

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