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Striking Verizon employees may lose benefits soon

Posted: , by Ian M.

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Striking Verizon employees may lose benefits soon
The 45,000 Verizon employees that have been on strike since August 7 due to contract disputes have been informed that they could lose their health benefits if they are still striking on August 31.

It has been a week and a half now since about 25% of Verizon’s workforce went on strike. One of the main holdups in coming to an agreement is a $100 monthly premium for health insurance that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America unions have no interest in paying.

The $100 monthly premium may start to look like a deal now that Verizon is threatening to take away those health benefits completely. This is just a new twist in the ongoing strike that doesn’t look like will be ending any time soon.

What would all of you do in this situation if you were one of the workers on strike? Would you stick to your guns or go back to work before August ends in order to keep your health benefits? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

source: BGR  

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posted on 17 Aug 2011, 20:55 3

1. QCL1976 (unregistered)


Stick it out people, I work for a unionized phone company myself and we almost went on strike 5 years ago and it would've cost the company millions of dollars to train "scab" employees, finally the company got their heads out of their a**** and signed a new CBA, Stick together and have faith.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 21:04 5

3. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


I used to work for Verizon a few years back, in a non-union part (was part of core, then my unit was absorbed into Verizon Business after the MCI merger). I paid a lot more than $100 a month for my family. Sorry, if they're griping about paying $100 a month for health insurance - which is actually pretty cheap compared to a lot of places - then I have absolutely no sympathy them.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 22:44 1

12. Christian (unregistered)


First off you have no Idea what you are talking about Superguy. These guys will have to pay a premium of +3000 dollars more then they are now a year for health care. And Verizon wants them to cut their pay by 20,000 Dollars. I would know I have family who work in the Cellphone industry. So stfu unless you know what you are talking about.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 01:33

19. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


register and post sources or your full of crap. period.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 03:43 2

21. christian_park (Posts: 6; Member since: 18 Aug 2011)


http://articles.boston.com/2011-08-17/business/29897315_1_wireline-business-technicians-and-customer-service-electrical-workers

http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entry/11832/

http://articles.boston.com/2011-08-10/business/29873025_1_union-workers-hundreds-of-striking-workers-communications-workers

http://www.ourbusinessnews.com/verizon-landline-unit-at-heart-of-strike/

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 13:01 2

31. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


I'm not going to disrespect you the way you did me, Christian.

There are two sides to every story, and what you're citing is only the unions claims of what Verizon's trying to do.

You also ignore the fact that there is a distinct possibility they're being overpaid for their work. How many tech level jobs do you know making $80-90k for year, even with overtime?

A lot of people are losing their jobs. A lot of people are having benefits cut. Many people don't have job contracts, or "protection" for being lazy, sleeping on the job, etc. Yes, my friend was in the union and said it took a guy getting caught sleeping on the job 8 times before he got fired. Those guys do what they want because they have no fear of getting fired. There's no incentive to do a good job either.

Let's also not forget that the union has also been getting violent, using kids to picket, harassing people who do want to work and sabotaging phone lines.

http://www.laborunionreport.com/portal/2011/08/union-extremists-using-children-harassing-menacing-replacement-workers-in-verizon-strike/

http://blog.heritage.org/2011/08/11/verizon-strike-day-five-more-reports-of-illegal-activity-violence/

http://mayrantandrave.com/2011/08/16/verizon-strike-union-e-mail-gives-insight-into-thuggery-techniques/

There are two sides to every story. The truth is somewhere in between.

However, using kids, cutting lines, and beating people isn't a way for the unions to win the support of the public.

I can understand the unions have it good and enjoy the gravy train. However, it's also time to be realistic and realize that times are different and if they want to even have a job, they need to be flexible too.

If it's really that bad, they're free to find other jobs. No one's forcing them to work for big, bad Verizon.

posted on 19 Aug 2011, 02:14

45. christian_park (Posts: 6; Member since: 18 Aug 2011)


Superguy you do not understand the concept and principles here. What Verizon made in profits alone last year was I believe 9 Billion IN PROFITS ALONE. And they want to cut workers pay, & benefits because they want more money. Do you think that is right? If so then I guess you think monopolies are okay too? Because you sound like a person who thinks like this. If you have a job you should be grateful no matter the pay. But the sad thing is if they dropped minimum wage then there would be some people out there working for 6-7dollars trying to scrape by which would make the gap of the rich and the poor ever more prominent. And the middle class will be gone. The middle class is DYING now because people are giving into things like this, and people like you who say they should be grateful when others don't have jobs, well what I have to say to that is look back in history. Look how well people lived when they had been paid minimal amounts of money, given little to no benefits & no health care. Everyone was a slave for the corporation & lived in fear day to day because if they got hurt one day and was out for awhile then they would lose their job and have no income. Unions are what keep the middle class going. 80-90k is considered MIDDLE CLASS. So if you want more & more people in America to become poor & suck up even more money from our welfare money provided by us middle class people which is dying because of this. You have to realize its like a circle of life you mess with one thing and everything else will be affected. So instead of these union workers keeping their benefits and pay as it is now they want EACH to give back 20,000 dollars from their yearly pay which is 1 billion dollars total for the 45,000 union workers so Verizon can help their share holders.

So if the union members don't someone else will replace them making less then they should and scraping by or living not so modestly which will affect consumer purchasing which in turn affects Verizon because it makes them lay off more workers if the demand is not there.

And those people who are laid off because all they want is to keep the same contract they have had with Verizon for the past 3 years, when that happens those 45,000 will be taking money from OUR taxpaying dollars & causing the U.S. to borrow more from China causing our dollar to be weakened & adding to the unemployment rate.

Look at all the stuff that are affected by this.

posted on 22 Aug 2011, 13:53

47. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


I believe in a capitalist system. I don't believe in a social or redistributive system. Making money isn't a bad thing. In fact, making money is what keeps people employed. Most of us want to make money. Verizon is a publicly traded company which means many people own shares in it. Look in your 401k and you probably do too. If you work for Verizon, I know you do. You get paid a dividend based on what you own. So it's not like a few people are keeping all the money. Millions of people get that profit.

We're not talking about the minimum wage or monopolies. That's a straw man argument.

What part of the country do you live in if $80-90k is middle class? Many people where I'm from do very well on 40k a year. Most make a lot less than that. What skill do you or your compatriots posses that make it work 80-90k a year? What education do you possess? I know many skilled and educated professions that don't even make close to that.

My parents combined maybe make $80-90k a year, and they are far better off than many in the area.

If unions keep the middle class going, then please tell my why union membership is in the single digits? I've belonged to a union earlier in my career. They didn't do squat for me besides take my money. In fact, it promoted mediocrity as there wasn't an incentive to do a good job. I got paid the same as the jerk who didn't do anything. There wasn't any incentive to do a better job. And believe me, my union didn't get me anywhere close to $80-90k for the same level of work, and I was ok with that. My job wasn't worth that much.

This isn't the early part of the century where I agree corporations were out of control. There are a lot of laws in place to protect workers. However, going to the opposite extreme isn't good either. And if people are affected because of the strike and they go to Comcast or another competitor, that's less money to pay the workers too. You're hurting yourselves a lot more than Verizon.

The compensation package outlined by another poster was BEYOND generous and way out of line, especially for the work being done and education level required.

Sorry, I don't buy the unions protect us argument. They protect themselves. I don't buy the middle class is dying argument either. Government is doing more to kill jobs and the middle class than corporate action (that's not to say corporations are innocent either though).

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 00:12 2

16. WM6.5Sucks (Posts: 42; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Yessssss stick it out as long as you can!....While I take your job AND pay LESS for my health insurance than I do now!!!! :D Seriously 100 bucks a month? I can see a week but, a month!? I pay 70 bucks per biweekly pay(about 2 to three times a month depending on when is payday). I know I don't know all the circumstances, but if this is all that its about then just replace them....! Then again be prepared for mass riots because of that "stupid evil capitalism" crap thats been spewing about....

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 21:00 4

2. newfdog 13 (Posts: 64; Member since: 06 Mar 2010)


Fire them all.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 09:13 1

26. redleg6 (Posts: 25; Member since: 14 May 2011)


If I don't come to work, I get fired.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 21:06 2

5. Droid ZEx (unregistered)


Strikers need to face facts and realize that the wireline industry is dying. I can't say that the cuts are completely necessary; but it makes sense that a company like Verizon Communications would be hurting in this age of wireless technology. Employment is an agreement between two parties. If they're not willing to work for what VZ Comm is offering, they are free to find other jobs. Might be tough. Might want to consider a pay cut as opposed to a pay termination.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 21:15 4

6. gargoyle (unregistered)


I work for a union myself not a phone union but a union non the less. i pay over 50 dollars a week for my health insurance, And that is just for me. Other employees with family members pay around 70 to 100 a week on health insurance. Which is considered good for benefits in Michigan. So sorry no sympathy here either.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 21:31 1

7. wilton g (unregistered)


Where do I apply? Please keep striking people so I can fill out a resume, I have 3 years verizon experience. I have no insurance at ALL!!!!! And I work for verizon

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 21:39 1

8. beaner (unregistered)


I work at a union mine and I pay 7 buck a month for me and my family keep fight

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 21:45 2

9. Matt (unregistered)


$100 or $1,000, the number doesn't tell the story until we know more. What do they make, on average? What kind of coverage are we talking about? Wages are only part of an equation when dealing with labor issues. Does the company pick up the tab for college? Offer discounted or free life insurance? Paid time off or generous vacation? Telecommuting?

Much as weighing the monthly payment is a poor way to evaluate the decision to buy or not, the union members owe it to themselves to evaluate their entire package then decide if it's fair or not.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 22:56

14. Whateverman (Posts: 3271; Member since: 17 May 2009)


I agree. It's easy for us to sit back and say "take the deal, fire them all or $100 is nothing". Like you said, the truth is we don't know the whole story. Last I heard The strike was because Verizon wanted to totally cut their pension and health care completely. So I understand the strike. Maybe if they get rid of a few golden parachutes or million dollar executive bonuses, they could make ends meet and put these people back to work.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 13:22

36. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


The links provided by Christian above showed them averaging about $80-90k a year with overtime. Not bad for not needing a college degree.

Few people have pensions these days. Most companies couldn't afford them and dumped them off on the government. See Bethlehem Steel and United Airlines as examples. So we, the tax payer, end up covering them.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 01:39 3

20. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i used to work for verizon in non union. (most of verizon is not union). They offer tuition assistance, cheap ass benefits (it was like 150-200 a month for my family of 3), 401k, 401k match up to 6%, yearly 401k bonuses, huge bonus spiffs, free phones if ur a good employee, the industry's best pay scale, daycare assistance, and a crap ton of other benefits. The union has an even better deal. They need to quit whining and get off their butts and get the same program that the rest of verizon has, because its one of the BEST deals in the INDUSTRY.

i dont feel crap for those union employees. FIRE EVERY ONE OF THEM, and then maybe they will realize how good they have it. If your in the cellular industry and u work for Verizon corporate, you have the best deal there is. PERIOD. Most people with degrees cant find a job with that high of pay and that many benefits, much less these union employees which most dont have a degree in anything.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 09:05

24. Whateverman (Posts: 3271; Member since: 17 May 2009)


I was a VZW employee as well, so I know the benefit IMHO were great. At least until they changed to Blue cross/Blue Shield. Everything got screwed up! They dropped really important coverages like infertility, but cosmetic alterations were still covered. So if you want a boob job, great your cover! If you want a kid, well if you check page 489, section C, subsection 42, fourth paragraph you see that blah, blah, blah.

I would like to see what the strike is really about, that's all. If you have great job with benefits, you don't strike over a hundred bucks. You work a few hours over to make up for it. But I think they are asking to give up more then we know, and that's why they say the devil is in the details.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 13:14 2

34. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


normally unions throw a fit when they are asked to have the same benifits as non union members. The last 3 or 4 major unions strikes are over just that. They want to be better than everyone else. For one, I am sick of it. I think major unions need to be restructured if they are hurting the business. I/we know VZWs excellent benefits first hand, and they want to keep more than that. VZW gives more than any other cell company to their employees. They need to quit being crybabies and get what everyone else has.

Yea, the BcBs thing really messed with the insurance but its still better than most everyones.

Tmobile doesnt pay nearly as much but the benefits actually are as good (and sometimes better) than VZW benefits, and you get all of them on part time.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 13:11

32. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


All true.

I was a midlevel employee. No management. When we moved from Core over to VZB, we got benefit cuts. What I had before we moved from core:

2 weeks vacation, with 3 weeks in the third year
14 holidays, 6 of which were floaters
unlimited sick time
10% annual bonus depending on individual and company performance (5-20% depending on job tier)
6% 401k match, with another bonus of 1-3% depending on company performance
Health and dental plans ~ 250/month for a family (never had IVF coverage, limited infertility) - 3 company choices
10k/child adoption assistance
8500/yr tuition assistance
VZ discounts

Pretty good package overall. When we got dumped onto VZB:

Vacation same
unlimited sicktime became 5 days, then 8
tuition assistance changed, with becoming reimbursement instead of paying up front. 1 yr commitment no longer required
Bonus/401k match remained (heard bonus changed though after I left)
Big healthcare changes. Plans doubled in cost, coverage not as good
rest the same

Still pretty good, but not as good as what we had. I know people who ended up getting laid off, but were given generous severance packages depending on length of service.

Sure, the benefit cuts sucked. I know a lot of people that left because of them. I did eventually too. Bottom line though is if you don't like your deal, you're always free to find a better one.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 17:05

40. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


Also, the rest of Verizon employees lost their pensions back in 2006. Some parts of Verizon think they're better than others.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 22:21 2

10. maybeNotbionic (unregistered)


all of them are a bunch of useless dumbas$ anyway

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 22:32 2

11. snuxoll (unregistered)


Just to make sure it's clear, this is Verizon Communications employees that are striking, not Verizon Wireless. Not really sure why this is on phonearena unless they're going to stat reviewing home phones anytime soon :)

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 23:57

15. WM6.5Sucks (Posts: 42; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Just hope you don't have verizon internet... :(

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 13:12

33. superguy (Posts: 293; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


There has been picketing outside VZW stores.

posted on 17 Aug 2011, 22:48 1

13. iblackdroid (Posts: 67; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


I would stop striking and get back to work like a normal civilized human being and continue my life WITH health benefits...

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 00:35 1

17. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)


The "norm" in corporate America today is no pension, 401k contribution matching up to 3-5%, health insurance that requires you to pay all of your costs yourself until you reach a level of thousands of dollars, and only really partially covers catastrophic costs, and mediocre education benefits compared to years (not that far in the) past.

If you're getting better than that, count your blessings. There are lines around the block waiting for jobs with these anemic benefits. Verizon knows it can replace all of it's lost workers for a much lower cost and bust the union at the same time. Their only cost is ramping up the new hires who get to learn very quickly thanks to the OJT created by union saboteurs.

posted on 18 Aug 2011, 01:30 2

18. techaman (unregistered)


wow really people welcome to what the rest of us workers out ther are doing and paying you get to much already for less i hate and yet love unions, always asking for more money for same or less work.
i am a contractor in the field all weather so dont say anything about not knowing what its like out there.

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