Verizon Union Strike of 45000 workers begins in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States

On Strike - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - A strike of 45,000 Verizon workers started on August 7, 2011 due to a contract that expired this last Saturday. A new contract agreement has not been completed.

The Verizon workers on strike are members of Communications Workers of America or International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union located in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The strike is in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

In a telephone conference that was held on August 7, 2011, Communications Workers of America (CWA) members said the core reason for striking is to uphold collective bargaining rights for unions. One CWA member referred to the state of Wisconsin, which tried to do away with union bargaining. He said Verizon is trying to do the same. Additionally, the union workers face losing health insurance benefits and retirement benefits. Verizon does not want to pay for the entire cost of their health insurance premiums.

Verizon said that they already had a contingency plan in place to keep their operations running during the strike. The company has a webpage, which points out that some of the Verizon technicians make as much as $91,000 per year with overtime, and get over $50,000 in benefits. Verizon wants to have unionized employees pay a portion of the health care premiums, which most at this time pay nothing for health insurance. They said that other employees at their company already pay a portion of their health insurance premium.

Verizon also said that many homeowners are cutting their wired phone service, and there is more competition for wired services. The company says they will have to make “meaningful changes to its wireline cost structure.”

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union said in a press release that “Verizon has revenues of $100 billion and net profits of $6 billion. Verizon Wireless just paid its parent company and Vodaphone a $10 billion dividend. Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg is paid 300 times what an average worker earns, and other top executives have been paid lucrative compensation packages.”

By: Tim Conrad

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