Streams

Slow Progress in Verizon Strike as Both Sides Dig In

Monday, August 15, 2011

WNYC

As the Verizon strike continues into its second week, both sides say negotiations toward a new contract are ongoing — albeit at a sluggish pace.

Striking workers say they are doing their best to keep the walkout on the public’s radar "not only through carrying picket signs at Verizon garages but also leafleting at Verizon wireless stores — asking people not to buy their products," said Bob Master with the Communication Workers of America.

He said a candlelight vigil is planned for Thursday at the home of the New Jersey home of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

"We’re confident that the message of our strike is getting out and that we can put pressure on Verizon to bring this thing to a reasonable end," Master said.

The two sides have filed competing charges with the National Labor Relations Board in hopes that the federal agency will intervene.

John Bonomo, a spokesman for Verizon, said the company is still keeping up with about 91 percent of customer calls. He said the other 9 percent may include more complicated customer inquiries that could require a call back vs. answering on the spot — or repairs that take longer to process.

But Bonomo said the company is doing a good job, in spite of being down 45, 000 workers on the east coast because of the strike.

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Comments [16]

Chip from NYC

All union members (not only Verizon) should ask their union bosses how much money they make (salary plus bonuses from different sources linked to the unions) , why they need expensive leased SUV cars with paid insurance just to commute home, why they go to nice places like Florida or Vegas to do union business (often taking their family members...........who pays for it?) In XXI Century we have something called TELE-CONFERENCING that is much cheaper than travel (but you an not drink while tele conferencing LOL) Why they hire their son, daughters and other members of close family and friends and often make new unneccessary positions just for them.
Why they waste so much money for stupid things that are made by companies owned by their family members?
I know few union local presidents making salary plus

Aug. 17 2011 09:09 PM
Wife of Verizon Family from NJ

Im very scared that greedy verizon is trying to take away how american workers SHOULD be treated.
Unions have set our working guidelines many years before this and we need to support them. This is about middle class and the greedy son of biatchs that try to run the world.
If verizon wins this... its sets the bar that we will always accept less.

Aug. 17 2011 11:43 AM
Tlinkon

This is for all you union scumbags....

I renewed my Verizon cell phone contract today for 2 years!! I support Verizon but I will never support a greedy, America killing union!

Aug. 16 2011 07:48 PM
Amy Kowal from Massachusets

Enough already make a decision we don't have months to fight about such stuff people need to live pay for their kids and homes, without going bankrupt!

Aug. 16 2011 06:28 PM
Peter from NJ

The union wants more when company made money. Fair enough!
Should union gives up pay and benefit when the company is in the red?
Landline business is shrinking. Everybody can see that. How can union believe it is fair to take profit from wireless side and give to them? Why should the wireless side employees share their bonus with the wired side?

Aug. 16 2011 10:07 AM
Onthejob from NJ

A couple of comments as a manager who has been working as lineman since the strike began.

1) The landline business is shrinking, even with FiOS because consumers are either switching to competitors like Cable, or just using their cell phones.

2) Yes wireless is growing, but it needs a lot less boots on the ground to wire a cell tower that serves thousands of customers, than maintaining a line to every home. As the copper side of the business shrinks, the amount of maintenance does too. On the FiOS and Wireless side, union men and women who installed the fiber did great work and Verizon spent billions of capital to pay them to do it. Now that the fiber is in, there's less to do - the company doesn't need as many technicians to maintain it. As an analogy, when a union steel worker helps build a skyscraper, once it's done they can't expect to be paid just to look at it.

3) I have personally witnessed and been subjected to the abuse of picketers including mobile picketers who were screaming at me and my partner at job sites and threatening us "You're going to get hurt". I saw a faked "incident" where the truck ahead of me was leaving a garage at 1 mile an hour and a picketer pretended to get hit. These tactics have led to the courts granting Verizon extremely tough and unprecedented injunctions against the Union in many pro-union states including NJ.

4) This is not about eliminating the middle class. It's about getting the union pay and benefits in line with what other people at Verizon get paid. No doubt that if Verizon gets what they are asking for, a Union worker will have less net take home pay but still have a great pay and benefits package that's better than most other "middle class" workers in the country. If I were them, I'd fight to keep those benefits, but they are not defending the middle class. They are defending their personal pay and benefits. People outside of the IBEW and CWA will not suddenly get pensions if Verizon backs down on that point.

5) One thing I've learned is that many union guys would never want a managerial position due to loss of pay and benefits. They have a sweeeeeeet deal that they know they'd never get anywhere else based on their skills (and as you can see in the videos they've posted), demeanor and respect they don't have for their employer or customers.

6) We're getting a lot better at this work during the strike. A couple of times I've succeeded in fixing problems that had multiple failed repairs before the strike and I'm now clearing 5-6 troubles a day. I'm not as efficient as an experienced tech, but I make up for it by persistence and long hours. The longer this strike goes on, the better I and other managers will get.

7) The abusive picketing has galvanized management contingency workers. We are more motivated than ever to ensure that our customers get the best service experience and to give our management the support they need to succeed at the bargaining table.

Aug. 16 2011 06:25 AM
Love my VZ Job

Grew up with nothing, Joined the Marines, Ended up working as a Tech for Verizon and love the job and appreciate all it offered. But now all these years of working to give my family a better life than I had and giving 110% to my job, Verizon thanks me by taking away my pension, increasing my medical contributions by poss $6,000.00 per year and 98 other give backs that will reduce my familys quality of life to barely scraping by just to increase profit. The only infrastructure they have invested in is the wireless 4g network-which I build and maintain and not Fios anymore so if you a ignoring wireline then it will not expand. They already screwed managers on their benefiets and we are next and all thier creating is a culture of disloyal employees that couldnt care less about the job.

Aug. 16 2011 12:11 AM
HELLO from Philly

VERIZON PAY UP AND SHUT UP

Aug. 15 2011 11:42 PM
Local 13000 Union Member from South Philadelphia

@ Comon Sense: I agree with you. There are always going to be a few bad apples in a bunch. You need to understand the basis behind what unions are andwhat they stand for. They are the employees voices within the company. Striking and demonstrations are the onlyways unions can make them selves known in the public eye. I understand what your saying when you see a "thug" striking worker that is acting foolish. I too don't agree with that. The important thing is the union's message is there. Obviously there will be a battle for public opinion. Verizon has billions of dollars to advertise, the union only has minumum funds and the members to carry the message. This particular fight is to set a precedence for many contracts that will be expiring soon. CWA represents 700,000 communications workers around the country. They represent employees that maintain and repair communications for major infrastructure that inlcludes hospitals, police stations, governmenet buildings, Wall Street, dept of transportation and so on...If CWA excepts concesssion it sets the playing fields for all major companies including the companies you work for. If a company that makes 7 billion dollars can make wage and benefit cuts you rest assure that everyone's salary will be cut and the standard of living will be lowered. I don't know what you make for a living but we CWA members make an average of 65k per yr. If we accept less everyone accepts less. This is even more impacting for people that make 45k a yr because there standard will go down to 25k per yr.

Believe me I hope this crap ends soon too. I am the one without a pay check and I am the one fighting for all Americans. ALL AMERICANS DESERVE BETTER WAGES ANDA GOOD STANDARD OF LIVING. NO WORKING AMERICANS SHOULD SUFFER.

Aug. 15 2011 11:39 PM
MIKe from pHIladelphia pa

Verizon hired employees with the understanding that they would have great healthcare and pensions. Many have decided to take this job over other jobs. Now they are saying lets take away the good healthcare, no more pension or overtime and no more job security and take a lower wage. I do agree that there is room for compromise but with negotiation.

How wold verizon like if long time devoted customer called in and said that we have decided that we want to pay 20% less and refuse to pay regulatory charges. This company is doing well with FIOs and if they continue investing the money and Tax breaks that the Govt has given them tl create infrastructure and jobs things will be very positive for the future. Verizon stopped investing in infrastructure and is not hiring. WHATS UP WITH THAT

Aug. 15 2011 11:36 PM
dave nyc from NYC

All I know is, that I moved my office today, but cannot get a date for my phone installation. As one might imagine, this is EXTREMELY frustrating. My experience with Verizon has been mixed. 50% of the people disapoint me both in service and attitude, the other half are apologetic and helpful. Better than ATT or Tmobile anyway. Just remember union guys....we're all suffering.

Aug. 15 2011 11:26 PM
Tired manager from White Plains

I'm so tired from forced 12 hour days for 8 straight days. The company does not care about employees or customers.just stock price. I'm looking for a new job. F this crap.

Aug. 15 2011 11:19 PM
craig from nj

Ya ok well if you gave your life to a company to help it make money and thrive only to expect to get what you were promised which is a very small piece of the pie infact a wage that has not increased in over 11 years infact with the force adjustments in work locations has actualy cost you $10,000 ayear more in gas.Then they want to take every single penny more back because they are greedy and want more for their pocket not because their not doing well.Then i guess your saying we should just roll over and die.Well guess what thats why we are union so we all have each others back and don't need to roll over I'm so sick of all these so called americans that think because others dont have it good then we should not.well guess what i m sick of explaining myself to you if you think that way then your too dumb to even pay attention.Wake up America stand up.Do you risk your life climbing a pole do you now do 3 peoples jobs from engineering to the fiber the electric power the programming of the equipment and also risk your drivers license everyday.What is that worth.The Verizon corporation can burn with us then

Aug. 15 2011 10:59 PM
craig from nj

Ya ok well if you gave your life to a company to help it make money and thrive only to expect to get what you were promised which is a very small piece of the pie infact a wage that has not increased in over 11 years infact with the force adjustments in work locations has actualy cost you $10,000 ayear more in gas.Then they want to take every single penny more back because they are greedy and want more for their pocket not because their not doing well.Then i guess your saying we should just roll over and die.Well guess what thats why we are union so we all have each others back and don't need to roll over I'm so sick of all these so called americans that think because others dont have it good then we should not.well guess what i m sick of explaining myself to you if you think that way then your too dumb to even pay attention.Wake up America stand up.Do you risk your life climbing a pole do you now do 3 peoples jobs from engineering to the fiber the electric power the programming of the equipment and also risk your drivers license everyday.What is that worth.The Verizon corporation can burn with us then

Aug. 15 2011 10:58 PM

There are 4 big lies that Verizon is trying to get away.

1.They want you to think that the wireless network is somehow separate from everything else
and is maintained by little elves or maybe Elvis. The union worker maintains that network.

2.They want you to think we are on strike because they want us to pay a little of our healthcare costs. The list of things they want take back includes pension,overtime,holidays,wages,etc...

3.They want you to think that cell phone calls are the only thing that makes them money.I just cant believe they lose money on all these high capacity ckts (from ds0 to OC192 level) keeping Wall Street,hospitals,banks,airports,police and firehouses etc... up and running. And how about FIOS?
If FIOS is a money loser then Ivan Seidenberg owes the company 80 million dollars in bonus money back! (I personally think it's a GREAT product that no other company can touch)

4) When Verizon talks to Wall Street about how things are going they play up how much money their "landline" side of the business is making but now at contract time they want the public to think we are given jobs out of the goodness of the companys heart.

We need to get the truth out there by all means because the 5 second newsbite is not doing justice to what is being fought for.

Aug. 15 2011 10:32 PM
Common Sense from Home

If the union gets people to stop buying Verizon products and they do get a new contract what sense does that make? Wouldn't the company need fewer people for fewer products being sold. Also I love how the union looks like nothing but a bunch of thugs. Using kids as road blocks, calling workers "baby killers"???Really?? I still need a union member to explain that one to me.

Aug. 15 2011 10:13 PM

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