After months of wrangling, Verizon wireline workers and their union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) the CWA announced Tuesday that nearly 40,000 Verizon workers from Massachusetts to Virginia will go on strike at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13 if a “fair” agreement on a new contract is not reached by then.
“We’re standing up for working families and standing up to Verizon’s corporate greed,” said CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor. “If a hugely profitable corporation like Verizon can destroy the good family-supporting jobs of highly skilled workers, then no worker in America will be safe from this corporate race to the bottom.”
The CWA said in a statement that negotiations are “at a standstill,” arguing that Verizon continues to cut vital staff.
“[Verizon] has nearly 40 percent fewer workers now than a decade ago,” the CWA said. “Verizon has failed to hire the personnel necessary to properly roll out FiOS, the high-speed broadband service that is still unavailable to many of its customers. In cities like Philadelphia and New York, Verizon has failed to meet the buildout obligations under their citywide cable franchise agreements.”
The CWA has been in a deadlock negotiations with Verizon over contracts for over 40,000 workers in Massachusettes and Virginia since their original contract expired August 1 of 2015.
“The Verizon workers are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW),” read a statement from the CWA. “The workers’ negotiating teams have offered key compromises, including hundreds of millions of dollars in health care cost savings, but Verizon keeps pressing for additional cuts.”
The CWA has went so far as to roll out attack ads against Verizon in markets where workers are affected by the standoff.
The union has also put pressure on Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam with a letter signed by the mayors of cities in three states, including New York City, Pittsburgh, Newark, Jersey City, Buffalo, Worcester, Paterson, Syracuse, Lowell, Albany, Brockton, Trenton and Revere, as well as the Democratic candidate for Mayor in Philadelphia.
At the time, Verizon spokesperson Rich Young blasted the CWA’s inclusion of elected officials in the negotiating process.
“The CWA owes these mayors an apology,” Young said at the time. “Unfortunately, the mayors were seemingly misled to think FiOS deployment is an issue that’s being negotiated. It’s not. Sadly, it seems the mayors were just a ploy as part of this bargaining publicity gimmick.”