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Striking Verizon Workers Dub Company ‘The Greedy Bunch’

Strike

Edward GatelyNearly 40,000 Verizon wireline employees are in their third week on strike from Massachusetts to Virginia with no expected resolution in the foreseeable future.

Last Thursday, union leaders rejected Verizon’s “last, best final offer,” in which the telco upped its wage increase offer from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent over the term of the contract. Verizon spokesman Rich Young said there is a meeting with union leaders scheduled today in Rye, New York, while nothing is scheduled at the Philadelphia bargaining location.

As of this week, Verizon has discontinued health insurance benefits for 108,000 striking workers and family members. Also, Verizon said it is deploying thousands of additional employees and contractors to serve its customers during the strike.

The telco said employees on special assignment and contractors who are currently enrolled or have recently graduated from Verizon’s technical training classes in Virginia will handle all duties of the striking workforce, filling roles in the field and in the company’s customer service centers.

“While we’d rather have our seasoned veterans in these positions, each day, more and more customers are giving us high marks in that their inquiries and issues are being successfully resolved in our call centers and in the field,” said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon’s wireline network operations. “We are taking additional steps to ensure our services are available as our customers deserve and expect. Our employees are proudly working hard in our customers’ homes and businesses, and are getting the job done.”{ad}

The striking workers are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). They include installers, customer service employees, repair workers and other service workers in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The strike began April 13.

In response to Verizon discontinuing their insurance benefits, striking workers have launched VerizonGreed.com to highlight “The Greedy Bunch — the top architects and beneficiaries of Verizon’s policy of exorbitant executive compensation at the expense of working families,” according to the CWA. The website targets Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO, Francis Shammo, chief financial officer, Marc Reed, chief administrative officer, and three other top executives.

“Verizon has booked billions in profits on the backs of hard-working Americans and it is unconscionable that they would turn their backs on the very workforce that created those profits by cutting off …

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… health-care benefits for workers and their families,” said Ed Mooney, CWA District 2-13 vice president. “Workers are taking a stand against Verizon’s corporate greed and fighting to protect middle class jobs. Verizon made more than $4 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2016 alone. It’s outrageous that a company this profitable is trying to destroy good, family-supporting jobs.”

In the meantime, Verizon said new remote and automated technologies are helping resolve issues in ways “unseen in the past.” Many Fios products and services can be ordered online and self-installed, often eliminating the need for a technician to be dispatched to a customers’ home, it said.

In addition, enhanced network technologies can remotely resolve many issues that once required dispatch. Verizon’s website has many options available to remotely answer questions and resolve issues, it said.

“New technologies are continually helping improve the customer experience and they’re especially useful during challenges such as a strike,” said Tami Erwin, president of Verizon’s consumer and mass business unit.


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