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Verizon Strike Stalls XO Acquisition, Worries at Least One Master Agent

Strike

Now in its fourth week, the Verizon wireline workers strike has delayed a pending acquisition and has at least one of the telco’s master agents worried about future impacts.

Announced in February, Verizon is purchasing XO Communications’ fiber-optic network business in a roughly $1.8 billion deal. It would provide Verizon with access to XO’s fiber-based IP and Ethernet networks.

During Monday’s Intelisys New England Mindshare event in suburban Boston, Bill Hooper, XO’s vice president of partner channel, told the audience that the deal has been delayed due to the strike, but that “it’s business as usual,” and the deal is still poised to close in early 2017.{ad}

Nearly 40,000 Verizon wireline employees from Massachusetts to Virginia have been on strike for more than three weeks. 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.

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.

BCM One's Frank WassenberghBCM One is one of Verizon’s master agents. Frank Wassenbergh, BCM One’s vice president of sales, said his company and its partners are “focused on the enterprise space and are utilizing Verizon as a very strategic asset within those accounts.”

“The enterprise clients understand the impact a strike has had and will have so we were able to put in place plans to deal with the situation and creatively implement alternate solutions and work with the Verizon teams to minimize impacts to our clients,” he said. “However, the longer the strike does persist, we do see those plans getting stressed and more issues will arise that may not be foreseen, so we are hoping for a timely resolution of this strike.”

Most of BCM One’s clients have a national footprint, use multiple redundant technologies and are “able to afford a level of redundancy to minimize impact from a local outage that a strike could exacerbate,” Wassenbergh said.

“We do a lot of Verizon PIP and SIP services, and are even deploying Verizon’s 4G service to mitigate outages at the local loop level,” he said. “Again this affords us a lot of creativity to solve issues. The partners that come to us to leverage our Verizon relationship are not really selling standalone PRI or IP circuits to their clients, but are part of their business discussions and have worked with them at a strategic level to plan for an eventuality like this.”

A Verizon Labor Facts tweet is seeking applicants for temporary service technicians in Washington, DC, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The telco is hiring 500 temporary technician positions.

Neither Verizon nor the CWA would respond to requests for comment.


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