About 45,000 employees of Verizon Communications went on strike Sunday after two unions were unable to reach a new contract with the telecommunications giant.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represent workers in Verizons wireline business stretching from Virginia to New England, have been squabbling with the company over such matters as pensions, healthcare benefits and pay increases.
The unions have portrayed Verizon as a greedy company that has demanded $1 billion in concessions annually despite bringing home $19.5 billion in profits and paying out $258 million to its top five executives over the last four years.
Verizon is trying to strip away 50 years of collective bargaining gains for middle class workers and their families,” the CWA asserted in a statement.
New York-based Verizon claims concessions are needed in order to deal with economic realities in its shrinking landline business.
The telecommunications company said it has trained tens of thousands of management employees, retirees and other individuals to assume the roles of the union workers under a contingency plan designed to minimize customer disruptions during the period of the strike.
The wireline business is something that Verizon is less exposed to than they have ever been in the past,” Stifel Nicolaus analyst Chris King told Reuters in an interview. They are certainly more comfortable dealing with the strike today than they were 10 years or so ago.”
Still, the strike could cost Verizon a pretty penny if the company cant reach an agreement soon. King estimated in a research note the daily costs of the strike will be between $1 million and $2 million.