Some workers for Verizon Communications are questioning why the unions representing them agreed to end a strike about a week ago when the telecommunications giant and the unions still havent reached an agreement on a new contract that covers roughly 45,000 individuals.
I think we should not have gone back [to work] without a contract,” Desiree, a Verizon worker from Brooklyn, N.Y., told the World Socialist Web Site. It undermines the two weeks we were out. We have nothing, and we have to start over again. I dont trust this situation. I dont trust the union. I dont trust any of them.”
Workers represented by two unions returned to their jobs on Tuesday, Aug. 23, without new collective bargaining agreements and are working under the terms of a contract that expired on Aug. 6.
There is no specific deadline for establishing a new collective bargaining agreement, although Verizon has noted the two sides have made headway in negotiating a number of local and regional issues, and the parties have agreed on a process for moving forward to negotiate the major issues regarding benefits, cost structure, work flexibility and job security.”
Some workers, however, dont think the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers should have ended the strike without reaching an agreement on a new contract. The unions have claimed Verizon is demanding $1 billion in annual concessions, which amounts to $20,000 per worker per year. Verizon executives have maintained the company must deal with economic realities” in its shrinking landline business by requiring workers to contribute to healthcare premiums and make other reasonable concessions.
I think we should have stayed out on strike until our negotiations were settled and until Verizon gives up all the 100 takeaways now on the table,” Roxanne, a Verizon customer service representative in New York, told the WSWS. In addition, I think we deserve a raise. But the union didnt ask for anything.”
Tonya, a customer service rep for Verizon, claimed that workers are in a worse position now than when we started,” according to the report.
But the CWA asserted recently that workers are in a much stronger position to negotiate a fair contract with Verizon.
The strike earlier this month was the largest walkout since GM faced 73,000 striking workers in 2007, according to the CWA.