Verizon Wireline Workers Strike Continues Into Weekend

Nearly 40,000 Verizon wireline employees from Massachusetts to Virginia remain on strike with no contract resolution in sight.

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 CWA Friday released a statement saying Verizon workers and customers are “extremely frustrated that company executives are not more serious about bargaining.” The CWA and IBEW said they met with Verizon to discuss the contract covering workers in several eastern states, but “after 30 minutes and more demands to devastate workers’ jobs, company executives left for the weekend.”{ad}

“Workers already have put hundreds of millions of dollars in health care cost savings on the table,” said Ed Mooney, CWA District 2-13 vice president. “We simply cannot compromise on contract changes that would ship more work overseas and have our families separated for months at a time.”

Janet Brumfield, Verizon’s director of corporate communications, said the company had no comment Friday.

Earlier this week, Bob Mudge, president of Verizon’s wireline network operations, said the company has trained thousands of non-union employees to carry out “virtually every job function handled by our represented workforce – from making repairs on poles to responding to inquiries in our call centers.”

However, according to a Reuters report, a Verizon executive acknowledged that the strike is causing equipment installation delays for new Internet and TV customers.

“We do have a bit of a delay,” said Tami Erwin, Verizon’s group president – Consumer and Mass Business Sales and Service. “We’re working hard with customers to prioritize repair above activations and provisioning because we owe that to our existing customers.”

In a week or two the company should be able to do new installations, she said. It normally has about 30,000 to 35,000 of them each week, with more than 30 percent of customers opting to do a self-installation.

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