Verizon, Unions at Standstill

Verizon Communications and its workers who are represented by unions appear to be in a deadlock over the terms of a new contract.

“We’re trying to bargain but there’s no movement,” President Jerry Bulzomi of the Communications Workers of America, Local 1106 recently told The Queens Courier.

Verizon is still in talks with the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers over a new contract that would cover roughly 45,000 workers and replace an agreement that expired Aug. 6. The workers are still covered under the expired agreement.

“All issues remain on the table,” Verizon spokesman Rich Young told Channel Partners last Friday.

Following one of the biggest U.S. strikes in recent years, Verizon workers in August returned to their jobs despite failing to reach a new agreement covering their employment. The two sides said at the time they had made progress hashing out a number of regional and local issues.

It’s clear, however, that Verizon and the unions don’t see eye to eye on some major issues like employee health-care benefits and pensions.

“They want to take away our medical benefits, pension fund, anything that costs them money,” Bulzomi told The Queens Courier. “We want to know why they’re trying to take it off on our backs.”

Verizon maintains that the new contract should reflect changes in the telecommunications industry. While the strike was underway, the New York-based telecom company asserted that the old agreement didn’t reflect economic realities and the deteriorating condition of its shrinking landline business.

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