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Verizon Strike: 40K Workers Who Keep Network Going Walk

Image: Verizon Strike: 40K Workers Who Keep Network Going Walk
Striking Verizon workers picket outside a Verizon office on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Albany, N.Y. Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast walked off the job Wednesday morning after little progress in negotiations since their contract expired nearly eight months ago. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

By    |   Wednesday, 13 Apr 2016 09:47 AM

A Verizon strike threatened by unions representing nearly 40,000 workers in its "wireline" business went ahead on Wednesday after an impasse was reached in talks over a new labor contract, Reuters reported.

Wireline workers perform network maintenance, among other duties, and also provide customer service at call centers.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions say they jointly represent nearly 40,000 employees of the wireline business, which includes FiOS Internet, telephone and TV services.

CWA President Chris Shelton had said on a media call that unless Verizon reconsidered its stance on unsettled issues, wireline workers would stage the walkout starting at 6 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, 

"Verizon has forced us there ... Nobody wants to go on strike," Shelton said. "It's a hardship for our members and our families, it's a hardship for customers."

Verizon and the unions, which represent Verizon workers from states such as Massachusetts, Virginia, New York and Rhode Island, have been in talks over the company's plans to cut healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period since June. Wireline workers have been working out of contract since the last agreement expired in August.

While a compromise on healthcare plans has been reached, dispute over offshoring call center jobs and pensions still remain, union representatives said.

“We’ve tried to work with union leaders to reach a deal,” said Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer, said in a company statement

The company said it was fully prepared to serve its customers in the event of a strike.

The last round of contract negotiations in 2011 also led to a strike.

"We are available," said Verizon spokesman Rich Young, when asked about the outlook for negotiations. He said no further talks were currently scheduled with the unions, however.

Verizon said the wireline business generated about 29 percent of its revenue in 2015 but less than 7 percent of operating income. 

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A Verizon strike threatened by unions representing nearly 40,000 workers in its "wireline" business went ahead on Wednesday after an impasse was reached in talks over a new labor contract.
verizon, strike, network
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2016-47-13
Wednesday, 13 Apr 2016 09:47 AM
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