Verizon Communications workers from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg to Philadelphia will form picket lines at 8am on Monday due to the lack of action on nearly 100 concessionary proposals left on the table since bargaining began on July 22nd.
The two unions involved in the current strike, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have been in talks with Verizon since late June. CWA and IBEW represent 35,000 and 10,000 employees, respectively. Verizon, CWA, and IBEW were unable to agree on issues related to healthcare contributions, pension plans and work rules.
According to Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale, “Verizon’s demands would take much of its unionized workforce back to 1960s levels of wages, benefits and working conditions” and added that “this [is] despite Verizon’s 2011 annualized revenues of $108 billion and net profits of $6 billion.”
Stephen Greenhouse at the New York Times reports that “Verizon has also called for freezing pensions for current employees and eliminating traditional pensions for future workers, while making its 401(k) plans somewhat more generous for both.” Furthermore, Verizon “would also like to limit sick days to five a year.”
Almost 45,000 Verizon Workers from New England to Virginia have gone on strike as of midday Sunday when their contract expired Saturday night. This is the first strike that Verizon has faced since 2000 when nearly 80,000 workers went on strike for two weeks.
The Associated Press reports that the strike has the potential to affect landline operations as well as installation of services like FiOS, the company’s fiber-optic television and Internet lines. The wireless division, however, will not be affected.
This being the case, you can still call your friends and let them know about honoring the picket lines or joining the nearest rally near you.
Pittsburgh – 416 7th Avenue
Harrisburg – Strawberry Square
Philadelphia – 9th and Race Street
All begin at 8am.