Verizon Strike Enters Second Week

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Verizon Workers on Strike
Verizon Workers on Strike in Mount Kisco

The Verizon strike is pitting two vastly different viewpoints against each other.

Management believes concessions are needed to bring the company’s costs in line with the new realities of their business.

For their part, Verizon’s union believes the nearly 100 concessions being sought were an attack on one of the last few areas of middle class jobs in America.

Strikers from the Consolidated Workers of America Local 1103 could be spotted along the streets of Mount Kisco, Mohegan Lake and Carmel last week supporting the strike, which began on Aug. 7.

Talks have been ongoing in locally in Rye Brook and Philadelphia with out a resolution to the job action.

Ray McConville, a Verizon spokesman, said last week the strike included 45,000 workers in nine states. “This is not part of the wireless” unit of Verizon, McConville stressed.

The telephone business has changed in recent years and Verizon must cut costs, McConville said. “We have to be living in the 21st Century reality, he said.

One way to cut costs is to have employees pay a portion of their health insurance premiums, which they do not currently do, McConville said.

On its Web site, Verizon stated, “As more consumers take advantage of changing technologies and competitor offerings, Verizon’s wireline business has declined in recent years.” The cost of employee health care must be addressed, according to Verizon. “Verizon’s health care plans are classified as ‘Cadillac Plans’ by the U.S. government and cost the company $4 billion annually.”

Joe Mayhew, communications director for CWA Local 1103 during the strike, criticized the negotiating position of the company. “Verizon refused to bargain fairly with us,” Mayhew said.

Verizon’s demands were not fair, Mayhew said. Among the demands the union objects to is a plan to eliminate benefits for injured workers, he said.

The union was fighting to save some of “the last middle class jobs” in America, Mayhew said. The company was asking for givebacks event though the “top five CEOs” were paid by Verizon a total of $258 million over the past five years, he said.

Mayhew was not optimistic that the strike would be ended soon. “We could be out for a lot longer,” he said.

By Neal Rentz




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