Verizon Wireline Union Votes to Strike Over Possible Benefit Cuts

Posted by at 9:58 am on July 30, 2015

Verizon LogoVerizon wireline workers, including telephone, cable, and FiOS service workers have voted to strike along the east coast of the US should the union see the need during the ongoing contract negotiation. Over 86 percent of the 39,000-strong workforce agreed to the strike, which could come as soon as August 1, the day the existing contract expires.

Verizon spokesman Rich Young said of the vote that “Union rallies and strike authorization votes are useless distractions that achieve nothing. We believe their time would be far more beneficial focusing on the important contractual issues that need to be resolved.”

The contract negotiations came to a head earlier this month, when Verizon said that to cut labor costs, they would reduce healthcare and pension benefits over a three-year period. However, in late June, the company offered salary increases to the workers to launch the negotiations.

“Our members are clear and they are determined — they reject management’s harsh concessionary demands, including the elimination of job security, sharp increases in workers’ health care costs, and slashing retirement security,” Communications Workers of America (CWA) District One Vice President Dennis Trainor said in a statement.

The union’s vote isn’t the final word on the issue. Trainor’s CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers also must approve the action. MacNN has spoken to a handful of FiOS workers in the Northern Virginia area, and they all see a strike as “inevitable” and “forced by Verizon” because of the possible cuts.

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