Verizon worker strike now in its third week

Disgruntled staff still holding out as stoppage drags on

Last month, Verizon staff along with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) decided to go on strike as union and the US telco failed to agree on a new contract.

Now, as the strike enters its third week, both sides are hunkering down for what they believe could be a long and ugly battle.

Verizon employees on the Eastern Seaboard shut down operations citing a failure to reach a deal with the telco on issues including pay, benefits, and plans to outsource some support jobs overseas.

Since the beginning of the strike, Verizon has resolved not to let the labor dispute disrupt service. The carrier said it has been training management and other non-CWA workers to take over maintenance and service tasks.

Last week, Verizon doubled-down on its vow, proclaiming that it had deployed thousands of new workers to help fill in.

The carrier also sent the striking employees what it said would be its "last, best and final contract offer."

"We’ve given the unions a great offer," chief administrative officer Marc Reed said. "Their reaction to our offer does nothing to benefit our employees who are not where they should be – back at work and serving our customers."

The striking workers, meanwhile, have vowed not to back down either. Shortly after the Verizon offer was submitted, CWA reps said they were continuing to negotiate with Verizon, and were prepared to hold out.

"The company is testing us. They think the combination of cutting off health benefits and spending something like $500,000 sending every member a FedEx package with their so-called 'last, best and final offer' will break the strike," the CWA said in a negotiating update.

"They think we are not prepared to fight. They think we are about to fold."

The union has told reporters it has set aside a $400m fund that could be paid out to the striking Verizon workers should the work stoppage drag on. ®

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