The strike that involves more than 39,000 workers is one of the largest in the US in recent years. On Wednesday morning, Verizon Communication Inc.’s landline workers began a strike after a break down in contract negotiations with the company.
The strike began at 6 in the morning and a business continuity plan was activated by the phone giant. The workers gathered around Verizon offices in Mid Atlantic and the Northeast and started picketing.
The strike includes customer service representatives, FiOS crew members and cable splicers. It is believed that the strike may cause delays in technical support calls, billing and it may also disrupt installation of internet from Virginia to Massachusetts.
According to Mr. Marc Reed who is the chief administrative officer of Verizon, the company has been trying to reach agreements with the workers since last June. They have been trying to negotiate so that the agreements that are reached is in the interest of the workers, customers as well as the future of their wireline business.
On August 1, one of their contracts with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and CWA expired and these agreements were meant to replace the ones that had expired. The company wants to reach agreements so that union workers focus more on the health benefits. They want the workers to be flexible when it comes to temporary job relocations.
According to the phone giant, they have been trying to protect jobs of their people, preserve increment in pensions and also limit workers from getting transferred to other regions.
However, the unions could not agree on the contract terms and hence gave Verizon a deadline. The contracts had to be settled by 6am or they would go on a strike, which is exactly what happened.
This is the first time a labor dispute has taken place since Verizon acquired AOL and tool control of Verizon Wireless. The two deals are worth over $135 million which has caused the company to change its strategies regarding how operations are going to be performed. But, this doesn’t seem to be going down too well with the workers who are facing a shift in their ranks. 13 years ago, there were over 78,000 employees, but over time the company has brought down the number to almost 39,000.