Verizon Unions Plan Strike if Demands Aren't Met by Wednesday

  • CWA, IBEW represent 39,000 workers, mostly in landline unit
  • Union members have been without a contract since Aug. 1.

Verizon Communications Inc.’s largest labor unions -- the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -- have given the company until Wednesday morning to settle contract discussions or face a strike.

About 39,000 union members have been working for Verizon without a contract since Aug. 1. The two sides haven’t been able to agree on issues such as job security, employee transfers and the cost of health benefits.

“This is a fight we have to make for our families and for our future,” Dennis Trainor, vice president of CWA, District One, said on a conference call Monday. The unions set a deadline of 6 a.m. New York time Wednesday.

Verizon representatives and union officials met Thursday and remain “very far apart, which is why we are doing this,” said Trainor.

Almost all the union workers are employed by Verizon’s landline business, which has seen annual declines in the number of lines served as well as job cuts. The company has refocused on wireless and mobile video, where it sees more growth and employees aren’t in unions and are typically younger.

Verizon has tried to reach a deal with union leaders, and has trained non-union employees to take over operations in the event of a strike, the company said in a statement Monday.

Of the workers, about 29,000 are represented by the CWA, 10,000 by the IBEW.

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