Verizon Strike May Depress U.S. Jobs Report, Labor Data Show

  • Government report shows striking workers at four-year high
  • Monthly report can be impacted by employees in labor action

The walkout by Verizon Communications Inc. employees last month pushed the number of striking U.S. workers to the highest in more than four years and could depress the May jobs numbers slated for release next week, data from the Labor Department showed.

The agency’s report on Friday provides information on workers in strikes involving 1,000 or more employees who were idle for the entire reference pay period, which includes the 12th of the month. The report identified the telecommunications provider as the company involved, with 35,100 workers off the job across 10 states and the District of Columbia. The strike began on April 13.

Both the monthly employment numbers and the average hourly earnings data can be impacted by striking workers, depending on how long and during what period the strike takes place. The strike data are gathered from sources such as media and publicly available company or union reports. In the April reference period, there were no workers on strike.

About 39,000 landline workers have been on strike at Verizon, the U.S.’s largest wireless carrier, as the company sought to increase workers’ contributions for health benefits and greater flexibility in temporary job relocations.

The company and its two unions have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year labor contract, paving the way for union members to return to work next week, the Labor Department said Friday. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez helped broker the deal by bringing Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam and two union executives to Washington to discuss ways to resolve the dispute.

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