Some 39,000 workers walked off the job this at 6am morning across Verizon’s landline footprint after the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers called a strike. Everyone had been working without a contract since August, but apparently the talks haven’t been going well.
Verizon reacted with disappointment, pointing out that the unions refused to participate in mediation and hence weren’t out of options. Their non-union employees will take up the slack in terms of necessary operations, activating strike readiness and business continuity plans they had been preparing all year. A strike may not have been inevitable, but it certainly was predictable.
Verizon and other incumbents have been managing the decline of their landline copper assets for quite a while now, replacing older technologies and ways of doing business with ones based on fiber and of course wireless. Everyone knows that’s a necessity, but of course corporate and union perspectives have always differed starkly on just how that should affect little things like job security, wages, benefits, and pensions. It couldn’t really be any other way I suppose.
As for how long this strike will last, it’s anybody’s guess. After all, it’s an election year and an ugly one at that. In fact, that’s probably a big piece of the timing in the mind of the unions calling the strike. It’s surely no accident that over the next two weeks there will be competitive primaries in states like New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Delaware.
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