The Verizon Strike Is Getting Uglier

May 12th, 2016 by · 1 Comment

Verizon’s union workforce has been on strike for the last month or so in what has been one of the biggest features of the Spring telecommunications landscape in the northeastern US. Sometimes these things are perfunctory, making a negotiating point before doing the deal everyone knows will get done. That’s clearly not the case this time though, and it’s starting to get ugly.

No new territory is being covered. Verizon says that sabotage is rampant, and is being caused by union members. The union blames the problems on untrained workers messing with networks they have no skills for. Workers on the job report being stalked from site to site, one case in Delaware even ending up with a non-union worker’s car in a ditch – both sides blaming the other of course.

Meanwhile, healthcare coverage were revoked on May 1, leaving not just the 40,000 striking workers stranded but their families too.   A fund for striking workers is starting to run dry as well.  Nobody is backing down, and the overall tone is still getting worse. However it ends and whichever side you sympathize with, this one seems likely to get downright vicious before we see any resolution.

Some are wondering just how big a bite the strike will have on the industry as a whole. Verizon’s ability to deploy capital may be affected across both wireless and wireline, and that could have a ripple effect across vendors, tower operators, and backhaul providers too.  And there is also talk of the potential effect on Verizon’s purchase of XO.  In the end, the same capital will eventually get deployed anyway, but the longer this goes on the wider the short-term disruptive effect could be.

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