Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Verizon and Union Talks Begin With a Clash on Health Care

My wife and I each have Verizon Wireless* cell phones, both our landline phones are from Verizon, and my office building has a DSL line from them. Not only that, but they're a good customer of my company's as well (we teach telecom/datacom classes for them). In short, this doesn't bode well for us:

"If they don't agree to improve the Verizon Wireless situation, there will be no settlement," Mr. Bahr [president of the CWA] said in a telephone news briefing before the negotiations began.

Verizon officials say they take the strike threat seriously, noting that the union went on an 18-day strike against the company three years ago.

Indeed. Word from my (management) students is they've never seen the company so well-prepared. No wonder: the WSJ expects a 10 month affair (sorry, no link--just saw mention in the print edition). I didn't see any official news release from the company, but the union predictably is using some tough words:

CWA and Verizon met today to start contract negotiations. The Company came to the table with retrogressive demands in virtually every area of the existing contract.

The Company's demands would strip any and all job security, would permit unlimited subcontracting and transfer of work of the New York/New England geographic area. The Company' demand for medical cost sharing and payment for sickness absence would catapult our members back to the 1940's.

As the Union stated in their opening statement we can only surmise that Verizon wants a long and devastating strike and to do everything possible to bust the Union.

It's really unclear to me how the union membership feels. There's a lot of bravado on the website, but I've seen hints there and heard "on the street" that many members are not pleased with their leadership and worried that a "long and devastating strike" will hurt them in the short-run, and the union overall in the long-run.

Now supposedly if a strike does happen on August 2nd, it will be "business as usual" with Verizon. My students chuckle about that, and it remains to be seen. If anybody orders DSL in the next several weeks, I'd be interested to hear how long it takes to get installed...


* Note that Verizon Wireless is not 100% owned by Verizon. 

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Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards

A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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