August 5, 2011 by staff
The company says it is trying to return health care to reflect the changing face of the telecommunications industry as more consumers of wireless technology. But union leaders say that Verizon has a lot of money and only jobs are attacking the middle class.
Verizon employees who work on cable lines, represented by the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which voted to allow union leaders to authorize a strike as soon as the current contract expires at 12: 01 am Sunday. The decision to call a strike would affect 45,000 employees of Verizon from Massachusetts to Virginia.
“This is definitely a tactic in our arsenal,” said CWA spokesman Bob Master of New York hearing the case in the northeast. “We have distributed posters from Massachusetts to Virginia.”
Labor and management blamed each other for what has led the company to the brink of its first strike since 2000. Verizon said the union disagrees with the employee contribution to 100 per month for health care. Employees are not required to pay contributions prior health. The union is saying, however, that Verizon wants to cut the employee pension and health benefits, along with the time limitation of disease to five days per person and the institution of merit pay.
“What we’re seeing is a sweeping attack on middle-class jobs to Verizon,” said Master.
Verizon spokesman John Bonames disagrees, noting that Verizon pays each worker on average, 75,000 and 50,000 with a benefits package. He offered no verification of these figures.
“This is a work of very solid middle class and we want to keep the jobs of the middle class,” he said. “The building communities.”
Bonames said the company focuses on the 100 a month health care payment put in place. He said the company has been happening and 4 billion a year – and 400,000, or an hour – in health spending in recent years. He said the company other 135,000 employees contribute to their health care costs. He declined to say how not Verizon and other Verizon Wireless employees covered by union pay for health care.
Bonames said the decision to seek health care focuses on returns the changing face of the telecommunications industry.
“More and more people go to wireless technology or get their telecommunications services from other providers,” said Bonames. “These kinds of changes in our business and the unions require us to make some tough decisions.”
Master instead a picture of a business empire that focuses on big profits and executive compensation packages at the expense of workers. He said that Verizon has done and 22.5 billion in the last four years and has spent millions of dollars in compensation for the top five executives.
Verizon also blamed for jobs outsourcing of wire rope from Mexico and India and the dismissal of U.S. workers.
Master said the union is seeking concessions to limit outsourcing management, along with pensions and benefits remain intact. He also said that the unions would like to see Verizon to bring outsourced jobs to the United States.
Bonames declined to detail the exact plans that Verizon is offering at the bargaining table. He also refused to go into the details of the company’s plans for health and respond to the allegations of the Master.
“I realize what they are saying and some may be true, but we will not go into the details of the proposals,” he said. “We have a contract proposal that we believe is fair and reasonable. It’s comparable to competing companies. That is the best measure.”
Bonames said Verizon is preparing contingency plans in case of strikes. He declined to discuss details of the plans, but said that will repair cable, FiOS services and operators to be in place in case of trade union leaders to authorize a strike.
“It is for unions to decide if they want to inconvenience our customers,” he said.
Bonames not know the number of customers who may be affected.
Master said the union does not believe that a strike would have an impact on public perception, noting that a recent survey conducted Union leaders said the public would support a strike.
“We just surveyed public opinion in Massachusetts to Virginia and the public clearly understand that if a strike is a greedy company that is trying to destroy the middle-class jobs at a time that they are making tens of millions profits. I do not see a backlash. The public understands that workers do not take lightly the risk of a strike. It’s risky and dangerous. ”
The last Verizon strike in 2000 lasted 15 days. In 1989, the company strike lasted 17 weeks. A strike of 1971 to participate in & T before the seven-month assignment.
Master stressed that union leaders on whether the strike would occur have made no final decision. He said it was possible an attack could occur sometime after the contract expires on Sunday.
“Our leadership may decide that early August is not the best time for a strike,” he said.
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