45,000 workers, almost half of Verizon’s wireline telecommunication business went on strike Sunday as negotiations for a new labor contract failed. This is the second largest strike the U.S. mobile company has had since 2000 when 80,000 workers went on strike for three weeks.
Verizon and two separate unions — The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — had been in talks since late June but they were unable to come to an agreement before the contract ended Sunday.
The workers who went on strike are technicians and customer support employees in the wireline unit. The two sides were unable to come to an agreement on the issues of healthcare contributions, pension plans and work rules. Verizon has said they have begun their backup plan which involved training all retired and management personal to fill in for those who have left on strike.
About 35,000 workers are represented by CWA, which said bargaining talks were expected to resume on Sunday while employees were told to start picketing as early as 6 a.m. EDT outside their work locations. Roughly 250 workers stood outside of Verizon’s Manhattan corporate headquarters chanting “Scab! Scab! Scab!” on megaphones. The strikers were all dressed in red and had signs that read, “CWA workers on strike for middle-class jobs.”
On Monday morning, thousands of striking workers will join mass picket lines and rallies at over 100 Verizon work locations across New York and New Jersey to pressure the company to back off its demands, said the CWA.