CWA, IBEW countdown to Verizon strike

Talks aimed at averting a strike by 65,000 CWA and IBEW union workers at Verizon are continuing, but prospects for a deal before the Aug. 2 contract expiration look increasingly slim.

[email protected] reports that Verizon Mid-Atlantic district union negotiators feel the company and union are “still far apart on all critical issues and without agreement on any issue.” And, negotiators say, “While it is still possible an agreement can be reached, it is most important that we are ready in the event this contract has to be negotiated in the street.”

Some union members have become increasingly frustrated with what they see as glacial progress toward a deal after the company offered no pay raise in year one and two percent in subsequent years. The union wants a 5 percent annual bump. The bigger issue may be job security as Verizon moves away from copper to fiber. The union is fighting subcontracting of jobs outside the union; Verizon says it needs the flexibility to grow.

In 2003, unions worked five weeks without a contract. That deal generated a 2 percent annual wage increase.

For more:
- See the coverage in [email protected]
- And the New York Times story