Hundreds rally in Boston as strikers, Verizon show little progress toward new union contract

Hundreds of people rallied in Copley Square yesterday in Boston in support of the 40,000 Verizon (NYSE: VZ) employees who are on strike against the company. And it appears that there is no end in sight for the strike that started at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13.

According to the Boston Herald, neither Verizon nor its striking unionized workers have reported any progress on talks, and none are currently scheduled.

"There have been a couple of brief meetings [this week], without success," Verizon spokesman Rich Young told the Boston Herald. "We stand committed to reaching a fair contract that's good for our employees and our customers, and positions our company on a path towards success."

"Basically the company is not moving," Bob Master, assistant to the vice president of CWA District 1, told the publication. "They're not willing to compromise on any of the issues that are of great concern to our members. We're not going to sign on off on the health care changes if at the same time they're insisting on contracting out line work, shipping out call center jobs overseas and demanding the right to transfer workers for two months at a time anywhere in the eight-state footprint."

The striking workers stretch from Massachusetts to Virginia and are represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The union members have been working without a contract since Aug. 1, 2015, and have yet to come to terms with Verizon on issues including health care and job security.

Verizon has said the strike isn't affecting its wireline Internet FiOS business, but warned that if the strike stretches further into the second quarter, the event may affect its financial results.

"Verizon continues to expect full-year 2016 adjusted earnings to be at a level comparable to the company's strong full-year 2015 adjusted earnings," Verizon said in its first quarter earnings release. "However, given the status of labor contract negotiations, there will be pressure on second-quarter earnings due to the timing of cost reductions."

"We recognize that some of the efficiencies and future savings we need … are dependent on the timing and outcome of our current labor negotiations," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said during the company's quarterly earnings conference call with investors.

Interestingly, Verizon said this week that "criminals have damaged or destroyed critical network facilities" in 24 separate instances, troubles that have cut service to thousands of Verizon customers. Verizon didn't specifically blame striking workers for the incidents, but did note they coincide with the ongoing strike.

For more:
- see this Boston Herald article

Special report: Verizon-CWA 2016 strike full coverage

Related articles:
Amid network sabotage, Verizon warns that strike could 'pressure' Q2 results Verizon's wireless business targeted by striking employees
Verizon, wireline unions continue negotiations, but lock horns on healthcare, outsourcing jobs and pensions