Verizon, CWA, IBEW contract witching hour draws nigh

As the witching hour nears for Verizon and its 65,000 CWA and IBEW workers, the unions are getting more vocal and are taking their fight public. Last weekend, several thousand Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers rallied at Verizon headquarters in Manhattan. Tomorrow, New England members are taking to the streets en masse in Boston’s Post Office Square. The union says it expects some 2,000 members to show for the rally.

The contract expires Saturday and union leaders say they expect the negotiations to go down to the wire. And, they say, the two sides are far apart on all major issues like health care and job security. A Verizon spokesman, meanwhile, told FierceTelecom yesterday that it’s working hard to reach an agreement.

“The company is negotiating in good faith to achieve timely and fair contracts for Verizon union-represented employees,” said the spokesman in an e-mail. “Our expectation is to negotiate new contracts that will continue to provide leading wage and benefit packages.”

What do you think the likelihood of successful negotiations being concluded are? Are IBEW and CWA workers really ready to strike, as they did in 2000? Or will they extend talks as they did in 2003? Have the unions hit the mark in negotiations? And what about Verizon? Will they agree to a fair deal? Drop me a note with your thoughts. - Jim O'Neill

For more on Thursday’s rally:
- See the story in the Quincy PatriotLedger

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