Verizon resumes talks with unions over healthcare, other concessions

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and its two main wireline unions--the Communications Workers of American (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)--are returning to the negotiation table today over concessions on healthcare and pensions.

Verizon CWA strikers Pennsylvania

CWA members picketing during the August strike.

Last week, the two unions said they decided to end the strike because it appeared that Verizon wanted to "bargain seriously."

Among the several concessions that Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam wants is to have the unions to contribute to the health care plan, ending pensions, and other benefits.

Still, a number of union workers in New York City that were interviewed by World Socialist Web Site aren't exactly happy about going back to work without a new contract in hand.   

"What will happen now because the union has sent us back to work with nothing settled, is that people will think we are flip floppers," said Tonja, a customer care representative. "We have now gone back, but I don't know why. The union says we have gone back because Verizon says it will bargain seriously, but I'm quite sure they were serious from the beginning."

While Verizon may not succeed in getting union workers to agree to every concession, Professor Joseph Foudy of New York University's Stern School of Business told Reuters that they will likely get them to contribute to the healthcare plan.

"The notion that workers won't pay more for healthcare is almost certainly lost," he said.

Foudy added that Verizon will have to be more flexible about existing pensions and job security. Verizon would like to replace pensions with an enhanced 401K program, but likely will not do so for existing union employees. The company will probably not offer pensions to new employees. In addition, Verizon may also keep "job security assurances" so they can get a new contract in place.

For more:
- Reuters has this article
- WSWS also has this article

Special Report: Verizon strike: Full coverage

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