"Don't buy Verizon Wireless" is the latest strategy that Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) 40,000 unionized wireline workers, represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), are employing in their ongoing battle with the telecom giant. According to Fortune, striking Verizon workers are protesting outside of some of Verizon's wireless retail stores, alerting shoppers and Verizon's wireless customers that "we're on strike against Verizon Wireless corporate greed."
Wireline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia 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. They went on strike at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13.
And, as Fortune pointed out, a new element of their striking strategy appears to be targeting Verizon's wireless retail stores across Massachusetts and New York. The strikers appear to be protesting outside the stores and handing out pamphlets to people going in and out of the stores.
Although the vast majority of the striking workers are part of Verizon's wired business, they're likely targeting Verizon's wireless business in an effort to raise the profile of their plight. "Workers already have put hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare cost savings on the table. We simply cannot compromise on contract changes that would ship more work overseas and have our families separated for months at a time," said Ed Mooney, CWA District 2-13 vice president, in statement.
Verizon, for its part, has argued that the strike is having no effect on its business and its wireline operation. However, new FiOS Internet and TV customers are seeing some service installation delays.
"Yet again, it's another example of pure hogwash from the Union," an unnamed Verizon spokesman told Fortune of the protests outside its wireless stores. "This strike impacts only a tiny percentage of employees from our wireless business. The union is well aware that we've been working diligently to try and reach a fair contract with this handful of employees. Efforts, however, from union leaders involved in these negotiations have been minimal at best."
CWA and IBEW met with Verizon earlier this week to discuss the contract covering workers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. Union representatives noted that after the two sides could not come to an agreement, company executives left for the weekend.
Verizon is the nation's largest wireless network operator with 140 million customers, ahead of rival AT&T with around 128 million customers.
- see this Fortune article
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