Verizon union negotiations begin amidst charges of failing on copper, FiOS commitments

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has begun negotiations on a new contract for union workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) amidst claims the telco is not meeting its FiOS and copper network repair obligations.

The current contract, which expires on Aug. 1, covers 29,000 CWA and 14,000 IBEW members in the telco's Eastern region.

In anticipation of the contract negotiations, CWA and IBEW union members had been conducting informational pickets, telling the telco that "we want good jobs at Verizon."

"Instead of creating good jobs, Verizon paid its top executives a quarter of a billion dollars over just five years. We need more good jobs, not executive pay," said the union in its message.

Interestingly, the negotiations begin amidst accusations from the two unions that the telco has failed to meet its FiOS build out targets in New York City and that it is not repairing its damaged copper lines in the Northeast.

A recent report conducted by New York City's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications found that Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) failed to deliver on its promise to provide fiber-optic service for television and broadband to anyone who wants them by 2014.  

Verizon refuted the report's claims, saying that review was based on erroneous factual conclusions and incorrect interpretations of the agreement, particular its conclusions on Verizon's passing all of the households in the city with fiber-optic facilities. What's more, the company said that it has met its requirement to install fiber optic networks through all five boroughs in New York City. 

John Bonomo, a Verizon spokesman told FierceTelecom, also accused the audit of being linked to Verizon's pending contract negotiations with its union workers. 

Earlier, the CWA also accused the telco of not repairing its damaged copper lines in the Northeast, but is instead driving customers to its wireless Voice Link home phone service. Similar to the New York City report, Verizon said they are not turning their back on their legacy networks and their charges are nothing more than a tactic to strongarm the telco before it begins contract negotiations.

For more:
- see this CWA Verizon post
- see this Consumerist article

Related articles:
New York City audit says Verizon failed to deliver on FiOS promise
CWA accuses Verizon of abandoning broken wireline facilities in the Northeast
Verizon faces pressure from unions to expand FiOS into new markets
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