Verizon wireline workforce labor strike causing installation delays

Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) wireline workforce strike may be only two days old, but already the company's customers are feeling its effects as FiOS Internet and TV customers are seeing service installation delays.

On Wednesday, Verizon's wireline workforce, which is represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), decided to strike after neither union could reach a consensus with the carrier on issues related to health care, pensions and sick time.

Despite the installation issues, Verizon told Reuters that its networks are running normally and that it is focusing on conducting repairs and service for existing customers.

"We do have a bit of a delay," said Tami Erwin, group president for consumer and mass business sales and service for Verizon. "We're working hard with customers to prioritize repair above activations and provisioning because we owe that to our existing customers."

Erwin added that Verizon should be back on track with new installations in the next week or so. In any given week, Verizon conducts about 30,000 to 35,000 installations each week, with over 30 percent of customers opting to install services themselves.

The strike affects service across various states in the telco's wireline footprint, including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia. However, the action does not affect its wireless network.

CWA and IBEW said on Thursday that it had not scheduled any talks with Verizon yet.

Verizon said that it has plenty of backup workers to address customer issues and ensure that there won't be any service disruptions.

Bob Mudge, president of Verizon's wireline network operations, said the company has trained and deployed 20,000 non-union workers to perform the tasks of the union workers.

While the replacements are a near-term fix, union members maintain that these workers lack the requisite expertise to perform service installations.

Installation delays were also an issue when the unions called a strike in 2011. After the strike ended, Verizon had to work through a backlog of over 100,000 FiOS orders. 

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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