Verizon Strikers Hold National Day Of Action, Continue Strike

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Above Photo: From patch.com

Catch up on the latest news about one of the largest worker strikes in recent American history.

May 6, 2016 – As the Verizon worker strike of 2016 heads into its 24th day, both sides appear to be digging in for a protracted battle.

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) launched a “Day of Action” on Thursday, reportedly holding protests at 400 locations nationwide, including an action outside a Verizon shareholder meeting in Albuquerque that ended with 15 arrests.

See photos from Thursday’s protests below.

Meanwhile, Verizon representatives met with union teams on Thursday for another bargaining session.

The IBEW reported:

“The bargaining team met with the company today to address our CWA bargaining partner’s concerns for their long term service difficulties. Although we bargain jointly, there are proposals that are specific to one union or the other. Today, the CWA presented the company with multiple proposals on how to address this issue in each of their locals. The company came back to the table and rejected each of those proposals. The committee also received information regarding the company’s proposals on call sharing and benefits.”

According to the CWA:

“The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee met with the company today. The union passed several proposals on overtime administration. The company later rejected the proposals claiming they would restrict its ability to manage the business. The committee challenged the company’s rejections citing the stressful work environments that have been created by the excessive amount of overtime technicians are forced to work throughout Mid-Atlantic. The union committee pointed out to the company the cost of the excessive overtime compared to hiring additional workers. This still did not result in any movement on the company’s position.”

Verizon hasn’t provided any recent bargaining update on their website or via its media channels. But on Wednesday, the communications giant posted a Twitter notice that read:

“Help serve our customers during the strike in DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA and VA.”

Verizon provided a link to its job search page with the post.

Photo: Stand Up To Verizon, Facebook

HISTORY OF THE STRIKE

Contract talks between Verizon and members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) began in June of 2015.

The workers’ last contract expired on August 1, 2015.

Employees in nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states plus Washington, D.C. began striking on April 13.

See related article: Verizon Workers Prep For Massive East Coast Strike
See related article: Massive Verizon Strike Begins
Since then, strike activities have taken place up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

See related article: Verizon Striker Says Union Won’t Fold, Picketing Will Continue
See related article: Striking Verizon Workers March on Boylston Street
See related article: Brooklyn Verizon Worker Challenges CEO to Climb a Telephone Pole
Bargaining efforts between Verizon and the unions remained mostly stagnant through the first weeks of the strike.

See related article: Verizon Strike: Bargaining Not Going Well, Union Reps Say
On April 21, Verizon released a statement that claimed the company has been the victim of 24 recent “suspected incidents of sabotage” in five states.

See related article: Verizon Strike 2016 Update: Alleged Industrial Sabotage, Service Issues
As the strike reached week three, union leaders and workers released photos and videos that alleged the company’s replacement workers weren’t up to the task and were creating safety issues.

See related article: Verizon Strike Update: Replacement Workers Unsafe, Unions Allege
Complications resulting from the strike have reportedly caused lengthy service delays for the company’s 140 million customers who use Verizon for cable television or Internet connections and even longer waits for new subscribers wanting Verizon’s FIOS and mobile services.

See related article: Verizon On Strike: Internet, Cable Outages Could Take Weeks To Repair
On April 28, 2016, Verizon’s Chief Administrative Officer Marc Reed announced that the company has put its “last, best and final offer” on the table.

Verizon presented each of the striking workers’ bargaining units – the New England, Mid-Atlantic and New York IBEW and the New York/New England and Mid-Atlantic CWA – with separate contract offers, which can be seen here.

“Unfortunately, their ‘last and best’ was little more than the same old [expletive],” union leaders with the CWA District 1 bargaining team wrote after the April 28 meeting.

“We will continue bargaining and striking until we get the contract that you deserve,” union leaders concluded.

See related article: Verizon Strike 2016 Update: Unions Decline Company’s ‘Final Offer’
Verizon officially cancelled health benefits for striking employees on May 1.

Reed reported an unfruitful bargaining meeting with the Mid-Atlantic unions on April 29, and an equally unsuccessful meeting with the New York/New England units on May 2.

“We met with the New York/New England unions and they made a proposal that was not constructive,” Reed stated. “We rejected the unions’ proposal and reiterated that they have our last, best, final offer.”

Union leaders reported that they made some “compromise proposals” in several areas during the May 2 meeting, designed to “kick-start the bargaining process.”

“The company completely dismissed our proposals without even asking clarifying questions,” CWA leaders reported.

Striking Verizon workers – acting under the banner of the “Stand Up To Verizon” coalition – launched a national “Day of Action” on May 5.

See related article: Verizon Strike: Workers Mobilize, Company Cuts Health Benefits
THE ISSUES

Union representatives are alleging that even though Verizon made $39 billion in profits over the last three years, the company wants to “gut job security protections, contract out more work and send jobs overseas, and require technicians to work away from home for as long as two months without seeing their families.”