Posts Tagged ‘Wireline’
August 8th, 2011 at 3:22 pm
Verizon Strike: Union Refuses to Negotiate or Acknowledge Today’s Reality
Posted by Print

Yesterday, the union representing 45,000 northeastern and mid-Atlantic Verizon Communications employees walked away from the negotiating table and went on strike.  So what’s the problem?  Unsurprisingly, the union simply refuses to acknowledge today’s fiscal and technological realities.

It’s no secret that traditional copper wire communication – the division of Verizon in which the striking employees work – is a declining industry.  In many homes today, a copper wire telephone looks like a quaint throwback to a bygone era, just as a dial phone looked 30 years ago with the arrival of push-button phones.  That helps explain why wireline services are a declining part of Verizon’s business, and why most of Verizon’s profits come from wireless, not wireline, communications anymore.  Stated simply, cellular phones and Voice over IP (VoIP) provide more advanced services more competitively.

Yet the CWA and IBEW refuse to acknowledge reality, and refuse to negotiate any attempt to share healthcare costs.

Other Verizon employees, including those in its fast-growing wireless phone and high-speed Internet divisions, already share a portion of their healthcare costs.  In fact, 130,000 Verizon employees already do.  This is simply a fact of modern life.

Across America, every employing entity in the United States is adapting to today’s economic and technological environment.   Cities are dropping police and fire departments in favor of coordinating with adjoining cities.   States are reviewing their employment practices and work rules to more accurately reflect the pressures of lower revenues and higher pension costs.   Major companies are re-tooling not just their factories, but their production methods and business lines to more closely adapt to changing customer demands and new technologies.  To that end, every business – from the smallest mom-and-pop stores to the largest telecommunications companies – must deal with the ever-growing cost of health care.  Most Americans recognized long ago that individuals have to help bear the burden of growing healthcare costs.  For its part, Verizon can hardly be said to be abandoning its employees’ healthcare needs, as the company spends about $4 billion per year on healthcare for employees, retirees, and their families.

So it is no small irony that wireline workers’ unions are least interested in evolving to allow their employer to continue to provide high-paying, long-term jobs to their employees and excellent services to their customers.