A large number of Verizon employees have gone on strike over a dispute regarding contracts, pensions, pay, and job security. The amount of employees on strike isn’t known exactly, but reports put the number between 36,000 and 40,000. It’s being organized by members of two unions, the Communications Workers of America, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who represent the Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. areas.
Verizon has said the strike action, which concentrates on landline and FiOS internet services, won’t affect its customers. The striking workers work in customer service, phone line repairs, new equipment installations, Internet services, and other areas of Verizon’s business. However, few work in retail stores, so these should function normally, and there isn’t expected to be any alteration to mobile services at all.
Verizon has apparently been training non-union employees to cover the striking workers, but union members say the strike will still cause Verizon numerous problems, including the ability to answer customer service queries and calls.
The strike comes after contract negotiations broke down between unions and Verizon. Those that have taken place since workers contract’s expired in August last year haven’t seen results, and no new meetings have been scheduled. Verizon wants to freeze pensions, change rules regarding long distance and overseas work, rely more on contract workers than employees, and force redundancies, a union representative told Fox News.
Strike action, pickets, and protests are taking place in the affected locations, and it’s being tracked on Twitter and on Facebook using the #StandUp2Vz hashtag. Photos shared on the social networks also highlight union concerns over retiree benefits and executive pay. The strikes are, at the moment, expected to last indefinitely, with no end date or time stated by the unions. It’s not the first time Verizon workers have gone out on strike. The last time was back in August 2011, when 45,000 employees took action for two weeks.