AUGUST 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News
Verizon and Unions continue to meet regarding new pact
BY PAUL TUCKER
REGION, August 4th- The around 39,000 unionized workers of Verizon Communications are working under the terms and conditions of the their previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that expired on 12:01 a.m. on August 2nd, while negotiations between the parties are continuing.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union in Washington DC represents most of the Verizon Communications workforce including line workers and operators. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union represents mostly inside repair personnel.
Approximately eight weeks ago the parties began meeting with Verizon regarding gaining a successor contract agreement. Contract meetings were held in Philadelphia and Rye, New York during that period but without the parties reaching an agreement. Verizon proposals include concessions in out-sourcing, and subcontracting language that would result in less of a unionized workforce.
The CWA and IBEW members voted overwhelmingly to give their negotiating team the right to call for a strike in necessary, however no walk-out is planned at this time.
The once very profitable copper wire land-line telephone business, which most was once operated by Verizon Communications, still makes money but has seen the use of the copper wire lines decrease over the past several decades due to the increase of wireless services.
Verizon Communications has approximately 10.5 million residential land-line customers with more than fifty percent still using copper land-lines. One of the benefits of copper land-lines is a customer does not lose their phone service in an event of a power outage, while wireless phone systems will stop working when the batteries die, such as what happen in New Jersey several years ago after Hurricane Sandy. With the power off wireless phone customers lost their phone service for as much as several weeks.
In February Verizon announced that it had agreed to sell about twenty-five percent of their copper hard-line customers to Frontier Communications Corporation. After the deal is completed Verizon will not operate wire line telephone service in three states, Texas, California, and Florida. Some but not all of Frontier workers are unionized, also by the CWA.
The remaining phone business of Verizon Communications will be mostly in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.