Article by Sarah Pickett | esPResso Committee Member
36,000 Verizon workers have walked off the job and gone on strike across the East Coast. The CWA Union workers and corporate leaders have failed to see eye to eye on a new labor agreement. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this is the largest strike in the United States since Verizon’s last strike in 2011. The strike involves union employees working for landline phone business and FIOS network. These workers took to the streets on April 13th and remain actively on strike today.
Ever since Verizon’s union contract ended in August, a series of issues emerged including Verizon’s outsourcing workers to Mexico, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic leaving 5,000 Americans unemployed. In addition, workers are not receiving basic health and retirement benefits, and are being asked to work out of state and away from their families.
Presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have supported the union workers by making appearances at strikes. Sanders stated that Verizon is demonstrating corporate greed by taking away health care benefits and outsourcing jobs. Both believe that the treatment of Union workers has been unfair and needs to be addressed by corporate management.
According to CNN, Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer stated, “It’s regrettable that union leaders have called a strike, a move that hurts all of our employees. Unfortunately, union leaders have their own agenda rooted in the past and are ignoring today’s digital realities. Calling a strike benefits no one, and brings us no closer to resolution.” Verizon’s corporate leaders argue that the outsourcing of jobs is due to landline’s phone business decline in demand.
It is safe to say that Verizon’s reputation has taken a hit this month. However, the company has been in this position before and knows how to handle the conflict at hand. Verizon has been prepared for the strike claiming that many non union workers have been trained to carry out assignment in light of the strike.