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40,000 Verizon Workers Strike
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Summary: Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers strike after contract talks hit a wall. 

On Wednesday, one of the largest strikes in recent U.S. history happened on the East Coast. Reuters reported that nearly 40,000 Verizon workers walked off their job after contract talks hit an impasse.

  
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The strike was organized by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They both represent employees such as customer service representatives and network technicians.

Verizon said it had prepared for a possible strike. They had trained thousands of non-union employees over the past years to ensure no disruption in services. A CWA representative, however, said Verizon did not train enough people and that those newly trained lack the experience of the unionized workers.

The strike has the potential to affect various aspects of Verizon’s business model on the East Coast such as its Fios internet, telephone and TV services. The walkout does not reach Verizon’s wireless operation, which has become its primary business model.

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The strike represents mostly Verizon’s legacy business, which only generates about 29% of the company revenue and less than 7% of operating income. Over the years, Verizon’s TV and internet service has stalled on growth, and the company has even scaled back on its landline services. With the change in technology, the company has pivoted from a wireline business to new efforts in mobile video and advertising.

Verizon and the unions have been negotiating since June of 2015 over Verizon’s plan to cut healthcare and pension benefits. Because of the talks, workers have been without a contract since August.



Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer, said the union leaders calling a strike was “regrettable.”

The last contract negotiation occurred in 2011 and also led to a strike. A new contract was reached after fourteen days.

Source: Reuters



 

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