40,000 Verizon Workers Go On Strike: How Will It Affect You

Tyler Durden's picture

Starting early today, over 36,000 Verizon workers will go on strike after the firm failed - after 8 months of 'negotiations' - to meet two union's demands (which merely includes controlling health care costs, protecting well-paying jobs and expanding the ranks of the workers who have them). The strike - one of the largest in years, according to NYTimes - will affect some consumers but Verizon has said that customers will be less impacted because it has trained thousands of non-union employees since last year to fill in for those who walk the picket line.

As The Wall Street Journal reports,

 The employees, who work mostly on the company’s landline phone and Internet operations along the East Coast, have been working without a contract since August.


The workers are represented by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In 2011, a strike lasted two weeks before a new contract was reached.


The unions say they are trying to improve pension benefits and prevent Verizon from outsourcing jobs to contractors. The company, which has about 178,000 total employees, is looking to reduce retirement benefits and health-care costs.


“We’ve worked hard in negotiations to find common ground, but working people at Verizon and across the country have had enough of the corporate greed that is destroying our families and our economy,” said CWA union official Dennis Trainor.

Here’s a guide from NYTimes to which consumers may be affected, who won’t and how any disruption might manifest itself.

Which services will be affected?


The unions generally represent workers for Verizon’s wireline operations, which include the company’s landline, high-speed Internet and television services. These services are mostly available only in the Northeast, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the region from southern New York to Virginia. The unionized workers perform a range of tasks, like fixing a phone line that’s out of service, installing new phone and broadband Internet lines, or fielding customer support calls.


Union workers say they plan to picket some Verizon Wireless stores, but only a small number of those employees are part of the unions.


In other words, subscribers to Verizon’s cellular phone and data services should not notice any changes. There should be no major difference when you call Verizon Wireless or go into a retail store with questions about your cellphone bill, data usage or upgrading to a new smartphone, for example.


How might wireline services be affected by the strike?


Verizon says consumers need not worry about the potential strike. “We went through very extensive, good training and we’re very confident that we’re more than ready to meet the needs of our customers,” said Mr. McConville of Verizon.


But judging from numbers alone, Verizon’s wireline customers can reasonably expect a deterioration in customer service quality. Even with preparation, the company said it has trained only upward of 10,000 employees to fill in for the nearly 36,000 workers who went on strike. In addition, many unionized workers who are striking have been doing this type of work for far longer than the one year that Verizon has trained nonunion workers to fill in.


“There will almost certainly be some functions which may be slower or unavailable during the strike, because they require specialized skills or there just aren’t sufficient alternative resources available to fill all functions,” said Jan Dawson, an independent technology analyst for Jackdaw Research.


How long could services be disrupted?


Indefinitely. Verizon’s unionized workers have not specified how long they might go on strike, so it could last hours, days, weeks or even months.


Will this affect my utility bill?


Mr. McConville said the strike would have no effect on consumers’ bills.

Don't Americans have a right to wireline and wireless phone services? This strike seems very unpatriotic. Although Bernie is right there with them...


Not the first time...

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TradingIsLifeBrah's picture
TradingIsLifeBrah (not verified) Apr 13, 2016 10:27 AM

Replace them all with Microsoft's Twitter bot, Tay.  I bet most customers won't be able to tell the difference in the customer service experience


MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

This is only the beginning if we fail to address our country's staggering wealth inequality. Today's article at the Accredited Times examines the common misconceptions about raising the minimum wage, and why doing so could be a solution to nation's growing wealth disparity problem.


LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) El Oregonian Apr 13, 2016 10:44 AM

The good news is that no technical support is better than the current Verizon support.


No hours on end on the phone (accidentally disconnected three times - dial and menu again...) with a dolt who keeps telling you that your "Fahrvergnügen needs to be aligned.  You'll have to be at home from 9:00am until 3:00pm to wait for us to (maybe) show up."



JuliaS's picture

Welcome to Verizon customer service.

The operators are standing. Bye!

johnvallo's picture

They trained thousands of scabs yet somehow that costs less than what the union workers were negotiating for. 

dark pools of soros's picture

It always boils down to benefits..  destroy the dollar, ramp up globalization and then blame labor unions..   it ain't the unions fault that the strip mining corporate mentality raped the nation.    Everyone says there is no money yet we have $20 trillion in debt..  


btw,, Does anyone take down the cop unions?  


swmnguy's picture

Amen, Brother.  Some people seem to think that killing the middle class worked so well, the only way to fix our current problems is to completely wipe out the middle class.  Heck, why pay employees at all?  That would really help the corporate bottom line, if they didn't have any payroll-related costs.  No doubt that would unleash the buying power of the US consumer, if they didn't get paid at their jobs, huh?

But then, there are people who seem to think a dollar paid to a corporation is somehow different than a dollar paid to government too.  You can't expect everybody to understand basic concepts.

CheapBastard's picture

Sameer, Abdul and Mohammed in Bangladesh are waiting anxiously to replace those union Democrats. The union workers haven't got Soweto's O'Bama's message about "Change you can beleive in" yet, evidently.


Oddly, many unions keep voting in moar Democrats who are forcing an H1B visa program expansion and continue to destroy their own jobs!


It's paradoxical!

Bytor325's picture

But then, there are people who seem to think a dollar paid to a corporation is somehow different than a dollar paid to government too


well a dollar paid to a corporation is probably spent wiser and didnt get taken at the end of a gun

847328_3527's picture

Vote Democrat and vote your job away seems like a realistic Dem campaign mantra.


It's odd to hear the verizon union vice-leader talk about "saving middle class jobs" when they are all Democrats who voted for Obama who has destroyed more middle class American jobs then any president in the last 100 years.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) swmnguy Apr 13, 2016 2:38 PM

But then, there are people who seem to think a dollar paid to a corporation is somehow different than a dollar paid to government too.  You can't expect everybody to understand basic concepts.

You sure can't!  A husband and wife will often times incorporate their sandwich shop - therefore, their shop is a corporation - in order to keep the scumbag democrat (95% of them) lawyers from taking their home from them when LaTousha bumps her knee against the front door and sues.  Yeah, when I voluntarily purchase a sandwich from the mom and pop shop it's no different than the government pointing a gun at me, taking my income/labor from me, against my will, in order to buy votes. 

Some people are morons who have no clue how the world operates but feel the need to "educate" people about it as they run in circles screaming "FREE $HIT FOR EVERYBODY!!!"

bobsmith5's picture

BRAVO, BRAVO MDB, you got 21 negative votes so far.  There should be a master tally of all your down votes so Zero Hedgers will know just how beloved a troll you are here.

NoDebt's picture

I smell a "non-recurring charge for restructuring the landline phone division of our business" popping up in a Verizon 10Q next quarter.  

"Yer all fired!"

El Oregonian's picture

... Or, "As the [Ma] Bell tolls".

Dr. Engali's picture

Looks like about 40,000 future 401k rollovers in the near future.

cheech_wizard's picture

AT&T petitioned the FedGov to get rid of their land lines a while back. 

(Too costly to maintain).

FedGov said "Screw you", and every year you pay a bit more to AT&T.


TheABaum's picture

I see the Berniebots have been dispatched. 


Moron, none of these people work MW.

bobsmith5's picture


tmosley's picture

They are in the process of doing just that. The new generation of chatbots is AMAZING. Hear stories about AI personal assistants having flowers and cookies sent to them because the people dealing with them thought they were actual people.

silver sword's picture

Fire them all - let God sort 'em out . . . !!

Joe Cool's picture

I see Pink Slips...Lots of Pink Slips...

TradingIsLifeBrah's picture
TradingIsLifeBrah (not verified) Joe Cool Apr 13, 2016 10:30 AM

It would be hillarious if the 10,000 nonunion workers are able to do the work of 36,000 union workers better.

tmosley's picture

Or ten dedicated server racks.

NoDecaf's picture

It would be hillarious if the 10,000 nonunion workers are able to do the work of 36,000 union workers better.


yeah after several years....by that time the company would be broke.


these are not toilet cleaning jobs.

cheech_wizard's picture

>these are not toilet cleaning jobs.

BULL FUCKING SHIT. Have you now or ever been a CWA employee?

Repeat after me... "Thank you for choosing _________" fill in the blank with the company of your choice.

NoDecaf's picture

yeah douche bag for 20 years.... so you sat your fat ass down at a desk for a short stint meanwhile I was ripping out D4 channel banks and replacing them with the newest stuff.

I built the first FIOS system in NY state and worked every city from Buffalo to NYC.

I worked in data farms in DC

I know alot more about the physical layer than you could ever dream of.

I am in the CWA...fuck them too

but fuck the company harder....fucking greedy bastards pulling in 1.8 billion in profits on our backs

just to keep the current contract that we have now would only cost 1 billion for FIVE fucking years!!!!


fuck off douche bag

RockySpears's picture

"fucking greedy bastards pulling in 1.8 billion in profits on our backs"

  Those bastards give you your job, if you do not like it, find another.

I would shrug it off, but ...



cheech_wizard's picture

Do you really want to whip your dick out and compare sizes?

>I built the first FIOS system

Single-handedly too, I'll bet.

>I know alot more about the physical layer

A single year working the DSL lines at AT&T taught me all I ever wanted to know about the physical layer. Seriously, if you want to believel you're a special snowflake, go right ahead. You sound exactly like those CWA employees with seniority sound. You also sound like you hate your job, but that union pay is just so good, you'd never look for a better job. 

Standard Disclaimer: Like I said, blah, blah, blah. In my first job in tech, I did do the first port of Mosaic to an Intergraph workstation (single-handedly). I have worked as a quality/product/verification/test/sustaining engineer for the following companies. SUN Microsystems/AMD/Qualcomm. I have put in long hours solving problems which most people would rather take a gun to their head and pull a trigger. Happy now? Your kid's latest X-BOX or Playstation? I ironed out the bugs to do Cache resident self test (got a clue what that is?) with a single engineer. Worked on the team that brought up first silicon. 

It just never occurs to people that there might actually be people out there that do know what others are talking about, and might even know more about a subject than themselves.


NoDecaf's picture

"It just never occurs to people that there might actually be people out there that do know what others are talking about, and might even know more about a subject than themselves."



extend that courtesy to others if you expect it yourself.

richsob's picture

Off topic a bit but I really enjoy reading posts like yours.  I can do financial modeling in my sleep because finance is duck soup to me.  But I am amazed at how little I know about some things......like software/communications/high tech, etc.  Some of my most pleasant memories are the hours I spent talking to a cousin who had a MA from Yale and a PhD from Harvard.  He was able to speak in terms I understood about his cancer research and all the science that was involved.  It was fascinating stuff.  I have a PhD too (in finance) but we are all dummies in a lot of things even if we don't want to admit it to others (and ourselves!).

MANvsMACHINE's picture

And then there are those who are dummies in everything. Many are Hillary Clinton supporters.

CheapBastard's picture

I'm looking forward to talking to "Rose" in Manila in the future. However, I'll miss Ralph in Boston. he spoke perfect English an dknew wtf he was doing.

cheech_wizard's picture

Been there done that. And yes, I know for a fact they could.

I did a brief stint (during the great recession when there were 0 jobs) for AT&T working the phone banks for their DSL service. Long story short, after we debugged AT&T's new craptastic software written in India by people that couldn't spell English, we were let go. CWA union pukes kept their jobs even though the new hires were simply better at the job in terms of efficiency and technical knowledge.

Heard of a press-gang? That is the CWA. 

Standard Disclaimer: That was my one and only experience with a private sector union (CWA). FUCK THEM. Overpaid, worthless leeches, which goes a long way to explaining why our phone bills are so high.

If you don't mind saying "Thank you for choosing _________" for the rest of your life as you grow fat in a chair, the pay isn't bad. ($14.25/hr to start, $22.50/hr after a year, and if you can fucking believe this $30/hr after 2 years. This was for the most technical non-engineering job at AT&T, which was basically their Internet DSL services.) But being in the union had some almost impossible rules. Seriously 2 5 minute bathroom breaks, 2 10 minute smoke breaks, and a half hour lunch break. Strictly monitored, and it was easy to get fired. Call in sick, or be late, was almost automatic termination. Other groups made a lot less, but then how hard is it to answer a phone and be pleasant to people that you don't care about.


rejected's picture

"But being in the union had some almost impossible rules. Seriously 2 5 minute bathroom breaks, 2 10 minute smoke breaks, and a half hour lunch break. Strictly monitored, and it was easy to get fired."

I work in the Union environment for a Communications Company and we have none of that. We get two 15 minute breaks and a 1 hour lunch in 9 hours.Now if you were in Sales that is a different story but there is little technology there. But I do feel sorry for anyone working in that area,,, Horrible.


NoDecaf's picture

And everything this guy is spouting is about AT&T and u-verse... It's Verizon that's on strike... But he knows everything because "he's been there - done that"

I've been working there since it was NYNEX... Longer than anyone on the executive board.

I love my job, that why I've been there for two decades.

Do I get paid well? Yes

But like I said this isn't cleaning toilets. This is critical infrastructure. I protect the network because I care and I am well compensated for it. Try paying us minimum wage and nobody will care who walks through the door.

It's a complicated enviornment and I don't agree with everything the union does but at least we're not getting shit on like lower and mid level management though we're getting there fast.

Cheeto the mosaic programmer obviously didn't like his position and that's why he left. I'm still there fighting because I actually like my job, and in a few short years I'll be happy to put it behind me and pass the baton to next guy... If there is one.

EBT excepted's picture

bruthah, dey train da managahs fo' to do da woik, but da union dudes knows whey da bodees be buried up, and in da telacohm, dey all ovah da place...

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Joe, that sound homophobic and anti-transgender. Report to fun camp for regrooving.........

E.F. Mutton's picture

Meet George Jetson...his boy Elroy....Mr. Patel, his H1-B replacement...

NoDebt's picture

Hellooo, thees is 'Mike', how may I bee of assistance to you tooday?


TheABaum's picture

Zuckerberg is a the best advertising Neo-Nazis ever had.

CheapBastard's picture

Zuckerberg has to be one of the biggest living hipocrit POSs. Recently he begged Xi Jingping to name their next child.




Jingping even thought it was too freaking ingratiating, brown-nosing of the white devil and said, "Phuk u!!"

Zero-Hegemon's picture

"I don't know how to solve your problem, eeeets not in manual!"

NoDebt's picture

"The employees, who work mostly on the company’s landline phone..."

Stopped right there.  No impact on me (or most anyone, near as I can tell).  God forbid our landline phone system stops working.

TradingIsLifeBrah's picture
TradingIsLifeBrah (not verified) NoDebt Apr 13, 2016 10:32 AM

My guess is that this will impact businesses, those are the only people I can think of that might have a landline.  If its only residential then the Unions might have done Verizon a favor because Verizon may not need those workers back.

ToSoft4Truth's picture

landlines = copper.  Copper = some Internet circuits.



NoDebt's picture

Nonsense.  The internet is magical.  It doesn't need wires.

NoDecaf's picture

bullshit - google fujitsu 9500, tellabs 7100, ciena 6500....

all fiber optic backbone ROADM technology. WE the workers build this shit....the fucking walmart mentality workers in wireless storefronts sell packages and handsets....that's it