Verizon Strike Continues for Second Day

Verizon workers continued to strike on Monday, as 75 workers showed up at the company’s headquarters in Manhattan. Prolonged negotiations over medical benefits, employee pensions and decreased vacation time may result in delayed service calls and disrupted installations for phone and Web service.

The New York based-company has trained over 40,000 management employees, retirees and other workers to fill the roles of union-represented workers.

The strike may also cause Verizon’s stock to drop.

However, based on the company’s performance during a labor dispute in 2000, many believe that Verizon could recover once an agreement is reached with union officials, said Jonathan Atkin, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco, reported Bloomberg News.

On Sunday, over 45,000 technicians, customer-service consultants and operators went on strike, after management and labor unions failed to reach a new labor agreement. Thousands of workers have joined picket lines at Verizon locations in Massachusetts and Virginia.

The previous contract that expired on Sunday at midnight, included 35,000 represented by the Communications Workers of America and 10,000 represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said the company needs concession from union workers because its landline business is losing customers due to the changing telecommunications industry.

“It is clear that some of the existing contract provisions, negotiated initially when Verizon was under far less competitive pressure, are not in line with the economic realities of business today. In fact, under these contracts, benefit costs have risen consistently even as the wireline business has shrunk,” McAdam said yesterday in a statement, reported Bloomberg News.

Verizon and union officials remain divided on the issue of changing health-care benefits. The company is seeking health care givebacks to account for the decrease in profits as consumers go wireless.

Nonetheless, union officials claim that Verizon is making billions in profits and is attacking middle class jobs.

“These aren’t negotiations, they’re an insult,” said Bill Huber, a business manager for the IBEW.

Until the two sides reach an agreement, workers are prepared to “continue the fight”, the CWA said in a statement. Unions are calling for more than 100 locations in New York and New Jersey to rally against Verizon’s demands.