It is now Day 12 of the strike and instead of the company bargaining team coming to the table to negotiate; Company executives continue to visit CWA and IBEW members on the picket lines. While our members have repeatedly told Vz executives to get back to the bargaining table they don’t seem to get the message.
Instead the Company continues to spin to the media how well compensated employees are with the wage and benefit package Vz. provides. The Company’s message is like a broken record. The Company attempts to project its own greed onto Union members. Verizon has concocted an inflated $130,000 number for our wage and benefit package to make it seem as if workers are lavishly paid. But when it comes to lavish pay at Verizon, only three numbers really matter: Verizon’s $18 billion in profits in 2015, CEO Lowell McAdam’s total compensation of
$18 million last year, and the more than $230 million given to Verizon’s top-five executives in the last five years.
We know the Company not only heard us at the bargaining table but they understood the Unions’ issues are centered around maintaining good jobs for our members and yet they continue to spin lies about employees compensation to create a diversion from dealing with the real issues. The following issues must be addressed in this round of bargaining to maintain good jobs at Verizon.
· Offshoring Good Jobs – Verizon has already contracted out work to more than 5,000 employees in the Philippines, Mexico, the Dominican Republican and other overseas locations. These offshore workers handle customer service calls originating in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states. Verizon wants to increase the number of calls — and jobs — that are transferred overseas.
· Outsourcing Work to Low-Wage Contractors – Verizon is pushing to dramatically expand its outsourcing of work to low-wage non-union contractors. The company wants to sharply expand the amount of contracting out of outside line work, particularly vital work installing and maintaining telephone poles.
· Hanging Up on Wireless Workers – Verizon is also refusing to negotiate a fair first contract for Verizon Wireless retail workers who formed a union in 2014. Verizon says Wireless workers make the company huge profits, but it’s refusing to give them any improvements — even though they’re some of the lowest paid people at Verizon. Also, Verizon is failing to negotiate a fair contract for the 100 wireless technicians who maintain the network in downstate New York.
· Call-Center Closings – Despite the high-demand for customer service, hundreds of Verizon workers are at risk of losing their jobs or being forced to commute as much as three hours more each day because of the company's plan to close and consolidate call centers. Members’ families and communities would be devastated by these moves. Most of the centers are located in Vz owned facilities and have ample space to accommodate additional call center workers.
· Out of State Assignments – Verizon executives want technicians to work away from home for as long as two months at a time, anywhere from Massachusetts to Virginia, without seeing their families. Some members will be forced to choose between caring for their kids and keeping their jobs.
. Improved Working Conditions – Verizon management has created a sweatshop environment with its excessive monitoring and unreasonable overtime assignments. Employees are monitored in call centers by the electronic recording of every call. Outside technicians are monitored with a Global Positioning System tracking every aspect of movement of the company vehicles. The mismanagement of these monitoring tools has created high levels of stress affecting employee productivity and morale. Call center management routinely assign overtime to employees and then without any concern for the employee’s quality of life cancel assignments less than 10 minutes before the scheduled overtime while directing calls to contract vendors. Outside technicians have been forced to work overtime to the point of exhaustion because the Company has not hired enough technicians to keep up with the workload. Members deserve better treatment than this from Vz.
Sooner or later the company will get the message: Our members are united in the fight for good jobs and improved working conditions. Corporate greed must be stopped! CWA and IBEW members are leading the fight against Corporate Greed for all workers.
Picket lines are strong throughout Mid-Atlantic. Wireless stores have been targeted by Locals who are moving more pickets to the stores. Internal sources have confirmed sales results are dropping in Wireless stores and Verizon stock has started to drop as well. Our members are doing a great job on picketing, rallies and dealing with the media. We have received commitments of support from the entire Labor Movement including the Utility Workers Union in Scotland who has volunteered to make this a global fight with Verizon and its contracts in Scotland.
No significant movement has been made in these negotiations since the strike began on April 13th. The Unions’ bargaining team remains available to meet with the company to work out a fair agreement. An agreement that secures the good middle class jobs we have today.