45,000 Verizon workers go on strike

After months of unsuccessful negotiations, Verizon’s unionized workers went on strike yesterday after their labor contract expired.

In light of the pending contract expiration, the company and union representatives had been trying to hammer out new deals for nearly two months. However, neither side was willing to budge too much, leaving a complete strike as the only option.

The strike affects only those Verizon employees who are part of the Communication Workers of America. That encompasses people who work for the company’s landline service as well as its Fios cable TV service.

Verizon Wireless, the part of the company that handles cell phone service, is not unionized.

Many of the terms of the union contracts have been in place since the 1960s, and Verizon argues that times have changed, making it far less flexible. The CWA, on the other hand, says the company could offer more to its workers – especially field technicians – many of whom are paid hourly and are not salaried.

It’s possible the strike could last weeks or even months. There has not been a Verizon employee strike in 11 years. Last time it happened, in 2000, there were 86,000 unionized employees working for the company, and the stoppage lasted nearly three weeks.

For customers, Fios TV and landline phone customer service will likely be affected during the strike, but the services themselves will continue to be active.