45,000 Striking Verizon Workers: Can You Hear Us Now?

We've come to the conclusion that an alien species has contaminated the Earth's water sources with a chemical that leads to an inability to negotiate, thereby leading to a series of labor disputes. Don't believe it? Just look at the evidence. The NFL season was in jeopardy while owners and players disputed a new collective bargaining agreement, and after reportedly switching to Gatorade (reported by us, based on nothing), finally hammered out a new deal. NBA players and owners, meanwhile, both seem content to wipe out the upcoming basketball season rather than agree to terms on how to best split billions of dollars. Want more proof? Look at the telco world, where 45,000 Verizon workers have gone on strike because the two sides couldn't come up with a new contract.

Image Credit: Flickr Scarygami

Bargaining began on June 22nd, and according to the Communications Workers of America union, "Verizon has refused to move from a long list of concession demands... As a result, CWA and IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) have decided to take the unprecedented step of striking until Verizon stops its Wisconsin-style tactics and starts bargaining seriously."

For you sports fans, that sounds a lot like the verbiage being used by David Stern and NBA owners towards its players, and underscores that the two sides may be further apart than most realize. In a note on its website, Verizon explains it's "asking our union-represented employees to help us on a variety of issues that could streamline our processes and further reduce our Wireline cost structure while keeping their overall compensation and benefits among the best in corporate America." Verizon claims that some of the original contract's provisions were hammered out when the telco "was under far less competitive pressure" and  "are not in line with the economic realities of business today."

The striking workers aren't buying it, pointing out that Verizon's reported revenues for 2011 came to $108 billion, including $6 billion in net profits. Furthermore, striking workers take exception to Verizon's top five executives being compensated to the tune for $258 million over the past four years.

On the other side of the coin, Verizon's wireline business declined 0.3 percent (revenue) in the second quarter, and dropped 2.2 percent in the Q1 2011.
Tags:  Verizon, jobs, strike, union