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Summary:

More than 45,000 Verizon workers are striking this morning. People are concerned about what the strike could mean for telecom equipment vendors, but a better question is how much will Verizon’s legacy employees drag down the company as it competes against more modern IT companies?

On Strike

More than 45,000 Verizon workers are striking this morning, causing the telecommunications provider’s stock to drop slightly. Others are concerned about what the strike could mean for telecom equipment vendors, but a better question might be how much will Verizon’s legacy employees drag down the company as it competes against more modern I.T. companies? The line between computing and communications is blurring, and Verizon is clearly aware of that, as it focuses on faster broadband, pay TV and also cloud computing.

However, the company has a rich past that stretches back decades. Heck, its previous CEO was a former lineman who actually spliced cables for telephone wires. The striking workers, who are responsible for maintaining Verizon’s wireline telephone network as well as its fiber-to-the-home FiOS network, are being asked for the usual share of rising healthcare costs, but also that they become more flexible. As Verizon’s wireline DSL business shrinks, the company is still supporting an expensive workforce that’s responsible for a business that may soon represent a much smaller portion of Verizon’s profits.

Verizon is competing now against companies such as Amazon and Rackspace, which don’t have unionized workers, and against pay TV providers which sometimes do. As Verizon gets more digital, mobile and cloud-focused, its culture has to shift from one where a person has a single job for 40 hours a week with set time off to one where people work all out to deliver services and innovation for decent paychecks or the chance to take home a piece of the pie. There’s plenty of room for debate over whether this is a good thing, but it’s certainly the thing that Verizon has to adjust to. Will its workers let it?

  1. Jill Manies Beesley Monday, August 8, 2011

    Verizon is hardly hurting, their profits tripled last year, and the CEO raked in $18M. I might understand these concessions more, if the corporation was hurting, but they are not.

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    1. It’s not a function of whether or not it’s hurting, but if it’s equipped to compete in the long run against other businesses without unionized workers.

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      1. deunionize workers = lower wages,
        lower wages = lower consumers spending.
        How does that help the economy?

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      2. well said stacey.

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  2. Union Members Wife Monday, August 8, 2011

    Verizon is doing well as a company now but if they don’t start making changes that could all change in the future. The union has to start being resonable. Some of the things that Verizon is asking to change is perfectly acceptable. Unionized employess need to come back to reality. Verizon wanted pay increases to be based on job performance and asked that employees help pay for their health insurance with an exception to employees who need diabetic medications. The union should agree to that and then Verizon should keep giving a pension. Verizon is hiring other jobless people for a fraction of what their current employees make. People are out their begging for jobs so it’s not really a wise time for unions do go on strike with ridiculous demands. When all the current employees are on the unemployment line because they have been replaced with cheaper labor I hope their union saves them.

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    1. Jersey lineguy Monday, August 8, 2011

      I am lineman from NJ, and I just want you to know that you have no clue about what you are talking about. So it says that you are a union members wife? So if your husband is an ideal worker for the company, does a great job and just because he doesnt kiss his boss’s ass means that he will make less money than the guy who does. How would you feel about that? That is part of our culture already in some garages with what types of work that you recieve. Would you want less money coming in because of this? Look, I know there needs to be some concessions made here, but our union has worked hard for what we have in place, and we need to show our thanks to all of the Union members who fought for what we have now….

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    2. You obviously not a wife of a union member. If you’re one, you’d understand what they’re fighting for. How do you like you’re husband paying over $6000 for the premiums before you’re insurance benefits can kick in? How do you like having your husband have a pay cut of about 20K from his 50K salary per year? These people are not afraid of paying for the health care as long as it is at reasonable price. High premiums and high deductibles. This company wants to freeze your husband’s pension. How would you feel about that? Limiting sick days to 5 days a year? And cutting off disabilities benefits? For example your husband get sick for more than 5 days, so he reach his 5 days sick leave limit, he needs to go back to work else, he’ll fired, then when he arrived at work he just got worst and worst and need to be hospitalized. Hmmm do u think the company will still care? Because he already capped his sick days. Better think about all of that. Also think about what the company’s boasting about. Their boasting billions in their profits and paying their CEO a 55K salary per day. I could understand if this company is shrinking bad.

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      1. Amen Folks this is fact. I like to deal in facts. I as a Union member believe in give and take, but we give much more and yet the company will keep taking. The middle class is all but gone! Who will buy then.

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  3. I understand the need to strike (although from what I hear, Verizon’s benefits are still better than most). What I DO NOT understand is how these striking workers can justify the harassment of non-union employees. It is NOT acceptable to be threatening HOMES and CHILDREN because of an employment strike!!!!!

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  4. Verizon’s excuse to demand that the union giveback everything they’ve ever gotten is that the wireline side of the business is shrinking.Well it’s true that people are giving up their old copper land line but who do you think takes care of the wireless network? Your cell phone call does not go up into space and come back down straight to the cell phone of the called party.It goes into a central office where union people maintain the backbone of that wireless network.Union people also work on FIOS (which is where alot of the lost landlines went to,by the way) and if you say that FIOS is a money loser then I guess that former CEO Ivan Seidenberg should reimburse the company about 80 million dollars of bonus money back. Please get the truth out to the masses!

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  5. clearly “union members wife” is not what you claim to be. While the CEO gets more than 18 million dollars and the company is making huge profits they ask the little guys who built this company to make sacrifices. by ridiculous demands you mean healthcare and pension benefits? and it’s not just current employees People who worked and gave their all to this company for 40 years and retired are getting the shaft.

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  6. Verizon Stock Holder Monday, August 8, 2011

    Verizon is performing better than most when it comes to JD Power and their bottom line. Seems to me keeping the troops happy is what they would want to do. As a stock holder I am very disappointed that is the exact opposite of what the management team is doing. Keep the status quo, keep the troops happy and make my stock go back in the right direction.

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    1. Evelyn Roberts Monday, August 8, 2011

      Amen!

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  7. Evelyn Roberts Monday, August 8, 2011

    We are not the peons that Verizon seems to be trying to make us to be now. We are dedicated workers who value each task with sincere loyalty of years and years of faithful service.

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    1. …….loyalty and years of service will get you a cup of coffee. Coming to work each day w/a good attitude and working hard will provide all the job security you need.

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  8. Fire that lazy entitled union labor!!!! Healthcare premiums??? Get a grip on reality. Many out of work people would gladly trade places.

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    1. Get the facts first before you pass judgement. I have 11 years with this company working as a call center representative. The job has changed and not for the best. It is a very stressfull job but I do appreciate a steady paycheck. Yes, Verizon is asking us to contribute to our healthcare premiums but at the sametime they are also looking to cut our pay by 30% if we do not make our sales objective. When I was hired for this position I was hired as a Customer Sales Representative. Customer Service is no longer important to the company, if a rep is obeserved not offering a product to an irate customer or a customer who is calling to make payment arraingement because the bill is too high, you will be suspended with out pay. Don’t believe the hype that the corporate giant is putting out to the media. Verizon is a mega billion dollar company, there is no need to cut our pay, our healthcare and our pension.

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    2. HOFFA what is exactly that you do for a living I am a call center representative that has worked fOR the company 16 years.I agree that their are people out here who would love my job but if Verizon has their way you could be fired without Cause.You wake UP and find out they moved your job 100 miles away w/o notice or tell you we are going to take 30% of your pay check away and you must make 70%of your sales objective in order to get the rest of your pay and pay into your healthcare and freeze your pension as of DEC 2011 no longer be payed overtime and be forced to work after your shift ends w/o any prior notice or be subject to dismissal.Don’t believe that that HEALTHCARE PREMIUMS is the only reason we are walking educated yourself on the situation. WE ARE FIGHTING FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS AND THOSE WHO HAVE NO JOBS SO THAT WHEN THEY DO GET ONE THEY ARE TREATED WITH RESPECT FOR THE HARD WORK THEY DO !!! ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HELPED TO MAKE A COMPANY 61 BILLION AND YOU HAVE TOP EXECUTIVES MAKING MILLIONS AND HAVE MANSIONS AND SUMMER HOMES OFF OF your HARD WORK ARE THEY TAKING PAY CUTS NO!!! CORPORATE GREED IS THE REASON WE ARE STRIKING !!!

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    3. IT’S FOOLS WITH YOUR MENTALITY THAT ARE BRINGING THIS COUNTRY DOWN..THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON UNION LABOR AND SO WAS VERIZON..WHEN UNIONS WERE STRONG SO WAS THE ECONOMY..WAKE UP! THIS IS NOT ABOUT HEALTHCARE…PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF ARE SO NAIVE..KEEP ON BUYING INTO THE CORPORATE BS..IT’S ALL ABOUT PROFITS FOR THE CORPORATE ELITE..ASK VERIZON HOW MANY JOBS WERE SHIFTED FROM THE USA TO THE PHILLIPINES, MEXICO, AND INDIA…IF WE STILL HAD THESE JOBS HERE, OBVIOUSLY THERE WOULD BE LESS PEOPLE OUT OF WORK MORON…CORPORATE GREED HAS BEEN KILLING THIS COUNTRY SINCE THE 1980’S..UNTIL THE PUBLIC STARTS TO REALIZE WHATS REALLY HAPPENING IN AMERICA AND FIGHTS BACK, THINGS WILL NEVER GET BETTER…

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  9. CWA Wireless Monday, August 8, 2011

    I’m disappointed that hard work means nothing. This strike affects wireless employees also. There are 70 union verizon wireless employees in New York Metro that are picketing for their jobs also. We work hard to build and maintain a better network. We pay our health dues that go up each year and why is it that this year our contract can not be renewed as previous ones? Where is our fair share? I’m not asking for riches, only to be able to support my family in this economy.

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  10. I feel terrible for the union guys in that instead of sleeping in their trucks at the end of my street they are now awake and having to picket in this heat? What is this world coming too…

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    1. Well played! Well played, indeed!

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