45,000 Verizon workers on strike for second day

45,000 Verizon employees, or about 25% of the company’s workforce, continued their strike on Monday after the company failed to reach an agreement with labor unions, Bloomberg reported. It is the first strike in 11 years at Verizon and it could end up affecting customers waiting for new phone and web installations or phone support, though Verizon has 40,000 other employees on hand. The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers don’t want to pay monthly premiums on health benefits, but Verizon isn’t quite willing to spend more money on the unions as customers continue to opt for wireless service and internet entertainment in place of phone lines and cable TV. “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,” Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said Sunday. “In fact, under these contracts, benefit costs have risen consistently even as the wireline business has shrunk.” “We’re looking to bring our union more in line with what the rest of the workers pay,” Verizon spokesperson Rich Young said, noting that a majority of Verizon’s employees pay part of their health insurance premiums. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers manager Bill Huber sees it differently. “These aren’t negotiations, they’re an insult,” he said. “This is a clear attack on our unions.”

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