After disagreements over new contracts, 45,000 Verizon workers, or roughly 25% of the company’s workforce, went on strike on August 7th. The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers refuse to pay a $100 monthly premium on their health benefits and do not agree with other contract terms, but now they may have no benefits at all. Verizon is threatening to pull all health benefits from any employees who are still striking on August 31st. Verizon has already filed a lawsuit against the Communications Workers of America accusing the union of harassment and sabotage, and it has been granted injunctions against picketers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The unions aren’t happy: “We feel the company is exercising any means possible to make our members suffer in hopes of breaking our units,” president of CWA Local 2204 Chuck Simpson told reporters. Formal talks between the workers and Verizon are ongoing, and Verizon said it sent letters out to give strikers enough time to find alternative benefits.
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.” More →
Not a bad start for Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet according to Jeffries & Co. analyst Peter Misek. According to a recent research note, Misek estimates that the Canadian mobile giant sold 25,000 PlayBook tablets during the online pre-order period and another 20,000 on opening day. “If correct, 45K+ sell through on the first day would be a success,” wrote Misek. Although the figure doesn’t quite match the 300,000 original iPads moved by Apple on its opening day last year, the Economic Times notes that “the PlayBook’s first-day sales are much better than those of other tablets such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Motorola’s Xoom.” RIM has yet to publicly comment on exact device sales figures. More →