Verizon strike could impact local service

Tom Perez

Sean Gallup Getty Images Staff Tom Perez

Similar issues led to a contract disagreement in 2011 and a two-week strike in 2011.

In Western Massachusetts, 341 members of the IBEW are on strike along with another 50 or so service representatives who are members of the CWA, Rowley said. Photo caption: Verizon workers picket outside one of the company's facilities Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Philadelphia. "Unfortunately, union leaders have their own agenda rooted in the past and are ignoring today's digital realities", Marc Reed, Verizon's chief administrative officer, said. He said Verizon has trained thousands of nonunion workers to fill in for striking workers and "we will be there for our customers". "The community wins, the employee wins, and the company wins because it has already been proven it is a very profitable product", said Skeeter Smith, a Verizon employee.

Verizon and the unions have been negotiating since June of 2015 over Verizon's plan to cut healthcare and pension benefits. "With any sort of job action or disruption to our business, our primary goal is to ensure our customers can count on the critical communications services that they pay for and we provide". Their contract expired in August.

Walkout could hamper Verizon's Fios Internet, telephone and TV services and business in a number of states in the East Coast. More people are getting rid of their landlines but one worker told 22News he's needed in western MA.

Verizon has said it is willing to negotiate with disgruntled staff based in the northeast of the USA who this week went on strike after months of fruitless contract negotiation.

According to The Associated Press, Verizon wants to save money on health care for retirees and current workers.

Mark OBraitis, 53, of Manorville, a material systems technician who installs equipment at Verizon buildings, said at Smith Haven Mall that he has worked for the company for almost 29 years. They have said contract negotiations have been unsuccessful. "We believe there's enough work here that can be done by the people in the union now", he said.

Brad Peterson, corporate supervisor for the Bradford work center and other work centers in the area, said he couldn't comment directly on the strike.

To cope with the strike, King said Verizon has brought in "thousands" of non-union workers to continue providing service to customers.

Union leaders say they are working in the best interest of the local customer.

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