Verizon Faces Strike Of 40K Unionized Workers

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Verizon workers are preparing to strike over failed contract negotiations Wednesday in what their union hopes will be the largest work stoppage in recent years.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) expects the strike to include 40,000 workers primarily along the East Coast. Verizon and the union have been unable to agree on a new labor agreement with outsourcing and wages remaining primary points of contention.

“We’re standing up for working families and standing up to Verizon’s corporate greed,” CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor said in a statement. “If a hugely profitable corporation like Verizon can destroy the good family-supporting jobs of highly skilled workers, then no worker in America will be safe from this corporate race to the bottom.”

Negotiations began in June, 2015, with the last contract expiring Aug. 1. The union attacked the company in an ad Aug. 9 claiming the company wants to outsource jobs to places like Mexico and the Philippines. The company reportedly also wants to utilize more contractors. Verizon says it’s the union which has been unreasonable during the contract talks.

“We’ve tried to work with union leaders to reach a deal,” Verizon Chief Administrative Officer Marc Reed said in a statement. “Verizon has been moving the bargaining process forward, but now union leaders would rather make strike threats than constructively engage at the bargaining table.”

Verizon also notes it has tried to preserve jobs but fought to reform legacy contracts. The last contract proposal included a 6.5 percent wage increase, better healthcare coverage and an improved retirement plan. The company did not address the outsourcing accusations.

The strained talks has even gotten the attention of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“Verizon wants to take American jobs,” Sanders said during a speech last week. “We are going to have to deal with this corporate greed, which is more concerned with compensation packages for CEOs than about the needs of hard working people who want nothing more than to be able to live in dignity and security and bring their kids up in a decent way.”

Senate Democrats have also weighed in on the dispute with a letter urging Verizon to negotiate a fair deal. Forty thousand workers could make the strike the biggest work stoppage in the last few years. The union notes the push to outsource more jobs and use more contractors comes despite the company making $39 billion in profits over the last three years.

Verizon did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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