Home / General / Verizon Strike Ends

Verizon Strike Ends


Verizon workers have called off their strike, the nation’s largest in the past 4 years, after the company agreed to temporarily extend the contract and come back to the bargaining table.

The strike began because Verizon decided to crush the union. It didn’t succeed. Instead, the workers held together, Verizon found itself plagued with service problems, and received some bad publicity for its aggressive actions against striking workers.

Moreover, the company agreed that both sides can walk away from negotiations at any time, meaning they recognize the workers may return to the picket lines.

The big victory, saving jobs and benefits, has not been achieved. That will be determined at the bargaining table. But the fact that Verizon was forced to that table in the first place is a significant victory that should embolden workers to take a harder line against the company than before.

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  • c u n d gulag

    Being publicly embarassed will only mean that Verizon will work twice as hard at fucking over the workers.

    And if not today, well, there’s always tomorrow.

    But they WILL be looking to fuck them, and fuck them hard. Them and their families.

    • wengler

      Two-way street and all that.

      • c u n d gulag

        Sure, and I hope you’re right.

        It’s just that I’m hard pressed to remember a big labor victory recently.

        From what I remember, the 2007 GM strike was not a win for the union, but more of a mixed bag.

        Anyone help me out?
        I mean, without going back to the 70’s, when, pre-Reagan, unions still had some clout.

        • shah8

          midnineties baseball strike. Victory in the sense that baseball players managed to preserve real free agencies.

          Baseball’s Players Association is still one of the strongest unions around.

          • c u n d gulag

            Good point, thanks.

            But that was a decade and a half ago…

            Since then:
            In their dispute, the NHL players lost money.

            The since-resolved NFL lockout doesn’t look promising for players at all.

            And the NBA labor situation doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved in the player favor either.

            So, outside of MLB, every other sport has basically lost some ground recently.
            The qustion then is, was it as much as it won over the past few decades?

            Probably not.
            But it’s not exactly moving fast in any direction we’d wish it was.

    • George W B

      Near depression economics and high unemployment is not the time to look for big union victories. Just walking back a strike and getting their members returned to work is an accomplishment of sorts. My question is what kind of concessions were made by either side or both to end the strike. The whole purpose of a strike is to exert extreme economic pressure on the employer to force concessions. If no concessions were made and the bargaining remains at status quo ante a mistake was made.

      • PeterGrfx

        Depression economics does not hurt unions’ ability to win victories. Just look at the last Depression, which saw a greatly expanded and redefined union movement rise up.

        It’s the global economy. In good times or bad, company owners and managers can still threaten to shut down and move their operations to a third-world country – with no unions, no rules, no minimum wage, etc.

  • c u n d gulag

    Slightly OT, but I figured you and LG&M readers may find this article by Naomi Klein to be of interest:


    It was also published in The Guardian. It’s essentially the same article with only a few minor changes in wording:


  • David Kaib

    This is good news. So what’s next?

    • Have to see what happens at the bargaining table.

  • thebewilderness

    It is outrageous that workers have to go on strike just to get management to meet their obligation to sit down at the bargaining table.

  • Phew!

    I drove past one of the picket locations on my way to my class earlier, and there were half a dozen Lowell cops milling around. I though they were there to clear the strikers!

    I guess not. Great news.

  • melior

    Exclusive! Actual reason why Verizon union-crushers backed down:

    Verizon’s management team’s failure to brainstorm a strategy for the massive PR fail expected 2 weeks from now when all the mid-level managers currently manning the helpdesk phones of their striking workers were told no, they couldn’t have Labor Day holiday weekend off to spend with their families.

  • josh reyes

    Both sides must agree before the workers can go back after a strike. We are going back to well paying, good benefits UNION jobs because Verizon contrary to their hype was feeling the heat with disruptions of their service because we were’t there to maintain the network. Fios is landline and it has taken off so when you compute the loss of customers on the traditional phone service with the expanding customer base of Fios, then Verizon is not really losing anything. By the way the wireless service goes through the landline C.O.s maintained by the wireline employees.

  • Sorry, I know this is good news, but I fail to see how this is good news for McCain.

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    • Sane Saturday Jerry-rigged Caravan

      Ladies and Gentlemen, the above is brought to you from Web 2.0 via Verizon.

  • DrDick

    Nice to see Verizon failed in their efforts to crush the union, but it remains to be seen what the ultimate outcome will be. Good news nonetheless.

  • dangermouse

    Possibly Verizon should have considered that people really, really fucking hate it when their phones and internet and shit are broken and they can’t get it fixed.

    • As it turns out, people don’t want to get lousy service from their phone/cable company and see some of their neighbors lose their jobs so that a company can save a few bucks on labor and not lower its prices.

  • bob

    Um, 30% of households have disconnected their land-line phone service and use cell phones only. Verizon’s unionized workers maintain a dying form of communication. Phone lines are now handled increasingly by cable, satellite, internet or other means other than what these 45,000 union members are trying to protect.

    Verizon’s profits are largely through more advanced technology.

    Writing’s on the wall, lefties. You’re trying to protect an obsolete industry.

    Good luck with that.

    • UserGoogol

      That’s not really what the strike is about. Obviously land lines are a dying industry. But it hasn’t died off yet, and as such the workers would like to be paid well until Verizon finally kills off their land line division. The union isn’t striking to preserve the industry, the union is striking to preserve benefits.

      If Verizon thought the industry was dead, they could just lay off the workers right now. But they haven’t done that, because they think the workers still are providing value. As such, the workers have a reasonable desire to want a slice of that value.

      • witless chum

        I’ve also read (probably in blog comments, so who knows?) that the landline division is concerned with more than just landline phones, including things like laying and maintaining fiber optic cables which are most certainly not a dying industry.

  • honestliberal

    Verizon union workers voluntarily left their jobs resulting in a strike, they used their big gun first in an attempt to catch VZ with their pants down. A good strategy, but it didn’t work, due in large part to automated systems and a management team that became fanatical in its efforts to keep the company running after reading the reports and seeing the video of their coworkers being subject to violent attacks by striking union workers. This violence, in addition to acts of painfully stupid sabotage, also turned public opinion against the unions in less than a few days. Ironically, it was frequently union members themselves posting documentation of illegal acts to youtube, and it took critical days before union leadership recognized the damage it was doing and put an end to it. Someday a grad student will write a paper on the impact of video capable cell phones on this strike and labor negotiations in general.

    In addition to public opinion, Verizon also won in the courts, getting injunction after injunction across the eastern seaboard to limit union picketer’s ability to intimidate and commit assault.

    The union lost the political battle as well, there being barely a peep from the national democratic leadership on the strike. I’m guessing they wanted to, but how could they support with appropriate intensity, what appears to be an entitled, violent, disorderly mob that beats up women, hurls racial slurs at minorities, and cuts their own customer’s phone, internet and TV lines? Open thuggery doesn’t play well on capital hill.

    The unions have always had the option to work without a new contract, otherwise this would have been termed a lockout (a situation where the employer refuses to let the union work) and not a strike (where union workers voluntarily leave their jobs). The unions ASKED to come back to work, perhaps for strategic reasons, and had VZ refused, the NRLB would have declared this a lockout and union workers would have been entitled to unemployment and possibly other considerations. VZ let them back in to demonstrate their interest in bargaining in good faith and to avoid paying unemployment. This is by no means a win for the unions, but another loss, they blinked first, further weakening their bargaining position. Union leadership has been inept throughout this strike, failing to control its “bad apples”, failing to frame the argument in the media, and failing to instill in its rank and file sufficient discipline and will in what is a battle of wills and a war of attrition.

    This is not your grandfather’s union. That generation fought for and won critical protection and wages in the work place. No, these are soft, entitled 3rd generation that has grown complacent at the tit of the corporate giant they claim is so greedy and treats them so unfairly, though they would never consider leaving. The unions will lose, not on the grounds of the argument, but because they lack commitment and sound leadership.

    • Holden Pattern

      Two lies in one user handle, now that’s some impressive trolling.

      • DrDick

        Not to mention the boatload of misinformation in the post itself. I hope Verizon is paying him/her well for being such a flagrant asshole.

  • honestliberal

    Holden, DrDick I assure I am not lying and that I am a liberal in the truest sense of the word. Nor am I troll or looking for a flame war. The tenor of the discussion has been fairly lopsided and I wanted to share my views and did so in a polite and measured manner. As for the strike, no other explanation makes sense. If Verizon were close to breaking and asked for the unions to come back, don’t you suppose they would have held to their guns and demanded a contract rather than agreeing to work under the expired one? But don’t take my word for it, do some research on labor relations, the NLRB, strikes vs. lockouts, and run a quick search on youtube on the verizon strike, a lot of the stuff is still up there. Sorry to disagree with you, but I will not mimick the tea party/fox news crowd and support everything that my friends on the left do or say. Peace.

    • Malaclypse

      Holden, DrDick I assure I am not lying and that I am a liberal in the truest sense of the word.

      Cthulhu preserve us, we’ve got another libertarian.

      • honestliberal

        Malaclypse, I’d prefer you call me a liar like everyone else rather than a libertarian. I meant the meaning before fox news got ahold of it.

  • Hogan

    If Verizon were close to breaking and asked for the unions to come back, don’t you suppose they would have held to their guns and demanded a contract rather than agreeing to work under the expired one?

    Yeah, see, the reason for the strike was to force Verizon back to the table so they can negotiate a new contract instead of unilaterally imposing one. The negotiating is the point. But don’t take my word for it: ask anyone who’s ever belonged to a union and was paying attention.

    • honestliberal

      Holden, are you suggesting that striking unions routinely return to work without a contract? Sorry, but no, a strike is not an intermediate step in negotiating.

      It is the threat of a strike that forces companies to negotiate, and the painful effects of a successful strike that forces companies to yield to union demands. And please spare me the condescending attitude, at least until you’ve demonstrated an ability to do something other than parrot nonsensical union rhetoric.

      • Hogan

        I’m not Holden, but:

        It’s routine for unions *who are in negotiations past the deadline* to keep working under the old contract. That’s not what happened here; Verizon wasn’t negotiating, it was demanding. The purpose of this strike, this time, was to *get Verizon to negotiate.* Which is what has happened. It’s not a new contract yet, but there wasn’t going to be any new contract without this.

        I’ve been on the negotiating team of my local union for five contracts, and I’ve heard inside reports of many more. So forgive me for observing that you don’t seem to know what you’re talking about.

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