"We're not asking for anything else, we would be happy extending the old contract. We don't want anything more at all." Negotiations between Verizon and CWA began in June of last year and since that time, no progress has been made. Union workers have returned to work for the past year despite pending storms but now time is running out and workers are preparing to strike.
Employee Jason White says, "Unfortunately we have not moved any further then
from the day we returned to work, so the same issues are on the table. From
what we've been told before we went into mediation there was slight movement
but the movement was deemed glacial, which is very slow if any at all."
Executive Vice President of CWA 11-26 Peter Dawes says, "We we're promised by the CEO of the company that if we came back right before the impending storms that we would have a fair negotiation, there would be an honest talk. Since that's happened the company has refused to move on any of its give backs."
Current employees aren't the only ones affected by the pending contract talks, retired employees could lose benefits. Suzy hall worked for Verizon for over thirty years and she's concerned but knows retirees don't have a voice at the table.
Hall says, "All I can do is show up. It's in the contract
that they can't bargain for retirees. So we try to walk with them we try to
show up for them to support them and they will try to support us"
Eyewitness News spoke with a Verizon Representative who said they could not comment on the negotiations between the union and Verizon. Verizon's response to the 25,000 jobs lost is that they have no idea where the CWA is coming up with that number
Dawes added, "I'm hoping that tomorrow I get a phone call that says you guys pushed really hard this week, the mediator talked some sense into the company, everybody go back to work on Monday and do your jobs."