45,000 workers from the Verizon landline side of the company’s business went on strike in the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions on Sunday, protesting the company’s request for concessions from two of the industry’s major unions.
The walkout, the first in 11 years at the corporation came after Verizon requested concessions as their landline business continues to witness decreasing revenue as cell phone use rises and cable companies begin to take away customers via VoIP services.
According to the Wall Street Journal landline revenues fell 1.2% in the first six months of 2011 to $20.4 billion, a $3 billion profit for Verizon shareholders.
Based on a healthy profit margin both unions say Verizon is doing nothing more than trying to reduce their power to negotiate on behalf of Verizon employees. A union spokesman said in a statement earlier in the day:
“Verizon has refused to move from a long list of concession demands,” while adding, “As the contract expired, nearly 100 concessionary company proposals remained on the table.”
While Verizon says the strike will not affect service, it could be a long battle coming as the Communications Workers of America, one of the two unions on strike says they have more than $400 million in contingency funds that will help them support workers during the strike.
The real losers in this strike? Verizon managers who the company says may be asked to work 72-hour weeks until the strike has come to an end and with no end in sight it could be a very long and high stressed work environment for those managers.