Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Verizon Strike Ends with Union Whimper

Verizon’s union employees are finally ending an ugly two-week strike after strong-arming the company into conceding…well, pretty much nothing. Verizon has agreed to extend the union workers’ current contracts indefinitely while it restarts negotiations with the union. But it didn’t agree to the demands that prompted the strike, such as taking an increase in health care costs off the table.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communications Workers of America tossed out some face-saving spin to their members:

CWA and IBEW leaders ended the strike after a 12-hour meeting where the company finally agreed to a bargaining process that will allow us to reach an agreement, not to put the same proposals back on the table over and over again or refuse to respond to union proposals.

The unions did not agree to any of the company’s concessionary demands to reach agreement. Instead, it was the solidarity we showed on the picket lines and the massive public support that lined up behind us that created the opportunity for progress.  We have tough issues to bargain and will press our demands for good jobs aggressively.

Right – so the union leaders walked out of negotiations with Verizon and forced their members to picket for weeks without pay just so they could head right back to the negotiating table, with no guarantee any of their major demands will be fulfilled. Way to go, Team Labor!

The left isn’t trying to hide its disappointment. At the American Prospect, Josh Eidelson writes the strike showed IBEW and CWA still have the organizing power, but lack the influence they once did:

The strike was an impressive show of large-scale solidarity. At best, it may have tempered the company’s ambitions to undo 50 years of contract improvements in these negotiations, but it didn’t take the largest worker concessions—including increased health-care costs—off the table. The limits of this strike are a painful reminder that, even if workers can protect their current contracts, Verizon has been winning its 16-year war to reduce their relevance.

Since the majority of Verizon’s unionized employees work in an increasingly anachronistic sector of the company – and Verizon’s closest competitors don’t have to deal with unions – Eidelson is right. And by conducting fruitless strikes like this one, union leaders don’t help their cause. Members simply won’t want to take the time, energy and financial risks that come with walking the picket line if the results aren’t worth it.

Also, in related news, the repercussions of the strike can’t be making the White House happy.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.