|By Business Wire||
|September 11, 2013 04:52 PM EDT||
Union contracts covering more than 4,500 workers at Verizon West will expire at midnight tonight.
Affected workers, represented by Communications Workers of America District 9, include FiOS technicians, operators, call center representatives, customer service representatives, cable splicers, field technicians for business and residential service, buried service wire employees and other job titles throughout California.
Bargaining between CWA and Verizon West began Jan. 28. Contracts were originally set to expire March 9, 2013, and were extended by mutual agreement. But with slow progress at the bargaining table, CWA has notified the company that it is canceling the extension, effective at 11:59 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 11).
“Bargaining has been contentious, and very slow, and we felt that we had to put the company on notice that this is unacceptable,” said Ellen West, who leads the CWA bargaining committee and serves as District 9’s Southern California Area Director.
Members will be working with expired contracts under status quo conditions as bargaining continues this week, West said, but are being asked to remain on alert for updates.
Verizon workers represented by CWA are fighting to maintain fair wages and healthcare benefits, to preserve their pensions and to limit outsourcing of jobs, including FiOS technicians.
As America’s second largest telecommunications company, Verizon Communications is highly profitable, reporting revenues of $115.8 billion last year. Verizon recently announced it will pay $130 billion to buy Vodafone.
“Clearly, this isn’t a company that’s hurting for money,” said Ave Malagalaii, a Verizon Operator II employee who lives in Long Beach. “Why should Verizon workers have to face cutbacks as corporate earnings soar? We are profitable in California and we want a fair contract now!”