The following was released by Verizon Communications earlier. It appears [see bold text] that the company will not be backing down from its intentions to get concessions from its unionized workforce.
NEW YORK, Aug. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Verizon Communications today announced that its 45,000 wireline employees in nine Northeastern states and the District of Columbia who are represented by the CWA and IBEW will return to work beginning Monday night, Aug. 22, without new collective bargaining agreements.
Verizon and the unions have made headway in negotiating a number of local and regional issues, and the parties have agreed on a process for moving forward to negotiate the major issues regarding benefits, cost structure, work flexibility and job security.
Verizon said the wireline employees now on strike would be working under the terms of the contracts that expired on Saturday, Aug. 6. The contracts will be extended with no specific deadline for achieving new collective bargaining agreements so that the parties can take the time required to resolve the critical issues.
Marc Reed, Verizon’s executive vice president of human resources, said, “We agreed to end the strike because we believe that is in the best interest of our customers and our employees. We remain committed to our objectives, and we look forward to negotiating the important issues that are integral to the future health of Verizon’s wireline business.”
He added: “We are grateful to our management team for their leadership during the past 14 days in so ably meeting the needs of our customers. The team’s competence, dedication and hard work enabled us to withstand the strike without significant disruption to customer service, and to convince the unions to begin bargaining with us in good faith. The fortitude and efforts of our managers have proven to be our strongest point of leverage in bargaining. We are pleased that during this stressful economic period our union-represented employees will be back at work earning good wages and benefits while serving our customers.”
With its union-represented employees back at work, Verizon plans to quickly address any backlog in repairs and unfulfilled requests for service.