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Local Workers Picket Outside Verizon Building In Chinatown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hundreds of union employees blocked a portion of Race Street outside the Verizon building this morning, demanding a new labor agreement.

The collective bargaining agreement between Verizon and its unionized workers expired Saturday at midnight.  Now, 45,000 Verizon employees are on strike after negotiations over a new union contract stalled.

“Right now the company has some proposals that are totally unacceptable,” says Terron Pinkney, Unit 1 president of the Communications Workers of America.  He says workers will be protesting at Verizon locations across the country until a new agreement is reached.

“We don’t want our work contracted out; we want to keep our union jobs,” he says.

Verizon public relations director Harry Mitchell says the current labor agreement is outdated and points to the health care provision as a primary example.

“Today, 99 percent of the people who work pay some if not all of their health care premium. The 45,000 employees represented by the unions pay nothing,” he says.

The union represents employees that service the “wire line” portion of the Verizon business.

Verizon officials say the landline portion of its business has been on the decline for years and now makes up less than 10 percent of its overall operating income.

But CWA Local 13000 president Jim Gardler says that’s misleading — that it doesn’t take into account the recent investment in FiOS — and he says the union’s been key in the success of the fiber-optics network, even helping the company get franchise agreements along the way.

“We’ll help you build the network as long as we’re part of the network, as long as we’re a part of the network,” Gardler says. “Don’t exclude us from the network.  They’ve been taking these jobs and moving them out of the country, and that’s a problem for us.”

Reported By Cherri Gregg and Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio 1060; Jericka Duncan, CBS 3

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  • diana

    Hey the reason they want you to pay more of health care cost is because the rising cost of health care. i don’t care if they company makes millions it’s not your company. you know they can give you what you want but in the long run you are forcing the company to give out pink slips and if they could find a way for the company to use overseas workers to fix the lines too you can say good bye to your job too. so i suggest that you watch what you ask for!!!!

  • anonymous

    they are not strking for more money THEY ARE STRIKING TO KEEP THE BENEFITS THEY HAVE! WHY should they work for a company whose CEO’s are making HUGE BUCKS ALONG WITH BONUSES and not strike for what they are entitled too???
    SOME of the comments I have read on here are completely ridiculous!

  • rufus levin



  • Mike

    Employees arent asking for more, in fact they aren’t asking for anything other than keeping what they negotioated for… Verizon made $16 Billion in PROFIT over two years, $16 BILLION!!! Google what their execs made in bonuses EACH, and ask if their medical benifits are being compromised Verizon Fios is doing way better than their competition, who do you think made them that $16 Billion??? thos 45,000 hard working employees

    • rufus levin


      • RJ

        Hey ROOFUSS – Where is INRON ? Somewhere near you – or in you ? I guess
        I don’t invest there, so that makes me STOOPID ?? What a joke you are –

      • Chuck Blair

        If you had half a brain you would realize exactly whats going on here !!!!! I’d take the time to try to explain it to you but I cant find my crayons to draw you a picture !!!! I hope that the company you work for fires you and hires some overseas compant to take your place, then you will know what is happening right now.

      • michelle

        my husband served our country and now works for verizon…he just trying to take care of his family, just like u buddy. how about u go to work, and have ur boss say “work for half of everything ur already getting” bet u wouldn’t like that either. it’s people like u that this economy is falling apart…the government and big companies like this r rapping u, and u don’t even care, ur just taking and saying give me more! u should stand up, and have have a back bone, and actually support the laborers…those r the ones making it possible for u to have the internet ur on writing ur comments!

  • whatsup

    greedy Verizon workers start paying something for your great benefits. We in the real world have to pay you should also.

  • Steve

    Unions in today’s times are going to fall apart just like the economy is now. people cant pay a good pay today and then you strike for more money. And the manufacturing jobs going over sees is wrong! that is why thing in the U.S. are going down hill.

  • grumpy

    Sounds like a bunch of non union cry babies jealous that unions, although not perfect, are trying to get their members a fair share of some of that corporate greed that goes untaxed!! Grow up and see through this divide and conquer mentality that is abundant from the radical right!

  • Greg

    Sad to say but copper landlines with Verizon are getting less and less every year.
    This means in years to come they wont need phone men to work on lines very much anymore. Just like the payphones are gone they wont need to be fixed or replaced anymore. For medical benefits it has been going up every year no matter where you work at. There is not much you can change about that. Good luck.

    • Chuck Blair

      Have you ever heard of FIOS ???? Do you think the Fios Fairy installs it and maintains it ? And for the record there are alot more phone lines and dsl lines than you know. I work on them every day (when not being bullied and forced to strike).

    • rich

      greg,what is sad is that verizon loses landlines but dosen’t say it’s due to people switching to fios.verizon doesn’t call fios landlines due to the fact it’s fiber’s a play on words something verizon is good for medical,when verizon workers make millions like the verizon officers i’m sure they’ll accept paying for some medical

  • Chris

    What the??????? Unions are so outdated and unneeded at this peiod in time. Back in the very early 1900’s they seemed to be appropriate. Now a day’s unions are ONLY FOR THE LAZY EMPLOYEE. Do a lot less work for more money. Verizon is a prime example. Get with the program and do an honest days work for the money you already make. I am a PROUD NON UNION WORKER and will be more then happy to do my honest days work for the money and benefits that I make. If I was on the Verizon leadership team I would vote to have ALL their work contracted out and get rid of THE GREED OF THE LAZY EMPLOYEE……

  • john

    How d move a lnd line out of the country.So what jobsare they losing over seas

    • fred

      All of the CSR jobs are moving to OVERSEAS. And, they have no idea what they talking about. They are working from scripts and keeping you at their mercy. I get the impression they hope the problems will fix themselves and you will call back and cancel the service call.

      Recently, I had a problem with my DSL connection for a week. It took 5 phone calls and 3 days speaking to “customer support” personnel in India and the Philippines before I was able to prove to them the problem was at my local Central Office. (Which I knew it was due to the nature of the problem.) Then, they put me in a que for THREE DAYS before I was to be contacted by someone from my Central Office.

      The American DSL technician arrived at my house on a Saturday and spent 5 hours working with the CO trying to get a solid DSL connection to my service box. He then came back on Monday morning and spent another two hours running new phone lines and testing equipment. I was without the DSL I was paying for for nearly a week.

      Granted, the USA tech spent a total of 7 hours my issue and he wasn’t going to leave the second time until I got what I was paying for. If I had been able to speak to a local Customer Service tech the first day, I would have had my problem fixed within a couple of days instead of a week.

      So, when you need support, it will take getting through heavy accents to get them to accept you need a Land Line technician. And, then it will take another 3 days BEFORE your service call is RELEASED to the US side of the business.

  • diana

    be glad you have a job!!!1 i know plenty of people that would love to have your jobs. stop being greedy because you have a job ,benifits so what is all the complaing about. everytime your contract is up you unions want more and more. what is your union dues going to anyway because there goes your raise if you didn’t pay union dues. stop being babys and crying.

    • barb

      Shut up and go back to work! I’ve been out of work for almost 2 years after 10+ years and $80 million in sales for a national company. I support 2 kids and my 83 year old mom, my husband died several years ago. An increase in what I’d pay for health benefits and less OT $’s sounds good right about now.
      Unions were essential 100 years ago, now I’m not so sure they are looking out for a hardworking persons livelihood.

      • Chuck Blair

        Maybe you were replaced by an automated system or your job was out sourced. Or maybe you were just a bad emplyee and thats why you dont have a job anymore !!!! Stop blaming us because of your problems !!! If you would open your eyes maybe you would see we are fighting for EVERY hard working middle class person. You should be thanking us for going without to help people like yourself. But thats ok…….you dont have to thank us !!!!!

    • fred

      You’re clueless. They’re not asking for anything more. They’re just trying to keep what they’ve already and earned over the last decade. It’s not just about health benefits either. Verizon is trying to cut other compensation including overtime on nights, weekends and holidays. The union is not making any demands, only Verizon is.

      Verizon knew they were going to be dealing with a strike because they are not negotiating in good faith. They had lined up scab workers from Texas weeks ago.

      It is the corporation that is the cause of the strike.

      Why does a corporation need concessions from 45000 workers if they’re already making a 4 billion dollar a year profit from the status quo???

    • greg

      Maybe if more people stood together as unions to tell greedy corporations that made billions in profits that they didn’t need to take money from the people that worked for them., maybe we’d have many more jobs and the people would have money to pay their mortgages. There should be more people standing together in unions.

      • Mike

        Maybe if more people who work in unions took care of and invested their hard-earned money like the owners of businesses and those who invest in them did, they might not have to stage walkouts and waste all of their time and effort.

        People who own or who sit on the boards of these “greedy” billion dollar companies invest their own money in that business, money that they worked hard for. Some of them, when they started out, worked hourly wage jobs, and worked hard enough to climb out of their poverty and start their own businesses – only to have union thugs who have NO ambition in life attempt to extort exorbitant wages and benefits from them by threatening violence.

        Most of the wealth in this country comes from hard work!

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