Verizon prepares strike readiness plans

Rich Young
T. 202.515.2514
Federal mediators offer assistance in settling dispute; Verizon agrees

NEW YORK – After more than a year of intense preparations, Verizon’s strike readiness team has been fully activated and is ready for a threatened union leadership driven strike or other job action, potentially as soon as tomorrow morning.

“Let’s make it clear – we are ready for a strike,” said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon’s wireline network operations. “With any sort of job action or disruption to our business, our primary goal is to ensure our customers can count on the critical communications services that they pay for and we provide.  I want them to know that will happen.”

In the meantime, Verizon was approached by the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS).   FMCS asked if the Company would be willing to mediate if the unions extend the strike deadline. The company informed the FMCS that as part of Verizon’s continuing efforts to reach new contracts, it’s willing to participate in mediation under similar terms to those the parties used in their last federal mediation in 2012.  In 2012, agreements between Verizon and these unions were ultimately achieved through mediation conducted under the auspices of FMCS.  At this time, however, Verizon has not heard if union leaders are willing to submit to mediation and extend the deadline for a strike.

Without firm plans to mediate and delay a strike, the company is moving forward and is getting ready for a job action.

“Verizon’s strike readiness teams have been preparing for a strike since early 2015,” said Mudge. “We look at every area of the business, from network operations to call center management, to ensure we have the tools, the skills and the people ready to step-in for this union leadership driven job action.”

Preparations include:

  • The training of thousands of non-union employees to fill-in for those walking a picket line. 
  • Employees will be reassigned from all parts of the U.S. and all parts of the business including finance, marketing, real estate, engineering and more.
  • Duties include handling customer inquiries, inside and outside network plant management, fiber and copper network maintenance and repair, both on the ground and on our poles.

“Since last spring, many of these employees took part in extensive network training sessions at a high-tech, custom designed business continuity training center in Northern Virginia, created especially for this potential event. They know our first priority is maintaining services for our customers and they have taken on this challenge with pride.”

With advancements in technology, many issues can now be handled remotely using new technologies available on the support pages on the Verizon website. If someone needs to talk to a representative live about an issue, teams of additional non-union Verizon employees will be deployed to handle customer needs.

“We know a strike driven by union leaders will pose challenges for both of our union-represented employees and those asked to temporarily fill-in,” said Tami Erwin, Verizon’s group president of Verizon’s consumer and mass business unit.  “We have, however, a commitment to enable our customers to make connections wherever and whenever they want.  At the same time, we’re also committed to ensuring any new contract with our unions will help keep our wireline business moving forward on a path toward success.” For more information about the current labor situation, the company has set-up a special website: www.verizon.com/laborfacts.