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A statement from President Ed Hill from the IBEW.ORG website:

Northeast Verizon Workers Strike


Company Refuses to Move off Extreme Demands and Negotiate in Good Faith

                  In the face of continued demands by Verizon for contract concessions that would take much of its unionized workforce back to 1960s levels of wages, benefits and working conditions, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America tonight went on strike.

Six weeks of negotiations between the IBEW, CWA and Verizon produced no progress as the contract covering 45,000 workers from Massachusetts to Virginia expired at the stroke of midnight.

“If Verizon had shown any good faith effort to negotiate honestly, our members would still be on the job,” said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill.  “Instead, they turned their backs on any attempts to reach a reasonable settlement.  We cannot stand by while one of the richest, most successful corporations in the world joins the race to decimate the middle class of this country. We remain ready to meet with Verizon to work out a fair agreement, but at this point, we had no choice.”

Verizon has revenues of $100 billion and net profits of $6 billion. Verizon Wireless just paid its parent company and Vodaphone a $10 billion dividend.Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg is paid 300 times what an average worker earns, and other top executives have been paid lucrative compensation packages.

The IBEW represents 12,800 workers at Verizon primarily in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey, with smaller units in Pennsylvania and upstate New York.

Below is a statement off the CWA Local 1103 website:

The current round of negotiations with Verizon has been unprecedented,

both in terms of the scope of Verizon’s attacks on the middle-class jobs
of our members, and in terms of the company’s absolute refusal to engage
in serious collective bargaining towards a new contract.
There has been absolutely no movement by the company at the table since
talks began on June 22nd. Over 100 concessionary company proposals
remain on the table. We have never seen anything like this in 50 years
of bargaining with Verizon and its corporate predecessors.
As a result, CWA and IBEW have decided to take the unprecedented step
of striking to force management to stop its Wisconsin-style tactics, and
to start bargaining in good faith.
45,000 CWA and IBEW members walked off the job at midnight to demand
that a company which made $19.5 billion and paid its top executives $258
million over the last four years start bargaining in good faith and stop
its attack on middle class jobs.
If and when the company agrees to bargain, then we will return to work and bargain until a fair agreement is reached.