Strike looms for Verizon employees
(07/30/03) YONKERS - A major strike by local phone company workers is looking more and more likely. On Wednesday, thousands of laid off Verizon employees were back on the job for the first time in months, but those returning workers may be joining their union in a strike this week.
The strike deadline is set for midnight Saturday. If a new contract isn't reached by then, union workers have already agreed to walk off the job. A federal mediator has been called in for talks between the Communication Workers of America and Verizon to prevent a strike, but union reps say as of now, a strike looks unavoidable.
Verizon just announced it is looking to reduce its work force by 5000 employees, but Verizon spokesman John Bonomo says the recently reinstated workers need not worry. He says the company is hopeful it won't have to lay off any employees, and that the reduction could come from "a variety of voluntary reductions, retirement, normal attrition, and other job reductions."
Union President Bob McCracken says if a strike happens, it could be a long one. Verizon says it will continue to operate if there is a job action. In 2000, workers went on strike for 15 days, creating backlogs in repairs and installations.