Monday, August 15, 2011

How the Verizon Strike Will Affect You

I found out about the Verizon strike when I called last week to ask a question about my landline bill. A message stated that the wait time could take up to 15 minutes due to the strike. I got tired of waiting and decided to call back later. I asked a few friends if they heard about the strike and they had not.

This is Verizon’s’ first strike in 11 years. The Verizon strike begun due to talks with union workers that failed on August 6, 2011. Verizon has 195,500 employees and approximately 135,000 are non-union employees.

Union employees do not pay for health insurance premiums. Verizon is proposing: union employees pay a portion of their health insurance premiums similar to the plan for non-union employees, tie pay increases to performance reviews, eliminate the sickness and death benefit program, cut in half the sickness disability benefits from 52 weeks to 26 weeks and reduce sick time.

Verizon is proposing the new terms for employees due to the continued decline in revenue in landline services and increased use of cell phones. Union employees state that Verizon wants to eliminate their pension plans, health insurance and reduce their pay.

The strike affects all landline customers, FIOS and internet customers but does not affect its wireless customers. Verizon makes some of its revenue from its non-wireless customers since landlines are still largely used throughout the country. To compensate for the strike, Verizon may raise rates for existing customers to offset any losses. Local phone service is still one of the most profitable services in America. Verizon overall is performing well and earns a profit every year.

Verizon has not addressed the continued decline in customer service over the past few years. Verizon has reduced spending in construction, networks and staff but has not increased funding in customer service. However, Verizon has continued to pay high compensation to executive staff who are paid hundreds of millions of dollars each year plus perks.

In some states Verizon offices are closed on Sundays. Verizon uses a third party company to accept customer credit card payments. FIOS and DSL are not available to every customer that requests it, although Verizon promised the government that it would upgrade all of its customers to fiber optic service.

The reduced spending affects Verizon’s network, maintenance needs, work orders and monitoring of existing customer services and infrastructure. The reduced spending affects customers by:

1. Possible network outages to public safety services such as 911 and local non-emergency services such as 311, 511 or 611. This would result in delays for public health, safety and security requests and customer services.

2. Decline in the quality of phone and internet services provided to customers.

3. Decrease in competition and revenue for Verizon competitors and resellers.

4. Possible reduction in community outreach efforts and initiatives to help low-income customers and small businesses.

5. Delays in fulfilling work orders due to reduced staff and aging infrastructure.

Verizon is pitting non-union employees against union employees causing a rift. According to union workers, some non-union employees tried to run their cars over union employees protesting. Some employees picketing stated the strike could last months.

Customers should demand that service for Verizon customers in America should be provided by Americans workers, demand upgrades to Verizon networks, improve customer service, provide cost effective services for individuals and businesses, stop increasing rates, hire additional staff, eliminate deregulation to allow competition with other companies and provide 24 x 7 service.

It appears that Verizon does not have the ability to remain competitive and reinvest itself by revising its company business model like McDonalds, Nike, Apple and other companies who saw the market changing and were able to adjust.


Anonymous said...

Here's how the Verizon strike will affect me. Not directly from a financial perspective, but more of a "reality of life" perspective.

I no longer have a dial tone and won't get one for two more weeks if I am lucky. I can't afford a cell phone that would give me a signal where I live. God forbid my 84 year old ill mother has a medical emergency or a fire breaks out at our rural home.

I don't care about Verizon nor do I care about the union workers who have their hands out wanting more and more, no different than Verizon itself except to say they are worse as I truly believe they are the reason I have no phone line. So my anger is directed at them and I hope hell freezes over before Verizon gives them another penny and for that reason alone.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

no dial tone either x 4 - it's hard enough trying to run a business in this this? I can't even contact my customers and potential customers because cell phones don't work where I live either. I didn't even know about the strike until I called this AM...why did I pay my phone bill again??? This is ridiculous! Will I/we be reimbursed for days with no services? Fingers crossed Verizon will show up on Friday - their earliest available appt in my area???

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