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15 Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Protestors Arrested as Shareholders Meet

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ)
Verizon Communications Inc. ‘s annual shareholders meeting had dozens of uninvited guests in the form of landline workers that have been on strike since mid-April. Many people were arrested for blocking traffic. Clamping down on protesters may have been a face-saving measure for the firm. It is set to present at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in 10 days. However, it cannot afford to act complacent.
Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ)

Verizon Communications Inc. Set to Face Workers’ Angst

The tension between Verizon’s workers and top management has become more acute. On the 3rd of this month, the unions created a $400 mn fund to cover the workers sitting on strike. As per the latest reports, these workers have started receiving benefits from the fund. Around 40,000 workers are on strike since April 13, 2016. Even though Verizon’s management had offered its ‘last best offer’ to these workers, it was not welcomed by them. As per Verizon, this offer was put in front of the group of IBEW and the CWA. Both the unions rejected these offers while stating the firm’s attitude as disappointing and not serious.

Ripple Effects on All Stakeholders

Analysts feel that the duration of the strike will affect all involved, the workers, the firm and even the subscribers. CWA research director Louise Novotny stated: ‘Wages and benefits really don’t matter if we don’t have jobs.’ The union’s members are still on strike, as they consider the next steps in the negotiation process. The mobile carrier has entered its fourth week of negotiations with its workforce. Talking about the long strike, a CWA rep said: ‘We think the strike is quite strong and the people are not crossing the lines and we have not seen anything that resembles concerns by members about going back to work.’

A day before the meeting, its shareholders (including many of its workforce on strike) prepared for more than 400 protests across the country. Around 2,000 workers were expected to protest outside a Verizon Wireless store on Wall Street, New York as well.Verizon customers have started to feel the heat of the strike. As per the CWA, more than 300,000 people have shown support to workforce on strike, by signing petitions and demanding the firm to bring back the employees. As per a recent survey from YouGov, Verizon’s public opinion has reached a three-year low.

Speaking to Bidness Etc about Verizon’s efforts to bring in additional workers, assistant to the vice president for CWA-District One, Bob Master, said: ‘They cannot get the job done while our members are on a strike and I don’t think there is any doubt about that. The staff cannot do that work, they are not going to know the shortcuts, they’re not going to know the most efficient way of doing things and they’re going to run into road blocks. I think they have a very very serious problem addressing their workload without our numbers on the job.’

The firm’s workers own roughly $1.3 bn in its stock, IBEW and CWA members have also presented their recommendations to shareholders across the country, who own more than 60% of the mobile carrier’s shares.

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