Two unions that represent thousands of Verizon employees say they will go on strike tomorrow morning, after negotiations have failed to produce new contracts.
Strike set to start 6AM Wednesday
The unions — the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — are planning to start the strike at 6AM ET. The disputed contracts expired in August 2015 and cover East Coast Verizon workers "from Massachusetts to Virginia," the CWA said in a statement. About 36,000 employees are affected by the dispute, according to a statement from Verizon. The CWA claims a strike of those workers will result in "by far the largest work stoppage in the country in recent years."
The dispute centers around employees in Verizon's wireline businesses, which includes home phone service as well as FiOS. The company has in recent years stepped away from that end of its business model as it focuses instead on wireless operations.
In its statement, Verizon claims that it "is fully prepared to serve its customers" if a strike happens. "We have trained thousands of non-union Verizon employees to carry out virtually every job function handled by our represented workforce — from making repairs on poles to responding to inquiries in our call centers," president of Verizon wireline operations Bob Mudge said in the statement.
Still, a strike on that scale could prove to be disruptive for some East Coast customers. In 2011, Verizon faced a similar strike of 45,000 workers that slowed company operations for two weeks.