The Communications Workers of America charged Friday that Verizon has violated federal labor laws by not bargaining in good faith during negotiations to hammer out a new labor contract between the union and the telecommunications provider. Verizon has filed similar claims against the union.
The CWA said it had filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board in Baltimore and New York. About 45,000 Verizon workers, 35,000 of which belong to the CWA while the rest are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, have been on strike since Sunday.
Verizon has called for cuts in health care benefits and other concessions that it says are necessary to stay competitive with cable companies that do not have similar contracts with their workers.
"Since the first day of negotiations, through contract expiration and even today, Verizon management has demanded the same $1 billion in concessions from its 45,000 workers," CWA Communications Director Candice Johnson said in a statement. "These demands would cost every family $20,000 a year. This is unacceptable from a company that is among the 10 wealthiest in America."
In the last day, Verizon filed its own charges against the CWA, claiming the union also is not negotiating in good faith, Verizon spokesman Edward McFadden said.
"Despite the inaccurate hyperbole on the part of the union, discussions between the two sides continue," he said.
The strike has gotten tense. While not directly fingering the CWA, Verizon says its crews have encountered more than 100 acts of sabotage in the last week against the company's network facilities -- more than 100 times what it might normally see, which have led to short service outages.