To The Editor,
Much of the rhetoric surrounding the current work stoppage by 45,000 Verizon workers has repeatedly stressed that the company’s proposals would push its unionized workforce out of the middle class. However, this rhetoric is not consistent with reality. Verizon is proposing modest changes that would still ensure an employee pay and benefits package near the top of those offered by comparable companies. For example, Verizon is asking its unionized workforce to make the same contributions to their health care premiums that the company’s 135,000 non-union employees already make – as little as $1,380 a year for family coverage.
These changes are necessary to help keep Verizon’s wireline business competitive. Since 2003, the company’s traditional landline phone service has shrunk from more than 55 million connections to just under 25 million. Yet many aspects of the current union contract were written in the rotary phone era. But if the unions recognize these realities and work with the company to help make meaningful changes to its cost structure, the wireline business can become a growing successful business once again. And a successful business is the best form of job security.
Verizon’s union workers are worried about preserving their middle-class status. With technician salaries averaging $91,000 including overtime in the New York metro area and $54,000 in combined benefits, these are some of the best middle class jobs out there. Verizon’s proposal ensures that they will remain just that.
Manager, Media Relations – Verizon Communications