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45,000 Verizon Workers On Strike Over New Contract

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the your-call-is-very-important-to-us-please-hold dept.

Communications 317

Trouble with your landline? If you have Verizon, especially on the east coast, it might not be the best time to have it fixed; The Daily Mail reports that "Forty-five thousand Verizon workers from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., are on the picket line Sunday as labour contract talks fizzled. More than a fifth of the wireless giant's work force has gone on strike as contract negotiations for the wireline division broke down last night."

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317 comments

A strike? Oh, No! (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015848)

What impact will this have on Verizon's legendary customer service?

Re:A strike? Oh, No! (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015890)

What impact will this have on Verizon's legendary customer service?

It'll improve because during the interminably long hold times, more customers will solve the problem on their own, rather than be given the wrong answer.

Re:A strike? Oh, No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015894)

Given that it's going from bad to nonexistent, I'd say that may be an improvement.

Thank you for calling Verizon (4, Funny)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015896)

Thank you for calling Verizon. To go to the main menu, press 1. To exit this menu and go to the main menu, press 2. To return to the main menu, press 3. To hear these options again, press 4.

4

Goodbye.

Re:Thank you for calling Verizon (4, Insightful)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016158)

better than this honest example from T-Mobile customer service.....

IVR: "Please tell me what youre calling about in your own words"
ME: "Billing"
IVR: "I didnt understand your request. Im going to disconnect this call, and you can try again later"

I also tried "representative", "account" ,"help" and "support." I eventually got to a person who transferred me to the right department. and then the real fun started.....I asked the rep about a service plan and whether or not it was a flat rate or it included other taxes and fees. She told me i would have to ask an in-store rep for the answer.

Re:Thank you for calling Verizon (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016216)

Not sure if it's the same in the USA, but in the UK there's a very easy way of getting put through to the one person in the call centre who can actually sort out your problem, which works with all of the mobile carriers:

Hello, I'm calling to cancel my contract.

Re:Thank you for calling Verizon (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016322)

Hello, I'm calling to cancel my contract.

...And get hit with a $200 early termination fee in the U.S.

Re:Thank you for calling Verizon (2)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016356)

The GP's point is that saying that to the automated system is about the most guaranteed way to get to speak to an actual person, instead of trying to appease the voice activated command line whose list of commands are terribly documented. Presumably the GP isn't intending to actually cancel the contract, the idea is that companies don't jerk around with customers intending to cancel, and will immediately forward the customer to a live person whose job is to avoid having the customer cancel their service.

Re:Thank you for calling Verizon (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016534)

Sometimes works here. As did the old just enter rubbish in the tone menu until it dumped you to a rep. Unfortunately more and more companies are deciding they really don't need the customers who want to talk to someone. It's gotten to the point that even when you want to cancel a contract or have a repair you can't get anyone. I have one friend who just refused to pay his bill until they cancelled his service and then when they called him over his billing he paid the difference and told them to cancel it. The next month they called because they kept the service going after he told them to cancel it but didn't have a credit card on file to charge the non-existant service to. It's become almost criminal how companies act...at least the mob keeps your shop from burning down when they extort you.

Re:Thank you for calling Verizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016898)

In the US that only gets you a *large* early termination fee. I think they make more money if you cancel than if you don't.

Re:Thank you for calling Verizon (2)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016708)

She told me i would have to ask an in-store rep for the answer.

The call center monkeys aren't going to have access to all the state and local taxes that may apply. Not that they couldn't, I suppose, but they don't.

Re:Thank you for calling Verizon (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 2 years ago | (#37017006)

The question was simple flat rate or no. For example, Boost Mobile(Sprint/Nextel) has a $50 plan that's just that.....$50. This differs from the more traditional $50 + tax and fees. Additionally, she wasnt your typical billing or support drone. The person who transfered me to her said she was their "Unlimited4G promotion representative" To me that implies sales knowlege of the service.

Re:A strike? Oh, No! (0)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015914)

Problem with these strikes is not that workers stop working - that wouldn't be a problem unless you needed them, which you typically don't.

Problem is that often they break things so you notice their absence faster.

Re:A strike? Oh, No! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016804)

Problem is that often they break things so you notice their absence faster.

And that's different from the normal operation... how?

Re:A strike? Oh, No! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016192)

What impact will this have on Verizon's legendarily bad customer service?

Fixed that for ya. ;)

Re:A strike? Oh, No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37017132)

None. Actually only 450 Verizon workers are going on strike. They can't do math.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2isSJKntbg

I will complain! (4, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015866)

Someone will hear about this, Verizon! I dema [Closing Link: tech.slashdot.com (Disconnected from server.)]

Re:I will complain! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015966)

Someone will hear about this, Verizon! I dema [Closing Link: tech.slashdot.com (Disconnected from server.)]

tech.slashdot.org*

In other news, (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015868)

In other, totally unrelated news, Verizon reported a 6.3% earnings jump from last year at this time. Of course, since Verizon has less free spending money and has invested in their hopelessly out of date network to remain competitive with the 3rd world... they decided to cut labor and give themselves raises for being so smart!

Re:In other news, (2)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015952)

> remain competitive with the 3rd world

They can't really compete with the 3rd world in quality, so they're trying their best to compete in wages.

Re:In other news, (4, Informative)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016136)

sweetheart as a veteran of the phone industry the rest of the developed words phone companies does consider the US third world

Re:In other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016664)

As someone who has been in the third world, I can say that the USA's phone network, while not on par with say Japan, is light-years ahead of the actual third world. Your hyperbole is offensive to those in the 3rd world who actually lack what we take for granted here.

Re:In other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016704)

Iraq has some pretty sweet super robust nationwide 4G networks now. America's problem is that America is a generous little asshole.

Re:In other news, (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016826)

...and we're generous because of a no-bid contract to some rich campaign donor, right?

Those disgusting proles! (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015876)

How dare they let their petty concerns over whether they get a pittance or a laughable pittance from Verizon's bloated coffers interfere with my right to vapid chatter?

Re:Those disgusting proles! (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016076)

the article is 'surprisingly' short on details about WHY the workers are on strike.

you can bet they have a good reason. and the fact that media does not report news anymore when its the little guy who gets stomped by big business..

I've been on the receiving side of having wages cut, benefits cut and then my job cut. I can look and see the middle class eroding before my own eyes. I can fully believe 'big wireless' is being greedy and forcing workers to settle for less and less over time.

why isn't this reported?

you know why. the real truth is not what media co's want coming out. its actually too unsettling to report this level of truth in the world.

I've been a fan of unions, recently. I see a lot of parallels between the days of woody guthrie and today. big companies are owning your ass and getting you to settle for less and less, all the while getting richer and richer. study history, its a 100% repeat of the early part of the 1900's in the US. listen to the pro-union and pro-labor songs (folk songs) and imagine them being sung today. they fit like a glove.

we need unions back. and we need most of the workers to admit this and force companies to stop stealing OUR hard earned wealth.

capitalism - in its current state - is a failure. look all around you. we need something better. what's it going to take before everyone realizes that? how much worse does it have to get?

Re:Those disgusting proles! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016180)

capitalism - in its current state - is a failure. look all around you.

*looking around*

Yup, looks good. We have money in the bank, and our currency is so strong you could bounce an oil tanker off it. The unemployment rate is at an all-time low. People are starting businesses right and left. Most of them will not make it, but such is life. Crime is low, even for a country that ranks fourth when it comes to gun ownership.

Then again, we have sensible taxes, and we are not being overrun by teabaggers. We don't start wars that drain our coffers every decade or so.

The country would be Norway, which I understand is usually referred to as "communist" at your end of the pond. How are the republicans working out for you guys?

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016246)

According to the Republicans, all of our problems are the Democrat's fault. The current dismal state of the economy has nothing to do with the policies since 2000, and everything to do with Obama.

The "liberal media" echos this sentiment, so it must be true, right?

Re:Those disgusting proles! (1, Insightful)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016400)

...And according to the Democrats, all of our problems are the Republicans' fault.

Ultimately, the problem is career politicians. No one in D.C. is willing to forego a re-election in order to make unpopular decisions that are ultimately for the good of the country.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (3, Insightful)

pipelayerification (1707222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016454)

As I look around I see tea partiers trying to lower the oppressive tax burden that is stifling business and employment. I see a currency that has been driven into the ground by Liberal Keynsian economic philosophy in action (government stimulus will save the economy, to get money for government stimulus we will take the money from those who make up the economic engine of the country. Then we take 25% of that money for administrative costs of a bloated and corrupt government and send the rest to out favorite causes, political boondoggles, and contributors and call it "shovel ready projects". Presto, we made 25% disappear completely and the rest went to people we really care about like the SEIU. Huh, wierd. The economy is getting worse. Obviously we didn't take enough money out of the economy to give it back to the economy. That must be because of the evil Republicans trying to get us to quit spending the money we confiscated plus the money we borrowed from China. Oh well, blame the rich people. Oh crap, they where the ones who donated to our election campaigns in 2008. That's strange, they get mad when you blame them and start talking about taking their money away. Then they put it in the bank instead of investing in things that create jobs. Must be those evil tea partiers talking them into it. Guess well have to borrow more money from China. Oh wait, that lowers our credit rating. Stupid bond rating agencies fault now. That's weird because they voted for us too. Oh well, back to basics. Must be Bush's fault. Even though the president can't spend a dime without a spending bill that originates in the house which Democrats controlled from 2007 on. That really weird. The economy started tanking right after Dems took control of the nations spending. I give up. This just isn't working like we planned)

Re:Those disgusting proles! (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016732)

"oppressive tax burden" - I stopped reading right there.

Don't let facts get in the way of your tea bagger talking points.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016746)

This isn't a Keynsian problem. The debt problem is missiles and Geitner's QE2 fiasco, make the rich richer and the poor glad they aren't those poors over there.

Falsehood detected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016772)

Yeah, money spent by the government, it disappears completely. Wait, no it doesn't. Just seeing you make such a blatantly false statement discredits everything else you said.

In reality, the money spent by the government pays back, whether it be in the salaries of workers (who engage in commerce of their own), direct benefits such as highway infrastructure or park creation that actually increases economic activity, or fire and police who prevent harm from coming to numerous others.

But no, you think it just disappears. What, do they just burn it? You may argue that it's not beneficial, or not effective, but don't try to serve such a load of BS on us.

So yeah, you are either deliberately lying, or just so misinformed that nothing else you say is of merit.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (-1, Troll)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016874)

Ok, now we know what's wrong, but how do you plan to make it better? By cutting taxes 'til government can't do jack anymore?

Oh, that's surely going to fix the economy! Dunno how, but it must, right?

Re:Those disgusting proles! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016984)

Here are questions that need to be answered before we pick a trajectory and dismantle everything:

1) Is a strong currency even desirable? China has a very weak currency compared to the dollar, for instance.

2) What does borrowing money mean when it is payed back over enormous time scales, given inflation and fluctuating exchange rates? Hint: China isn't lending us money as a favor, they are doing it to manipulate the exchange rate between their currency and ours.

3) What is government for? What would you like it to do? I see a growing number of people who want to completely dismantle government and put as much money as they can into their pocket. Well, do you like paved roads? Do you like "free" education? These are things that you either pay for in taxes or you pay directly from your wallet.

4) Why is gun ownership such a desirable thing? If you honestly believe you require a weapon on you for personal protection, it means that we are risking societal collapse as two strangers have to worry about the other one attacking them. Not only that, but that no one will come to help them. This is an admission that there is a failure at the local government level (police), that these people exist at all (failure of education and prison system).

5) Why is it important that the US maintain a military large enough to handle two gulf war type wars on two different coasts, at the same time. Are we anticipating world war 3? The terrorists don't even have an air force, let alone a navy.

6) As a species, what is our goal. If the goal is simply to produce more crap next year than last and make sure everyone has twice as many TVs and SUVs, well then, maybe we aren't much brighter than any other primate.

I've always wondered if this is what monarchs worried about, when democracies were being formed. You essentially have peasants, poorly educated, superstitious and generally ignorant, now making decisions about the direction of the state, decisions once made by kings.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (2)

btalbot (2427646) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016634)

Since when does capitalism include legal tender, heavily regulated media, medicine, food, healthcare, communications, taxes, housing, and [insert industry here]?

The U.S. is not a capitalist nation.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016346)

we need unions back. and we need most of the workers to admit this and force companies to stop stealing OUR hard earned wealth.

*shakes head*

a) Unions are still here, they never left.

b) The quality of life in American has never been so good. Poor* people with smart phones? Check. Poor* people with big screen HD TV's? Check. Poor* people owning cars? check. * (Poor as classified by the government's standard and more so by POTUS's claims)

c) Entitlement mentality has never been so high. Just look at your own statements.

d) We don't really have capitalism right now. Things are far to regulated and governed for that. It's a wolf in capitalism's clothing.

e) The US entered a recession and all Keynesian attempts to pull it out of by having the government spend trillions of dollars for make work, dig-a-hole-and-fill-it-back-in jobs have proven to be a failure by the fact that we're STILL facing over 9% unemployment and the US credit rating was downgraded thanks to said "economic policy" of massive debt spending. You can thank your lost job on the fact that our economy is still sluggish and you can thank socialism, not capitalism for that.

f) Unions are a major cause for over-seas outsourcing. We need unions "back" as much as we need a hole in the head. You can look at the state of Wisconsin and see some major examples in: Kohler Co., Harley Davidson, Mercury Marine, Thomas Industries, and more of how these companies are being driving into the ground by private unions.

The same state can be looked up on by how public unions have driven the economics of the state into the ground. Over $3 billion dollar deficit has been turned into a surplus because of the limiting of public unions power. As proof positive of Unions anti-jobs agenda, look at Milwaukee public schools. Refusing to save hundreds of teachers jobs by agreeing to pay a little more in benefits. Teachers who are easily making $50-100K+ a year plus good benefits (ie. not even close to poor) continue to claim their poor and refuse to save the jobs but continue to tough "share the wealth" slogans as only hypocrites can do.

 

No, we don't need unions back. We need government back. Back in the hands of the people. Back in the hands of businessmen, teachers, accountants, creative designers, etc. Not lawyers, lawyers, and lawyers. Not in the hands of multi-millionaires who have no understanding of the real world.

Maybe then we can get tax reform. A simplified tax code so everyone knows exactly how much tax to and no tax deductions that cause the "this company paid no taxes" headlines.

Maybe then we can get tort reform for healthcare to start dropping the cost of healthcare and end this sickening and stupid discussion of who should pay for it that does nothing to solve the real problem.

Maybe then we can get term limits on congress so career politics will be no more. No more motivation for re-election. Decisions can be made on merit, not party policy. A party system that shovels out re-election money to make people vote in their favour, even if it's against the best interest of the country.

And much much more, but there's too many topics and not enough time.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016464)

I bet if you do a survey of the occupations of members of Congress throughout history that Government was always in the hands of the lawyers.

Also, Union representation has been dropping, so while Unions remain, their effectiveness has been limited. And the problem with the stimulus was that it was too small, it's like throwing a bucket of water on a large fire. So the fire didn't go out...does that mean you should stop and not get another bucket?

Don't even get me started on how misinformed you are about the public schools in Wisconsin, or the industry there, which has done its best to take advantage of having Herr Walker in command. He's given away billions in Wisconsin's assets for what? It'll be worse than you think.

remove healthcare from all jobs and make it be it' (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016612)

remove healthcare from all jobs and make it be it's own like personal car insurance

Re:Those disgusting proles! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016416)

we need unions back. and we need most of the workers to admit this and force companies to stop stealing OUR hard earned wealth.

I totally agree, we need strong unions for a functioning, for everybody functioning, economy. But, it will not happen in these USA. Our daughter just got laid off, due to illness, unthinkable in other countries. She still holds anti-union views.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016472)

Management wants workers on landlines to pay part of the healthcare costs. The workers say "you're making money hand over fist, we've been postponing or giving up cost-of-living increases, cutting staff to the bone so we're overworked, and now you want to take away one of the remaining *good* job benefits" And they couldn't settle it in contract talks, so the contract has expired.

Frankly, Verizon could simply replace every manager who's every tried to plan the "big picture" with a coin to flip for the same decision making and come out so far ahead they could lower rates *and* protect their union worker's health care.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0, Troll)

LibRT (1966204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016520)

Unions are on their deathbed for a damn good reason: they don't benefit companies, and they don't benefit union members. The only party they benefit are union administrators. What they ultimately are, and what their single purpose is, is (what should be an illegal) restraint of the free trade of labor.

Does someone have a gun to your head forcing you to work at these places you're complaining about? If you don't like it, find another job or start your own company. If you lack the marketable skills to do either of those, suck it up or go work for the government, the only part of the economy which retains a significant union workforce (US: 36.8% vs 7.6% in the private sector, with predictable results).

Also, I don't understand how "'big wireless' is being greedy and forcing workers to settle for less and less over time" - don't union members agree to settlement offers?

Grow a pair and learn to compete!

Re:Those disgusting proles! (5, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016586)

Does someone have a gun to your head forcing you to work at these places you're complaining about? If you don't like it, find another job or start your own company

figuratively yes, people need their jobs far more than employers need an individual worker


I would go along with your idea to ban organized labor as long as we ban organized capital (corporations) as well. Corporations are an abomination against nature, a legal entity which exists on paper but for which nobody is responsible.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (1)

LibRT (1966204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016974)

"people need their jobs far more than employers need an individual worker"

I disagree with this statement, and all you need to look at to prove it isn't correct is the fact that the overwhelming majority of jobs pay more than minimum wage. This means that companies willingly pay more than they are legally obligated to in order to obtain their labor force. They also willingly provide additional vacation time beyond that legally mandated and health and dental benefits and a variety of other perks. They don't have to do any of this, legally. They have to do these things because they need employees more than the employees need them. If that wasn't the case, all companies would pay minimum wage and be turning away scores of applicants. Does this mean companies are altruistic? Certainly not! It simply means that competitive market pressures create more favourable results than any law will (or, for that matter, any union will).

As to your point about banning corporations as a legal entity, I tend to agree with you. The only real point of a "corporation", and the reason they were created, was to absolve owners (ie shareholders) of legal responsibility for the actions of the corporation, thus allowing widespread share ownership among people who do not have an active interest in managing the corporation or otherwise being held accountable, and in the process opening up an ocean of capital to companies.

Note, however, that the legal fiction of "corporations" is not the flip-side of unions: the opposite of a union would be if it was legal for competiting companies to collude with each other to fix the wages they will pay to employees, something which is already (rightfully) illegal.

In all cases, unions act for the benefit of the few to the detriment of the many.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37017088)

Unions is supposed to represent the few members of it, that is their job, and doing otherwise would be as criminal as a lawyer not representing their clients properly, or an elected politician not representing the interests of their district.

Unions are not supposed to be impartial, that's the wrong way to do things.

And you're mistaken about jobs, there is a threshold where things do get to low, but that doesn't mean there is no pressure, just that is swings both ways.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016842)

If you don't like it, find another job or start your own company.

Yo, I just started a new communications company to compete with Verizon. I call it Can2Can or C2C. I only have one subscriber, but my rates are low and building my infrastructure requires only recyclable materials. Namely: twine and tin cans.

Care to sign up?

Seriously though. You must be a wealthy shill. Suggesting us lowly serfs compete with you Lords, as you rightfully know, would be a futile endeavor.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016962)

Yes, people are pressured into having a job because there are bills to pay. So, figuratively speaking, a gun is pointing at their head, with the more or less direct threat to suck it up or be spat out.

The employment market favors the employer. For everyone working at a job, 10 are waiting for him to get fired. Do you think it is a good idea to let corporations dictate salaries? If so, we'll end up where we were at the beginning of the industrial revolution. People will work 16 hours and more for an income that barely allows them to survive. But why not go one step further, have employers pay people in their own currency, only valid in the company stores. Again, don't like it? Get lost, I find someone who does!

Healthcare? What for, the moment you get sick I fire you and hire someone healthy. You might come back when you've recovered, maybe we'll have a job for you by then again. Retirement? What do I care how you survive when you're old, care to tell me that? You're not going to produce for me by then, so why should I be responsible for it? Vacation? What do you want vacation for? And what would you wanna do in your vacation, you won't have the money to go anywhere, already forgotten that I pay you with company money that's worth jack shit anywhere but here?

I'd have so many great ideas to borrow from the good ol' days...

Re:Those disgusting proles! (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016550)

Labor is not portrayed fairly in the media because a large group of manufacturers got together and agreed to pull ads from newspapers which cover unions positively

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016578)

Citation needed.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016640)

why isn't this reported?

Because, contrary to popular mythology, the media lean to the right [fair.org] . (It's only gotten worse since 1998.)

Like educated, urban populations in general, journalists tend to be socially liberal -- socially conservative positions are almost always the product of poor education, or of parochial views resulting from a narrow experience of the world. But on economic issues, the media leans right.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016728)

you can bet they have a good reason

Simple. They want more money for doing the same job in an economy where more drones are happy to have regular income. If they don't like their package, they care quit and work elsewhere, or just quit and fuck off.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016868)

The problem with then vs now is that stuff DOES NOT NEED to be made within the US anymore, and because of that, people with a moderate intelligence are going to other jobs rather than working on the assembly line. Strikers in the 1900's had the benefit that the ports and ships were smaller and more expensive, the roads were crap, very few people had education, and communications took months. Now, we have huge ships, good roads, relatively educated people and instant communication. What do you think is going to happen? You're not only fighting other employees in the US, but automation and people from lower cost countries. By definition the middle class is still here (and shrinking), but the definition of what it takes to be in that class is changing. Change is happening, and the average American worker will be making less for doing the same or more jobs.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016986)

I've been a fan of unions, recently. I see a lot of parallels between the days of woody guthrie and today. big companies are owning your ass and getting you to settle for less and less, all the while getting richer and richer. study history, its a 100% repeat of the early part of the 1900's in the US. listen to the pro-union and pro-labor songs (folk songs) and imagine them being sung today. they fit like a glove.

we need unions back.

What a complete steaming pile. Union's huh? Yeah we need companies like Verizon to follow in the footsteps of freaking too-big-to-fail GM, with their overpaid job banking UAW bullshit.

Here's a clue, why don't these government job wannabes get off their ass and realize that pulling cable and crimping coax doesn't take a rocket scientist, and blue collar jobs have (shock and horror) blue collar benefits.

Re:Those disgusting proles! (0)

atriusofbricia (686672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016496)

How dare they let their petty concerns over whether they get a pittance or a laughable pittance from Verizon's bloated coffers interfere with my right to vapid chatter?

I thought about feeling bad for poor little union people getting screwed over by the big bad company until I got to this line in the article:

"The company said union employees contribute nothing to their health care premiums."

At that point my thoughts switched from "maybe there's a good reason for them striking?" to "Oh, silly me. Union. Fuck them."

Oh darn, they may have to contribute to their health care premiums? Oh noes!!11!!!

Welcome to the real world.

Admittedly the article is light on other details. That being said, I am a little tired of Union employees acting like they're getting totally screwed over when they're benefits are so high to begin with.

Aren't Landlines Getting Antiquated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015888)

I mean doesn't VOIP essentially make them pointless now? Nevermind cell service. They should retask the whole division and fold them into the FiOS service personnel.

Re:Aren't Landlines Getting Antiquated? (1)

srepetsk (1236556) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015950)

To a certain extent, but not all that far. A fair amount of POTS calls hit the Internet when they get to the local/regional call center. VOIP (from my understanding) mostly really only matters between the Verizon substation and your home.

Re:Aren't Landlines Getting Antiquated? (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016438)

Yes, except I can't get FiOS where I live, so Verizon can't get me VoIP if they wanted to. Even if they did, I'd be hesitant to sign up for one reason:

Land lines are among the most heavily regulated, heavily redundant services provided. The northeastern US had a three day long blackout in 2003. Awesome time, actually (except the driving; none of the traffic lights worked). Between the time the power went out and the time it came back, I never lost a dial tone. I remember reading somewhere that the PSTN has nine nines of reliability (99.9999999% uptime). Not even the power grid can match that.

So yes, I'm a bit trigger shy at the thought of moving to a fiber optic system that has a 6 hour UPS installed, when the advantages are minimal over the PSTN on my side of the demarc.

The Coming Big, Bloody Class War (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015910)

...will not be between Black and White, or White and Hispanic, or even Rich and Poor. It will be between those who get pensions and employer-provided healthcare and those who don't.

Re:The Coming Big, Bloody Class War (5, Interesting)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016434)

No, it has been between Rich and Poor, although the Poor are getting stomped, as much as the Rich might want us all to believe otherwise. If you look at the last 20 years, the vast majority if the *new wealth* which has been created has been concentrated in the hands of the top 0.1% of the population. That's where all the money has gone, not towards social security, not towards Cadillac health insurance for people with jobs in manufacturing. Where is the money to provide pensions and health-care to the share of the population who doesn't have it? It's sitting in Bill f-ing Gates bank account, that's where it is.

  There's a plate with 12 cookies on it, a rich guy, a teacher and a regular working Joe.

  The rich guy takes 11 of the cookies, leans over to Joe, and says "I'd watch out, I think the teacher is trying to steal your cookie."

Re:The Coming Big, Bloody Class War (0)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016838)

...which is only because the teabaggers (who aren't unionized) are told so, and are too unsophisticated to know when they're being had.

Another propaganda coup by Murdoch.

Re:The Coming Big, Bloody Class War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016888)

That is pretty much exactly the dividing line between proletariat and bourgoise. The people who are valued members of an organization who are not expendable, versus the people who are merely trainable replaceable parts.

Verizon and their union learning from Congress? (0, Flamebait)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015940)

Seems like Congress has set a splendid example for the country!

NEVER compromise, NEVER listen to reason, NEVER allow the rich to lose a dime for the benefit of the middle or lower class?

--PeterM

Re:Verizon and their union learning from Congress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016040)

Maybe once we get past this entire 'money is a solution' attitude in the states we can make some progress. Not to say that the rich should be sheltered from doing their part but we spend a great deal of money in this country on problems which have no monetary solution. Maybe we need to be a bit more creative in our thinking and see if we can do more with less for once.

Re:Verizon and their union learning from Congress? (1)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016118)

"We", kimosabe? Lots of problems have monetary solutions, if you are willing to spend enough money. Surely, you have heard of the free market. Do you really expect to attract hardworking, talented people, if you don't compensate them properly? Conversely, if you pay peanuts, why are you so surprised when you get monkeys?

Hell Yes! (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015972)

I'll say up front, I don't know if the workers are striking because they don't have gold-trimmed toilet seats or their vacation benefits are being cut, but I don't really care. After seeing workers getting shafted in all sorts of industries, I'm quite happy to see at least one group of workers showing the middle finger to the execs.

Unfortunately, my family uses Verizon wireless, but I wasn't going to call customer service any time soon.

so let's make the work 39.9 hours a week with no (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016150)

sick time
time off
health plan

not only that let's go fedex and make then have to buy / rent the tuck and pay all costs even gas and repairs.
make them have to buy there own tools, cable and more.

Re:so let's make the work 39.9 hours a week with n (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016418)

Years ago, a UPS driver who was our "regular" guy told me that the drivers had to pay for scratches and damages to the trucks. That's one anecdote and I never verified it. So UPS already has been shafting their drivers.

Re:so let's make the work 39.9 hours a week with n (2)

gcatullus (810326) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016720)

Depending on the union contract UPS drivers have to pay for damages to their trucks, but the UPS drivers also get things like the ability to retire with a full pension and health insurance after 20 years. Now this just changed and they added that you had to be older than 57 to retire. I just had a conversation with a guy griping that he had to wait another 10 years to retire. He thought that was just not fair, I mean he was 45 and had 18 years. But he said it wasn't all bad, because he had 8 weeks of vacation a year.

Re:Hell Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016162)

Don't worry. Verizon Wireless isn't union (at least not yet). Verizon is and that's who is striking.

Re:Hell Yes! (4, Interesting)

ffejie (779512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016248)

Unfortunately, my family uses Verizon wireless, but I wasn't going to call customer service any time soon.

Verizon Wireless is not affected - they're non union and a different company from Verizon Telecom, jointly owned by Verizon Communications (55%) and Vodaphone (45%). The level of disinformation happening in this Slashdot discussion far exceeds the normal level.

Re:Hell Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016972)

That's pretty funny because I single handidly installed numerous T1's and Fibre circuits to every known cell carrier including VZW. You know, up in the North East August is pretty notorious for monster Thunderstorms that wreak Havoc on those giant Lightning rods known as cell towers. Your right VZW will not be affected....: )

Re:Hell Yes! (5, Informative)

Fireshadow (632041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016362)

Verizon wants 100 concessions from their union employees. Even though Verizon’s top five executives received compensation of $258 million over the past four years (1), Verizon wants to freeze pensions for current employees. Also eliminate traditional pensions for future workers, while making its 401(k) plans somewhat more generous for both (2). Additional, there's demands from Verizon regarding health care premiums for union employees.

References:

Sunday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015976)

Why would you picket on Sundays? Aren't most people off on Sundays and most businesses closed? You'd think they would be home Sunday watching sports. Monday morning more people would notice, you'd think?

Re:Sunday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016352)

Because they all have to work on Monday, they have no time off after all

I slowly remove my bra, (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016008)

to revel a hot set of GOPHERS

Landlines (1)

BlueMikey (1112869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016042)

There's one easy way to solve this: stop using landlines, fire them all.

I guess that would keep Verizon/telcos from gouging customers with ridiculously overpriced, useless, decades-old technology.

and do what drop fios for comcast cable? directv? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016108)

and do what drop fios for comcast cable? directv?

Re:and do what drop fios for comcast cable? direct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016144)

Neither? Ditch it all-togethor.

Re:and do what drop fios for comcast cable? direct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016234)

Brilliant. Once you have ditched 'it' altogether, we won't have to worry about you posting on this series of tubes anymore, will we?

Mixed Feelings (0)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016070)

I have mixed feelings about this one. I think it is fair to expect Verizon's union workers to contribute money towards their healthcare costs. Just about every other employer makes their employees do so.

Re:Mixed Feelings (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016326)

But that would essentially be the same as taking a pay cut, definitely something worth striking over. If the employees have to pay for their health-insurance, then surely they should receive an equivalent pay rise? I don't see why you don't just add a payroll tax and get everyone universal health care coverage though, in the end it's the same except employers can't get out of it and it will be way cheaper without all the insurers skimming huge profits and a single large payer to negotiate prices for drugs and care. (and as a plus, everyone is covered and your coverage can't be cancelled when most needed based on some technicality that they've been holding out on as I understand happens quite frequently)

Re:Mixed Feelings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016332)

My employer makes me contribute a whopping $25 per paycheck. If they change that rate and don't increase my compensation then I am going to haul ass. I'm just a high school educated guy, working for the man but I demand a middle class wage and benefits. I think everyone else should demand it as well.

Re:Mixed Feelings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016594)

Welcome to the real world USA.
Healthcare costs money, dosh mulah.

I'm lucky. I pay 11.5% of my income towards the NHS here in the UK. My empoyer pays a similat amount.
For that I get free healthcare at the point of demand. None of this not getting treatment for breast Cancer frm Medicaid because I am a man.
Instead I get perfect treatment for my Leukaemia when ever I need it. No 'Do you have insurance' questions first.
Instead I got perfect treatment when I crashed my Motorcycle after hitting a deer and dislocating my shoulder. No, 'Do you have a credit card' questions first.

When I worked in the US my employer had to pay top dollar to get me insurance because of my Leukaemia even though I was (At that time) in remission and a simple three monthly blood test would show if it was on the way back AND give me time to return to the UK for FREE treatment.
Yeah, I despise the US Healthcare insudtry. They are a bunch of money gragging leeches.

That is IMHO a sign of what is so wrong with the USA today.
Far too many people making a living without contributing to the national wealth.

The new american dream, 'You too can live beyond your means. Just print a few more dollars, no one will ever notice honestly."

Re:Mixed Feelings (5, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016744)

I have mixed feelings about this one. I think it is fair to expect Verizon's union workers to contribute money towards their healthcare costs. Just about every other employer makes their employees do so.

"My job sucks, so it's only fair that other people's jobs should suck too instead of taking the effort to organize with my coworkers and demand that our job suck less."

Strikers already lost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016114)

If Verizon already had a contingency plan to deal with the loss of workers, doesn't that buy Verizon enough time to hire elsewhere?

Re:Strikers already lost? (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016348)

What kind of insane labour laws would allow firing someone over exercising their right to strike?

Re:Strikers already lost? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016890)

The rules are a bit complicated, but in some circumstances it's legal to hire permanent replacement workers. There's a summary of some of the relevant law here [uiuc.edu] .

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016164)

I know there are lots of things people complain about Slashdot and a part of that is just nostalgia - things were never perfect. BUT why the hell does there seem to be a trend to pick stories up from the Daily Mail, of all places?

Re:WTF (1)

PimpBot (32046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016292)

Elementary, my dear Watson:

Rob Malda = R.M. = Rupert Murdoch

For years, News Corp has been propping up the Google, Linux, and HURD conspiracy through the awesome power of the Slashdot media empire. Verizon's use of red in their marketing is a signal to all the socialist bourgeois to take up arms!

Buy Windows 7 today, and join the resistance!

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016366)

I believe the Daily Mail are aggressively targeting social news sites. This story is a fine example - it's about an American company and its American workers and the effects on its American customers, yet somehow we get the report from a UK tabloid!? It's not like it's gone unnoticed in the US [google.com] .

STRIKE !! STRIKE !! STRIKE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016316)

Batter out !!

Verizon ?? Ah, who gives a shit !! Them east germans are a bunch of pussys anyways !!

Verizon: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016476)

Can you hear them now?

The workers have reason to strike (0)

gearloos (816828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016504)

The workers have reason to strike! When you thieve, pillage, and plunder Verizon, your suppose to share the spoils.

This just in, (1)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37017124)

The Daily Mail reports: blah blah blah, don't acknowledge the existence of The Daily Mail.

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