Suppose They Held A Strike And Nobody Noticed?

While those of us outside Verizon's landline service area wouldn't notice that both the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and CWA (Communications Workers of America) are on strike against the telecommunications behemoth, it appears those within its service area really haven't really noticed either.

I can honestly say I am not surprised. After all, the landline portion of Verizon's business operations has been shrinking for well over a decade, with FiOS (their Fiber To The Home service) being the only portion of their landline services having seen any growth at all in that time, and that growth has tapered off as Verizon has scaled back further deployment.

What makes this strike so under-the-radar is that the unions are fighting for higher pay and benefits in an operation that has been breaking even at best, and losing money in less-than-best cases. Is it any wonder Verizon has been shedding itself of its less profitable landline operations over the past few years? Why else would they have sold their more rural (and money losing) operations to HawaiiTel, FairPoint, and Frontier? (Both HawaiiTel and FairPoint went into Chapter 11 a couple of years after buying those assets. Frontier has already had to seriosuly scale back some of the services Verizon used to offer when they owned the assets Frontier bought. That ought to tell you something.)

Yes, Verizon has posted billions in profits. But those profits came from their wireless and business operations (which are not unionized). How is it the CWA and IBEW figure they're due a portion of those profits? They sure as heck didn't help to create them. They're working in a business that is shrinking, both in the number of customers and profit margin. Do they really think Verizon will knuckle under to the unions when they are becoming an ever shrinking portion of their workforce covering a 100+ year old technology that is quickly being supplanted by other more flexible and less costly technologies? Apparently so.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this contest of wills.