1,400 local Verizon workers prepared to strike next month
About 65,000 employees of Verizon Communications Inc., including 1,400 in the Lower Hudson Valley, are prepared to strike once a five-year contract expires after midnight on Aug. 2.
Members of the Communications Workers of America this week authorized their leadership to call a strike if a new deal canâ€™t be reached. The local CWA unions include Local 1103 in Port Chester, representing 1,100 Verizon workers in Westchester and Putnam, and Local 1107 in New City, representing 300 Verizon workers in Rockland.
The CWA workers include field and central office technicians, and business office staff. They do not include workers at the Verizon Wireless regional headquarters in Orangeburg.
The last time a contract expired in 2003, the union agreed to work until a deal was reached. The union struck for nearly three weeks in 2000.
CWA staff said pensions, health benefits, and access to employment in new job fields are key issues in the talks.
Verizon spokesman John Bonomo described the union vote authorizing a strike as a standard procedure in contract talks. He declined to comment on specific issues.
â€œOur interest is certainly to negotiate in good faith and to get a timely and fair contract,â€ he said.