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(The Intelligencer: Bucks County | Montgomery County) – Verizon workers vote to authorize strike, if necessary 

Verizon workers in nine states – including Pennsylvania and New Jersey – have voted to go on strike if necessary over a dispute about a new contract, a union official said at a rally Saturday.
“Our members are clear and they are determined,” said Dennis Trainor, an official with the Communications Workers of America union. “They reject management’s harsh concessionary demands.”

At the rally in New York, the CWA announced that 86 percent of Verizon workers who voted in a recent poll backed strike action if required. A contract that covers 39,000 workers represented by the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers expires at midnight on August 1.
The contract covers employees the nine states from Massachusetts to Virginia who work for Verizon’s wireline business, which provides fixed-line phone services and FiOS Internet service.
The unions say the telecom giant is demanding that workers sharply increase their health care contributions and make concession on pensions.
Verizon spokesman Rich Young said that the company had made the unions “a solid proposal that recognizes the changing communications landscape and offers a path toward success.”
Many of the aspects of the contracts that were set “decades ago” were no longer relevant in an industry that was facing increased pressure and structural change, Young said. He also said that the company had been training non-union employees to take on additional roles to ensure that there was no disruption to customers in the event of a strike.
The contract also affects wireline workers in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, as well as Washington, D.C.
About 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike in August 2011 for about two weeks.<

Verizon workers in nine states – including Pennsylvania and New Jersey – have voted to go on strike if necessary over a dispute about a new contract, a union official said at a rally Saturday.

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Business Economy News

(in auto news) – Ford, GM and FCA start bargaining with the United Automobile Workers


Three big U.S. automakers will start bargaining today with the United Auto Workers union for new contracts that would establish how much the post-recession profits the industry shares with workers has increased and also to find what the union costs are for more jobs in the U.S.

After a number of bargaining debates in 2007 and 2011, UAW leaders stated that they will insist on raises for the 139,000 workers at plants run by Ford Motor Corporation, General Motors Corporation and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The union representatives and the CEOs of the three Detroit automakers will meet this Monday to publicly agree on those.

Dennis Williams, the union’s president, explained that he wanted to narrow the gap between veteran workers who are earning around $28 per hour and workers who started working in 2011, who win $16-$19 for an hour.

Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research, said that labor represents a declining share of a car’s cost, adding that the three carmakers’ costs for UAW members decreased from 11.5% in 2007 to 5.7% in 2014. However, executives at the Detroit Three said that they could add more UAW jobs depending on compensating increases in wages or benefits that will lead to productivity gain. A central issue will be the health care costs, with automakers having to pay a “Cadillac tax” of 40% on rich UAW medical plans starting in 2018.

Ford is expecting to boost its productivity by 6 to 7% in all of its factories, with John Fleming, head of the brand’s manufacturing stating that every dollar not taken out is a dollar that a competitor would spend on making their vehicles more competitive. Ford shook the union last week when it announced it had planned to move production of its small Focus and C-Max hybrid models out of a plant in suburban Detroit by 2018.

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