Lawmaker Offers to Serve as Potential Intermediary to Help Resolve Impasse
(TRENTON) – Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee Chair Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex) on Thursday sent a letter to the chief executive officer of Verizon urging a prompt resolution to the contract dispute that has resulted in the current employee strike.
More than 39,000 Verizon workers went on strike Wednesday after months of contract negotiations failed. According to media reports, the workers’ latest contract expired in August and negotiations between the unions representing the workers and management have been unsuccessful.
In the letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, DeAngelo asked for a swift resolution that takes into consideration the rights of workers and minimizes any potential disruptions to customers.
DeAngelo also said he is willing to serve as an intermediary to help end the stalemate.
“Having been on countless picket lines in my professional career, I know that this decision to strike could not have come lightly to these employees, ” said DeAngelo. “They are taking a risk to protect their rights and dignity as employees in seeking fair and reasonable compensation in exchange for a consistent job well done. The most important issues of salary and health care benefits, while often the most complicated, need to be resolved immediately so that the financial stability and health of the employees are not hanging in the balance.”
While Verizon has said it was prepared for the strike, only some 10,000 non-union workers have been trained fill the gap left by the 39,000 workers on strike, prompting some union leaders to speculate that the strike could lead to prolonged outages and customer service delays in the state.
“I also am greatly concerned about the impact that this stand-off will have on Verizon customers,” said DeAngelo. “While it is my understanding that there are contingency plans in place to strive to ensure no disruption of service, the expertise and abilities of the technicians, customer representatives and other specialists cannot be replaced.”