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Verizon, Union At Odds As Potential Strike Looms

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Union workers at Verizon, including those in the Boston area are threatening to go on strike if the two sides fail to agree on contract negotiations.

The two sides remain at the bargaining table, but if they can’t reach a new agreement by midnight, when the current contract ends, IBEW local 2222 is ready to go on strike.

Local 2222 President Ed Fitzpatrick says the company is seeking unacceptable givebacks, including hikes in health care premiums and the elimination of job security and half of workers’ paid holidays. Fitzpatrick says the union has worked too hard to go backwards and a strike may be the only option.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

“They want to roll back the last 25 years of change. There’s little we can do,” Fitzpatrick told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe.

Verizon spokesman Phil Santoro says in these tough economic times, the union has to be willing to shoulder some of the pain.

“As consumers continue to cut the chord on their phones we think our company really must make some meaningful changes to the cost structure of our business. Changes to the business are going to require us and the unions to make some tough choices that reflect these new business realities,” said Santoro.

Verizon says their contract offer provides workers with very competitive pay and benefits, but the IBEW calls this another case of corporate greed, saying the company has made billions of dollars in profits over the last two years.

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