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CWA Gets 'Official' Help With Verizon Talks

According to the Communications Workers of America, the mayors of Syracuse and Kingston, both New York, joined them at a bargaining session with Verizon in Rye, N.Y., Thursday.

"Verizon is refusing to build its state-of-the-art FiOS network in lower-income areas, leaving hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers at the mercy of their local cable monopoly, while at the same time letting its copper landline network deteriorate," a company representing the union said in a release pointing to the officials' support.

Verizon and CWA are in the midst of contract negotiations for 39,000 workers. The contract expires midnight Aug. 1 and covers 39,000 CWA and IBEW employees from Massachusetts to Virginia.

A Verizon spokesperson suggested CWA was engaging in some misdirection.

"The CWA owes these mayors an apology," said the spokesman. "These elected officials should be outraged that union leaders wasted their time attending a negotiating session today that had nothing to do with FiOS. Unfortunately, the mayors were seemingly misled to think FiOS deployment is an issue that’s being negotiated. It’s not. Sadly, it seems the mayors were just a ploy as part of this bargaining publicity gimmick."