Verizon Says It Would Submit to Mediation

Verizon says it has activated its "strike readiness" team in advance of a threatened 6 a.m. April 13 strike by about 39,000 wireline CWA-IBEW union workers—including for FiOS along the East Coast—but it also said it was willing to submit to mediation to help avoid a strike.

CWA responded that the call for mediation was a distraction and signaled it would not be distracted.

“With any sort of job action or disruption to our business, our primary goal is to ensure our customers can count on the critical communications services that they pay for and we provide," said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon's wireline operations. "I want them to know that will happen.”

But Verizon also said it had been approached by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) and asked if it was willing to submit the contract impasse to mediation if the strike deadline is extended. Verizon said it was.

Verizon said it had not heard at press time whether union leaders would be willing to suspend the deadline and participate.

But CWA later said this in a statement: "The question of federal mediation is a distraction to the real problem: Verizon's corporate greed. Historically, federal mediators only get involved in collective bargaining situations with the agreement of both parties. CWA did not authorize anyone at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to approach Verizon about extending the strike date."

The CWA-IBEW contracts with Verizon expired last August.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.