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  • In Verizon Strike, Unions Protest Obamacare Law They Supported

    Two unions are on strike against Verizon Communications in protest of proposed company policies that the unions themselves helped bring about. The new Obamacare law, which both unions supported, dramatically hikes the cost of Verizon’s employee health care plan. Efforts to pass some of that cost on to employees have sparked outrage.

    Verizon’s health care plan is what President Obama commonly referred to as a “Cadillac plan” – expensive and luxurious – during his push to get health care legislation through Congress. The new law will levy a 40 percent tax on all health care plans with individual coverage worth more than $10,200 and family coverage worth more than $24,000.

    Though the tax will not go into effect until 2018, “Verizon is required to account for this cost now,” according to company literature distributed to employees. “Accordingly, we will need to modify plan designs to avoid the impact of this tax.”

    Verizon says it current pays $4 billion annually towards health care plans for nearly 900,000 employees, retirees, and their families. Its hundreds of thousands of unionized employees, though, pay nothing towards their health care premiums. The company estimates the “Cadillac tax” will add about $200 million to those annual costs. “The unions and our employees must work with the company to find ways to address these economic realities,” Verizon insists.

    But far from working with the company, 45,000 Verizon employees from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America went on strike on August 7 in protest of proposed changes to their health care benefits. The CWA called those changes “outrageous.” The IBEW called them “retrogressive.”

    But both the IBEW and the CWA, like the vast majority of Big Labor, supported President Obama’s push for health care “reform.” The two unions did their part to bring about a law that increased the health care costs of one of their members’ largest employers, and are now furious that they’re being asked to shoulder some of that burden.

    True, both the IBEW and the CWA opposed the Cadillac tax specifically. But its eventual inclusion in the final bill did not stop them from supporting the legislation. “While the unions would like to see the measure stripped in that process,” the Associated Press reported, CWA President Larry Cohen “said he was not prepared to threaten to withdraw the CWA’s support for the overall health care measure if the tax stays in place.”

    The IBEW, for its part, released a video on the eve of the House of Representatives’ passage of the bill imploring its members to support the legislation. The video shows IBEW President Edwin Hill telling union members that the bill “is one that I personally believe is in your best interests.”

    Note: Verizon offers health care coverage to families of employees and retirees in addition to current employees. This post has been corrected to reflect that fact.

    Posted in Obamacare, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    46 Responses to In Verizon Strike, Unions Protest Obamacare Law They Supported

    1. MaverickCoast says:

      Stupid is as stupid does. You unions are clueless.
      You all are as greedy as the evil rich you love to criticize. Now
      it's come back to bite you on the b*tt. You sleep in the
      bed you make. Get a clue!

      • jeff says:

        Are you serious. The unions are as greedy? You make no sense. If it wasn't for the union workers doing all the grunt work, these corporations would be nothing. What's wrong with being paid a good salary for doing an honest days work. If it was up to the corporations,EVERYTHING would be outsourced. You get a clue you moron!! This country is going down the tubes because of corporate greed not union greed. Show me 1 union worker with a private jet and then we'll talk you idiot!!!!

        • Bruce says:

          If you had a clue you would realize that corporations are not incorporated to provide jobs. They are incorporated to make money for the investors and stockholders and they hire people only to get the job done and to create profit for the people they answer to. Hello ?

          Besides, this article is about how the Unions were instrumental in the passing of a Law that they now detest. Maybe they should have read it first. Chickens are coming home to roost.

      • Hawk says:

        Only the non-working people support Obamacare…it hurts the working person….wait till you see all the cost that will be placed on the American people

    2. x FlashMob x says:

      No one supports Obamacare, that is… as it came to pass. The people that did support it, really supported the "idea" of it, and ignorantly trusted Nancy Pelosi when she told everyone, "you have to pass it to find out what's in it". Hey Nancy, you have to give me the keys to your car to find out if I'm going to bring it back. Morons passed this bill. Period.

    3. It's quite entertaining to watch these Unions feed on themselves.

      • UnionsRuiningCountry says:

        These union idiots don't have a clue about what they support! They vote for the liberal idiots and then when it comes back to haunt them, they start their whining and beotching louder. You can't have it both ways. As you can see, the socialist, which you are a huge part of by being a union, want the socialist health-care, but don't want to pay for it. Well, you got it! Now, you're willing to lose your jobs to fight it.

    4. Bruce says:

      Sociological Demagogue propaganda, these people was made to believe a lie. Covering something with a underline factor of Obama care is with in the cover of the Wirless systems , For Years the Wirless Companies and the FCC of who Obama is now in part of control. The matter is the drug Companies that in part are apart of the sceam of Events as with the drugs made to cover the IIl Affects of the EMF Plague, as such like drugs The FDA approved Seroquel XR for the treatment of bipolar depression and bipolar mania & treats the symptoms of schizophrenia All have a link PARTLY to as such with tort reform for it alone was just suited for $520 Million for side Affects in part used to treat and Studdied to covers for Those Affect by it. Another part of those factors is the Mix of Events Of Obama care is the push for The Human Mirco Chip Implant that has a History Hazard equal to Amalgam.

    5. huerfano says:

      The law of unintended consequences strikes again! Heh.

    6. Dialla says:

      In their mind, that is the Republican's fault too, they wouldn't have wanted it in the bill but it was needed to meet political commitments that Obama made prior to this bill becoming law. Because Republicans were so effective in holding him to this, this is the result.

      We now know even with this the CBO Estimates were way off on the cost estimates purposefully due to the direction given to them regarding assumption of individual coverage vs family coverage.

      This makes this even a greater farce.

    7. grimmac says:

      How uninformed. Verizon would have everyone believe that the IBEW and CWA are striking solely because of the proposed increase in employee contribuution to the healthcare plan — so untrue. Many members are resigned to the fact that they will be paying our "fair share". The unions are more concerned with job security, the holidays that VZ would like to take away (Veteran's and MLK Day), change in sick time compensation, making Sunday a non- overtime day, and eliminating the verbage that keeps the company from forcing technicians to work more than 16 hrs in one day — just to name a few sticking points. When you, as a corporation, are trying to cry poor mouth — let's take a look at the compensation they are giving to their top executives. 80.8 million dollars to one man over a 4 yr period – Ivan Seidenberg.

      • Splicerchic says:

        How many people have a landline anymore? Can't you comprehend the loss in this market? Same thing as the USPS is going through.

        • Galvo Dog says:

          Hate to tell you, but cell phones, skype, vonage, high speed data all rely on landlines. Verizon's flagship service, FIOS, was spliced and installed by the same people that splice and install copper. Cell towers need landlines to the central office and take regular trunks from office to office, before they switch out to land lines to another tower. The revenue that Verizon earns from wireless would not be there without wireline.

        • Tom Bradley says:

          Verizon's wireline division also covers FiOS and the backbone infrastructure supporting the cell towers.

        • miker says:

          Do you know that all "wireless" phone use landlines? You might want to comprehend that the landline infrastructure is what makes wireless possible, but the wireline side of the company pays for the upkeep cost and the wireless side of the company reaps the profits. Does everyone believe that wireless phones connect magically? Your wireless phone only goes to the nearest tower which then send the signal to the central switch (ie landline) back to the nearest transmission tower closest to the person you are calling(for a "wireless" to "wireless" call) or your call gets routed through the landline switch to the wireline person you are calling. Also fiber optics is landline. So before we "comprehend" the loss in the market as you say, maybe you should comprehend the wireless network!!

        • SpendItWhereUEarnIt says:

          I agree traditional landlines (plain old telephone) is in decline but data (fios, dsl, t1, t3 etc.) are on the rise. The internet helps run the world. I know I am on it, when I get the chance, to check the news, stocks and so forth. With the increase of cell services new wirelines are always being built and maintained to provide the signal to the cell towers.

          The main thing I have a problem with is Verizon wanting to ship more call centers overseas. Nothing irks me more then when I have to make a support call and I get transferred overseas. Constantly saying "could you repeat that."

        • Vzline says:

          How many people dropped their landline to upgrade to FIOS? Also, how do you think your cell phone works? Your cell phone is only wireless from your cell to the tower, from there it goes landline(fiber) to the cell tower to the person you're calling cell phone. You might want to do some research pertaining to the USPS. Here's a link. http://vodpod.com/watch/14930604-apwu-president-c

      • Fed Up with Feds says:

        Got news for you: you get no empathy from this life-long customer. People at all levels of Verizon are overcompensated in my opinion and then I have to put up with rude or clueless people or someone with an accent so thick I can't understand what they're saying.
        Unions breed whining, self-pitying victim attitudes and are no longer needed. Disband the dysfunctional NLRB. Let employees compete to do the best job, and may the best man or woman win.
        And the fact that your unions supported Obamacare is another reason you get no empathy. Go back to work and be glad you have a job at all. Millions out there don't.

        • pamkur says:

          hmmmmm… all levels of verizon employees are overcompensated? unions no longer needed? Take a look at the salaries of their top executives and the hourly wage of verizons unionized workers.

      • pamkur says:

        ooohhhh curse you and your pesky facts

    8. Patrick says:

      This author is only talking about health care, He needs to inform himself on what the strike is about! If it was simply paying more for health care we'd be working. Read this it has some info on what the Strike is really about. http://www.thenation.com/article/162833/striking-
      If a Company that is one of the Nations most profitable companies over the last 4 years can ship jobs overseas where will it stop?. They have decreased the employee base the last 4 years and raised the price of it's services, and now wants to ship jobs overseas gaining more tax breaks and more profit while hurting employees and their local economy. If they succeed it will move on to the next Union job and on down the line. This is no WI Verizon is hugely profitable yet asks for 20k in concessions from every front line worker. While they make 55k per day, and have millions in stock and they have health insurance free for life. Tell me does a CEO work 1000 times harder than any front line worker? The Union is trying to keep jobs, good jobs here in the US of A. Too many companies ship jobs overseas not for survival but for MORE PROFIT! Don't get what this strike is about twisted!!

    9. MJF, CT says:

      Both the IBEW and CWA have blindly supported Democrat and Liberal policies for years. They collect dues in "closed shops" and feed the Democrat machine without question. The sickening part is that you don't get a choice as to where your money goes. So if you are a Republican or a Conservative and you are represented by one of these unions (in my case CWA – AT&T), you still donate to the Democrats!

    10. Patrick says:

      "What Verizon tries to wallpaper over, is the fact that the wireless network which is generating all the company’s profit, rides the same network as its wireline portion. There is only one network. It’s only wireless until you hit the first cell tower. So while wireline is labeled as “struggling” – because Verizon has been pushing its sales force to encourage customers to migrate to wireless – it’s actually doing all the support and maintenance work for the profitable wireless division, but getting none of the profits; therefore, looking like it’s “struggling.” Wireless gets a free ride off the Verizon network. Last year, by its own reports, Verizon wireline division was down on revenue over year previous by 2.9%. In that same time, Verizon cut the wireline workforce by 20%. Yet it insists it is unable to maintain the current benefits for the remaining workforce. All the talk of 100+ concession demands at the bargaining table are but a red herring; Verizon’s actual intent, under the new CEO MacAdams, appears to be to move the remaining jobs offshore as quickly as possible. The only jobs left stateside will be those people climbing poles. Which means no taxable income from close to 45,000 jobs, no taxable corporate revenue as whatever is earned offshore in the outsourced calling and test centers will remain offshore – and not taxable. That’s a lot of revenue lost to the US Treasury. And near 45,000 on the unemployment lines. Verizon’s comments about wireline are disingenuous; the wireline workforce is the boiler room which is keeping the ship afloat. How much loyalty or protection of national security will we get from an overseas maintenance center which has full access to our network and all sensitive portions of it? Little to none."

    11. Daaiisy says:

      Thank you grimmac… unfortunately the unions do not have the billions of dollars to advertise exactly what Verizon wants to implement onto their employees.. they are totally missing the greedy point… if a business profiting billions and billions and billions of dollars a year can say no.. now we pay you minimum wage if we havent already sent your job over to India.. they havent a clue about the struggle their grandchildren and great grandchildren will have to endure. I have changed my mind about taxing the rich.. I felt, hey they earned it, they should be able to keep their money…….. .. now… tax them till it runs bloody starting with Lowell McAdams!

    12. Bobbie says:

      it's just wrong! false claims of affordability! misleading quality! medical and office co-pays cost twice as much since the company changed to a less cost to them Insurance called "health partners" who covers freebies! Private quality is much less then what we were once use to because of government over regulations.

      Insurance is overrated! so is the reason this government health care came to be! brought on through illusion and coercion. obamacare is fraud more than worth. problems more than benefits. Could someone please remind us again, what the purpose of imposing unconstitutional Obamacare on Americans is for?? Where has all the money BEEN going? Repeal!! NOT ONE NON GOVERNMENT CITIZEN HAVE WE HEARD IN FAVOR OF AND MORE GOVERNMENT CITIZENS ARE SHOWING NO FAVOR OF! REPEAL! IT WAS A CON FROM THE START!!!!

    13. J.C.J. says:

      let's no include the issue that Verizon WILL outsource all it's office jobs to India, Phillipines and Mexico, (they already have) or that they will try to sell the outside plant and jobs to it's puppet company Frontier, where they don't have to hire anyone full time.

    14. Guest says:

      We are on strike for the following reasons in part:

      Our current contribution to health care costs to rise from 7% to 27% of cost (deductibles, premiums, copays) for an inferior plan. That right there is enough to make one ill but if it was all they were looking for we probably would not be striking right now, we'd be BARGAINING. Take note: both a quadrupling of our contribution AND a worse plan.

      Take away MLK and Veteran's Days as holidays (who cares about civil rights or vets?) and regardless of how you feel about those days it is a quality of life issue.

      Stop contributing to our pensions (sounds like a pay cut to me)

      Remove contract language preventing jobs from being sent out of the US to the Phillipines, Mexico, and India (explain how this is good for our country)

      Remove pay for those injured on the job. (Think of that the next time you see a lineman running a FiOS wire hanging from a pole)

      Cut our long-standing tuition assistance program (more money out of our pocket for those who are trying to move up in the company)

      Remove protections for keeping work for local employees and allow contracters to send up any sort of crew from other states to do work traditionally done by local members.

      Removing limits on how many hours you can be forced to work in a week and removal of extra pay for extreme forced overtime and graveyard shifts.

      And about 30 other line items each of which have a negative impact on workers which were not present August 6th.

      The financial impact alone would cause many of my co-workers to lose their homes. How is this good for our country?

      THIS IS NOT A STRIKE ABOUT HEALTHCARE. Please, try to look into both sides and see where they are coming from. I understand some of what the company is trying to do. I would hope that educated people would try to be as informed as possible before forming and posting their opinion.

      • concernedlikeu says:

        tell that to your future foreign employees…

      • Barbara says:

        The strike may not be about just healthcare, but the added expense to the company"Verizon" of the economic downturn, the additional costs of Obamacare…the thought of impending higher taxes…all makes companies shrink back…give less and charge more for their services…
        Unfortunately that is why taxing the rich is a roundabout way to hurt the middle class. Regards

    15. August Moen says:

      The law of unintended consequences, maybe they should have read the bill. Idiots

    16. Odie1956 says:

      These unions will really love helping to pay their share of the national debt too.

    17. Frank Connelly says:

      The company has 100 Items on the bargaining table. Health care is just on of them. Were it merely health-care there is no way that the unions could continue to have the support of the members and people would start calling for the union to settle. Since bargaining began on June 22, the company has made no move whatsoever. The Corporation merged different companies with different benefit structures and now wants to take away from the unions what they had won over the years. Verizon is sending work performed by non-union employees to Bangladesh, The Philippines, Pakistan, and India. I personally know quite a number of conservatives and Republicans on the picket line …

    18. Benjamin Demille says:

      Lowell McAdam knows that for every union represented worker on strike there are two or more patriotic Americans ready to sell out their own mothers for the opportunity to fawn for his majesty's favor.

      In a few years, when Verizon decides that they can replace you with an even cheaper fawning sycophant, don't come crying on my shoulder.

      • Guest says:

        And this is the real reason.. they don't care about the people. There are so many people out of work that if you left because these "line item" of things are making you unhappy, someone else will come behind you and take your job because they would rather work and have something than nothing. And Verizon knows that.

    19. chris says:

      To add to grimmac,we are on strike for 100 reasons, so called "concessions" by Verizon. Verizon wants us to agree to contractors doing what we do, which means sending MORE work to Asia. 20,000 jobs have already been exported, just when America is on bended knee with unemployment. Ole' patriotic Verizon! We have given up pay raises for the past four contracts, since the early 1990s, to pay for the health care we now have. So YES, we do contribute to health care despite what the vz spin machine says.

    20. Lloyd Welch says:

      Their union supported this bill. Their union supported this president. If you were to ask me I would say they are getting what they asked for.

    21. John Nail says:

      This is utter nonsense. PPACA abolutely has nothing to do with this.

      There is no requirement that any company do anything until 2018 IF their plans would fall in the Cadillac range of $28.898/family at that time.

      There is no "accounting" to be done for the law. Verizon is simply unwilling to negotiate in good faith.

      45,000 workers getting their full health premiums paid for themselves and their families in this day and age is unheard of. A 7/25 cost sharing is very much the norm, at least on family coverage.

    22. jamison says:


      Whats da matter?? Needed to pass it to see what was in it??

      Looks like the chickens have come home to roost!!! lololol

    23. Robb says:

      This isn't the first time the Union recommended something to us that turned out to be wrong. However, in this case, it so happens that the Union has negotiated 100% coverage for us for more than 20 years. We went out in 1989 for 16 weeks, no pay, to protect our 100% covered healthcare and again in 2000 we went out for two weeks to prove we mean business.. The company can easily afford it but they're more concerned with padding end-of-year bonuses for top management and paying advertising for arenas and such. "No one outside the utility industry gets that good coverage" you whine back at me. Aside from military and police, few people outside the utility industry put their lives on the line for their job as we do. We have a history of demanding the best coverage because we're good at what we do and we want to protect ourselves. We're willing to stay out for this principle. The amount of money cited in this increase, essentially amounts on one Superbowl ad spot. We think the quality of people serving our industry is worth this extra effort.

    24. Roger S. says:

      Oh, shucks. Just another unforeseen and unintended consequence of a stupid 2000plus page law nobody thought necessary to read, much less understand, before the vote! (N. Pelosi: "We have to pass the bill to see what's in it"! — Right you are, Nancy! We'll send you the bill.) Send her the bill — let her find out what's in it!

      • saveamerica says:

        That's a good idea. Have congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi, the grossest supporter, explain the bill word for word, to the public!! time to hold these children accountable, the only way they'll learn…

    25. JD Lambert says:

      Fact is, the company lost is tax break on the money that it gets from the government for heathcare. In other words, they lost the ability to get the tax write off from money they are getting from the public.

    26. Carl Cox says:

      Don't know the truth of all this ,but is something to think about

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