Verizon Strike 2016

Verizon strike took place in April 2016 and involved members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communication Workers Association (Scheiber, 2016). The event was a major striker in United States and involved close to 40,000 employees who worked for the company (Scheiber, 2016). The employees were resisting different actions by their employer that were going against their rights. Indeed, the employer was committed to exploit the workers without engaging them in new decisions that were in place. Some of the issues that the employer wanted to implement include increasing the number of non-unionized employees (Brian, 2016). The result would save the company significant money from nonpayment of different benefits paid to union workers. Further, the employees were opposed to plans to outsource significant employees to work for the company (Brian, 2016). The incidence would reduce the relatively bargaining power of the union member for better working terms. Additionally, the employer had plans to relocate some of the employees to serve in new localities and countries (Brian, 2016). The step was an indirect way by the employer to force some of the workers to quit. Additionally, the employer wanted to retain a pay increase of about 6.5%, which was relatively low in comparison to pay rise of the management (Brian, 2016). 

The strike was significant and attracted the attention of politicians such as Sander and Clinton who at one time joined them in the streets (Brian, 2016). The politicians congratulated the strikers and encouraged them to push for their rights. Indeed, Sander assured the workers that he was planning to introduce workers act that would boost the welfare of employees (Brian, 2016). Verizon management opposed the politicians and said that they were misleading the employee. However, after weeks of strike, the management agreed to meet with union representatives and signed a collective bargain agreement. In the agreement, the employer agreed to stop plans to transfer employees (Brian, 2016). Further, there was agreement to reduce plans to raise number of outsourced nonunionized employees and offer a pay rise. Further, the agreement enabled the employees to get a relatively longer contract of about four years where their pay would rise by about 11% (Scheiber, 2016). Through signing the agreement, the employees agreed to return to work and support growth of their company. 

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How Verizon Strike Reflects Current State of Unions in United States

Verizon strike shows that United States unions have significant power and they are able to push for interests of their members. Union leaders are able to mobilize their members to ensure that they bargain for fair remuneration and working terms from their employers. The unions in United States serve their role as the mediator between their members and their employer (Scheiber, 2016). Indeed, it is not possible for all the employees to present their concerns toy the management. However, through their representatives, the workers are able to have their grievances tackled in a relatively effective manner. Additionally, the strike shows the commitment of unions in safeguarding the rights of their members as stipulated in Labor Act. According to the Act, employees have a right to join a labor union that advocates for their interests (Walker, 2014). Further, the Act provides that employees cannot suffer from retaliation because of their association with any labor union (Walker, 2014). The unions in the country are aware of these guidelines and this ensures they bargain with employers to get attractive pay rise and benefits. Additionally, the unions are aware of the law as seen in the strike, where the leaders of the unions served the management with strike notice (Scheiber, 2016). The incidence supports legality of their actions and ensures there are issues of victimization by the employer. Further, the unions engage their members to understand the information in collective agreements before they sign them. Therefore, the members are able to support the decisions of their union leaders as their representative to the management. 

Verizon Strike was a Larger Economic Battle

Verizon strike was relatively an economic battle between the management and its employees. The employer felt the need to reduce its operational costs to enhance growth in profitability (Bruce, 2016). Indeed, reducing the number of call centers would result to retrenchment of some workers. The impact would be reduction in the total amount of salaries paid to the workers. In addition, the move by the public in owning mobile phones was challenging the sustainability of the company in future. Actually, the customer base was gradually shrinking as competition was increasing. Additionally, there was need for the company to embrace technological changes that would influence its effectiveness (Bruce, 2016). Competitors in the communication sector were embracing technology and the company had to follow the trend to remain competitive. However, the impact of such changes posed possible loss of job opportunities for significant number of employees. Additionally, it was a way for the company to limit its expenses and thus enjoy high profit margins. Indeed, the top management gets significant pay increase on basis of profits the company made every year.

However, despite these factors, the employees feel that their economic capacity was declining from low pay from their company. Further, the employees were opposed to reduction in allowances that were helping boost the relative low earnings from their employer (Bruce, 2016). Indeed, the employees argued that paying them attractively would boost productivity of the company and thus overall profits. Therefore, economic battle was identifiable from the push by employer to lower operational cost while employees wanted pay rise irrespective of its impact on cost to the company. The management had to establish an economic balance between the interest of the company and that of its workers. 

Lessons HR. Managers can learn from Verizon Strike

An important lesson that human resources managers learn from the Verizon strike is need o embrace effective communication (Solnik, 2016). Poor communication between the management and the workers promoted the strike. Indeed, the management was rigid in its decisions to take actions that were unwelcome to the workers. The employer was failing to look at possible response of workers to sudden changes such as lowering their allowances (Solnik, 2016). Good management ensures that employees are involved when making different decisions that affect their working condition or their welfare. Failing to involve the workers has possible impact of generating resistance and this affects the functionality of a company. Engaging workers to discuss their welfare and listening to their concerns builds a good relationship between management and employees. Further, human resource managers learn the need to be truthful in their work. Actually, before the onset of strike, the management had failed to meet union representatives despite agreeing to do so (Solnik, 2016). The impact created anger in union leaders and the only way to push the management to engage them was through a strike. Actually, it is the role of the HR to establish teamwork between management and workers. The situation ensures that any differences between the two parties gets amicable solution without resulting to strikes. Strike results to loss of significant labor hours and this affects overall productivity of a company. 


Brian, M. (2016). Trump holds tongue on Verizon strike. Politico. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from:

Bruce, K. (2016). Verizon CWA and IBEW Union Members Go on Strike: America’s Communications Future Is at Stake. The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from:

Scheiber, n. (2016). Verizon Strike to End as Both Sides Claim Victories on Key Points. The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from: 

Solnik, C. (2016). Communication breakdown prompts Verizon strike. Long Island Business News. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from:

Walker, A. N. (2014). Labor’s Enduring Divide: The Distinct Path of Public Sector Unions in the United States. Studies in American Political Development; 28(2), 75-200. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from:

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