Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Wall-to-wall union

Verizon contract negotiations continue in Philadelphia, where one of the biggest issues is Verizon's reluctance/the unions' desires to unionize the non-union Verizon Wireless.

Wall-to-wall union

Verizon contract negotiations continue in Philadelphia where one of the biggest issues is Verizon's reluctance/the unions' desires to unionize the non-union Verizon Wireless.

You can read my Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer story by clicking here.

AT&T, Verizon's chief rival, is union wall-to-wall, says Jeffrey Keefe, a Rutgers University professor who spent several years researching employment in telecom. In 2006, when AT&T bought out Cingular, which had earlier purchased AT&T's struggling mobile division, unions were allowed to organize Cingular workers if a majority of workers, on a site-by-site basis. signed cards asking to be unionized. They did and they were, primarily represented by the Communications Workers of America.

In March, AT&T said it would acquire T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom in Germany, pending regulatory approval. T-Mobile is unionized in Germany, but not here.

"T-Mobile is non-union and the union fully supports the acquisition of T-Mobile," Keefe said, adding that he expects AT&T will follow the same pattern it did with Cingular.

"Verizon has taken a completely different approach. It is aggressively anti-union in its wireless division," he said. "It can manage better without the union.

"They brought in a whole new management that has not had experience with unions and doesn’t want to," Keefe said, commenting on Verizon chairman Ivan Seidenberg's pending retirement. "We’re in a period of successorship at senior management – Ivan Seidenberg comes up through New York Telephone, but  the new senior management comes out of wireless, so they have no union experience at all and they don't want to."  

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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