In 2011, 45,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) employed by Verizon in eight states and the District of Columbia staged a two-week work stoppage to resist contract concessions.
This strike was the second largest anywhere in the country in the last decade, and ended without a settlement. After strikers returned to work, they continued their contract campaign for another year before ratifying a new agreement that ended defined benefit pension coverage for new hires and made other concessions to a firm making $20 billion in profits during the previous four years
Three Verizon strikers, and two longtime CWA-IBEW strike helpers—Amy Muldoon, Pat Fahy, Justin Harrison, Steve Early, Rand Wilson--and will discuss the lessons of this setback for telecom workers and other union members. Their session will describe recent trends in the telecom industry that make effective strikes more difficult, the challenge of organizing the unorganized at Verizon Wireless (and other non-union firms), and strategies and tactics that might make future IBEW-CWA contract campaigns more
effective. The panel will also address recent trends toward shorter duration, one- or two-day protest strikes by workers in other industries, including healthcare, fast food, and retailing (ie Walmart).
Co-Chairs: Steve Early and Rand Wilson.