Labor Department Gets Verizon, Strikers to Table

McAdam, union leaders meet with Labor Secretary Perez

Verizon and striking workers agreed to return to the table on Tuesday (May 17) after the Obama Administration stepped in.

Somewhere between 36,000 and 40,000, East Coast Verizon wireline workers--including FiOS employee--represented by the Communications workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, are striking the company after they failed to reach agreement on a new contract.

On April 29, Verizon said it has submitted its last, best offer.

According to the Department of Labor, Labor Secretary reached out to both sides last week and invited them to meet with him in Washington in an effort to help them resolve the dispute.

Perez met with Verizon Chairman Lowell McAdam, CWA President Chris Shelton and IBEW president Lonnie Stephenson. The department described it as a constructive dialogue and signaled the two sides would be talking Tuesday.

"“The best way to resolve this labor dispute is at the bargaining table, and I am heartened by the parties’ mutual commitment to get back to immediate discussions and work toward a new contract,” said Secretary Perez in a statement late Sunday. “I was singularly impressed by the parties’ appreciation that time is of the essence, and their strong commitment to use the collective bargaining process to reach a mutually beneficial resolution.”

Citing complaints including that Verizon was not expanding FiOS and instead shedding workers who installed the video service, about 39,000 workers struck Verizon April 13.

“Our Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam met today with Secretary Perez and others, as noted," said a Verizon spokesperson. "We will attend the next meeting in Washington on Tuesday.”

A union spokesperson had no comment.