July 16, 2008

Union Locals in W.Va. Voting on Verizon Strike Authorization


FAIRMONT - The Communications Workers of America held a strike- authorization vote in West Virginia and three other states Monday as it continues contract negotiations with Verizon.

The results, however, are not expected to be released for another few days, said Ron Gaskins, president of the 100-member Local 2004 in northern West Virginia.

Workers have less than 30 days left on their current contract, which expires at midnight Aug. 2. A positive vote would give the union's executive board permission to call a strike, if necessary, to pressure Verizon.

Gaskins said the votes had been counted and reported to a regional office in Maryland by late Monday afternoon. Similar votes were occurring in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The results will be released by the regional office, he said. The contract is the same in all four states, and the CWA typically announces such votes simultaneously.

The negotiations affect Verizon employees in areas associated with both traditional land line and fiber-fed telecommunications, he said.

Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell said the company is hoping for a contract that is fair to its employees, customers and shareholders.

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