Come and take us away, Verizon’s employees tell Frontier

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Hey! I’m over here.

Verizon’s unionised workforce in California want a new boss. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) dropped its previous opposition to Frontier Communication’s purchase of Verizon’s wireline telephone systems in California, after reaching an agreement with Frontier to extend the current union contract for two years, with pay increases and 100 shares of stock for each union member, and add 150 union jobs in the state.

Initially, CWA warned the California Public Utilities Commission of “the potential harm to thousands of its members in California” and lodged a protest against approval of the sale, saying “this transaction will impact the economic health of millions of households, businesses, schools, health care facilities, government agencies, and other institutions in California”.

But now that the contractual issues have been resolved, those overheated concerns have evaporated. [CWA is telling the CPUC]() that it “supports the proposed acquisition and believes approval of this transaction is in the public and employees’ interest”.

The message was delivered in person to commissioner Catherine Sandoval and a CPUC administrative law judge at a hearing in Santa Clara on Monday. Frontier executives were there, too. The atmosphere was genuinely friendly: the pro forma good words spoken during the hearing were followed up by collegial conversations afterwards.

It’s easy to be cynical about CWA’s Damascene conversion, but there seems to be substance in what, to all appearances, is a good working relationship with Frontier. That stands in stark contrast to the escalation war of words between Verizon and the union as the clock ticks down on contract negotiations on the east coast.