Unionized field workers for Verizon
And now it's AT&T's
Twenty-two thousand of Ma Bell's workers in Nevada, Connecticut, and California have walked out due to stalled contract negotiations -- much like the Verizon impasse. The company may have forestalled a much larger action by offering a deal with "modest" wage and pension boosts across nine other states, though union representatives have yet to sign that agreement.
AT&T wants to cut costs in the waning wireline business in order to focus with all its might on the more profitable wireless segment, but the unions say that the cost-cutting is going too far. Again, these concerns should ring true to both sides of the Verizon conflict as well. Given the unresolved nature of the Verizon talks, this work stoppage could trigger union action against Verizon, too.
If you wonder where Sprint Nextel
For the record, CenturyLink
Telecom investors must keep a finger on the pulse of labor relations. Strikes can be costly, and so can the concessions the companies might need to make in order to get their staff back to work. If you follow the industry on a global level, you might have noticed that European telecoms are slashing their dividends partly to make up for rising labor costs. Verizon and AT&T may need to do the same in the long run. Even the most solid of dividend policies isn't necessarily safe when the unions come a-knocking.
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