PLATTSBURGH — A Verizon spokesman contests information provided by the Communication Workers of America about ongoing contract negotiations.
John Bonomo of the Verizon Press Office said that a union statement about employees wanting more affordable health-care benefits doesn’t make sense because the workers don’t pay anything for the coverage at present.
“I’m not really sure how much more affordable it can be than that,” said Bonomo, who noted that negotiations are between Verizon and union employees in its land-line division, not Verizon Wireless.
He said the company is asking employees to start paying a percentage of their monthly health-care premiums.
Bonomo said current employees do have both a 401K and a pension program.
He said he doesn’t understand what the union meant when Bob Master, legislative-political coordinator for the union’s District 1, told the Press-Republican in an earlier story that Verizon wants to be able to modify the employee benefit package for the entire length of the contract.
“Once a contract is signed, it is signed,” Bonomo said.
He was not pleased that Master said: “People felt like Verizon was a poster child for the kind of corporate greed that sank the economy in 2008,” and that the company treats its employees poorly despite increasing profitability.
“The last thing we provide is poor treatment of our employees,” Bonomo said. “I really take exception to the characterization of the treatment of our employees as unfair.”
Verizon has posted information about the contract impasse on the site www.verizonbargainingfacts.com.
Bonomo said the company doesn’t have a plan to merge with Time Warner Cable. There is a proposal to acquire some wireless spectrum that Time Warner and some other cable companies purchased but have never used, he said.
Verizon is also working on a joint marketing venture with Time Warner, Bonomo said.
The contract between Verizon and 45,000 union employees in the eastern United States expired on Aug. 7, 2011.
Negotiations between Verizon Communications Inc., the Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are now under the auspices of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen and Director of Mediation Services John Pinto in the Federal Mediation Services Office in Washington, D.C.
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