Old Boy Network Keeps SBC Going
SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) has turned to its former employees in an effort to keep its network and services running during the four-day strike by 100,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
The RBOC says the retirees, along with contract workers and members of management, didn't encounter any problems following the walkout of the union members, and after just four hours the carrier issued a statement to say all was well with the network. At that point, however, there were still more than 90 hours of the strike to go.
The strike centers around pay, job security, and healthcare (see CWA Preps for Strike at SBC). In a prepared statement, CWA representatives say they are ready to meet with SBC over the weekend to respond to the carrier's latest proposal, which the union says reneges on commitments made to the very folk manning the NOCs during the strike -- the retirees -- and which "fails to provide adequate wage increases."
The CWA says SBC is trying to claim that its wage offer is better than the one the CWA negotiated last year with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). (See Verizon, Unions Reach Tentative Deal.) But the union says the two offers are incomparable: "Verizon used the savings it realized from a smaller lump sump payment exclusively to offset rising healthcare costs, not to line its own pockets and then shift even more of those healthcare costs to workers."
SBC's share price dipped only slightly yesterday as the strike loomed, falling just 10 cents to $24.31.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch