radman resist at best.com
Tue Aug 8 11:24:15 PDT 2000

FEAR OF UNIONS HAS COMPANIES KEEPING QUIET Issue: Jobs What do the largest communications companies think about unions? "No comment," is the reply Schiesel received when he asked AT&T, Sprint, Bell South and WorldCom about the Verizon strike. The unspoken secret in the industry is that the carriers that still have union employees basically wish they did not. And newer companies that don't have unionized employees will do anything to keep them away. "All else being equal, would it make our life easier if there were no union? Of course," said an executive at a large communications carrier, on condition of anonymity. "But we do, so we just have to deal with it, and it's very delicate." Companies fear the Communications Workers of America, but Verizon is willing to put up with a strike to try to keep its wireless and Internet operations union free. On condition of anonymity, one Wall Street analyst said yesterday that if Verizon's wireless operation were completely unionized, it could cost the unit $300 million in additional annual expense. That money probably means a lot more to Verizon's workers than it does to the company; some analysts are expecting that same wireless unit to generate $5.5 billion or more of cash flow this year. So in the overall financial scheme, unionization may not be that big a deal. But there are other factors that matter. "If you're unionized," said John M. Bensche, a wireless communications analyst for Lehman Brothers, "you have less flexibility in terms of hiring and firing people. And when you're growing this fast and want to shift resources around in a company, that can matter. For example, you might see a company move an entire collections department over to customer activation at Christmas time because it's really busy. And you might have to ask whether they could do that if they were unionized." [SOURCE: New York Times (C1), AUTHOR: Seth Schiesel] (http://www.nytimes.com/library/financial/080800verizon-impact.html) See Also: PICKET LINES SWELL AND TELEPHONE DISRUPTIONS SPREAD IN STRIKE [SOURCE: New York Times (C1), AUTHOR: Simon Romero] (http://www.nytimes.com/library/financial/080800verizon-strike.html) TELEPHONE CABLES ARE TARGETS OF VANDALS [SOURCE: New York Times (C9), AUTHOR: Elissa Gootman] (http://www.nytimes.com/library/financial/080800verizon-vandals.html)

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