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Verizon workers still striking

August 11, 2000

Verizon workers still striking



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


For the third time in Iva Oxendine's 27-year career with "the phone company," she's on the picket line.

She and several dozen of her fellow Communications Workers of America union members held a rally in support of the current strike at the 223 Memorial Boulevard Verizon office across from the Hagerstown Municipal Stadium Friday morning.

"When I started, I was working for AT&T, then C&P, Bell Atlantic and now Verizon," Oxendine said, noting the recent merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE into the new company.

Changes over the years have prompted job actions like the one that began Sunday in which union members are negotiating with Verizon for the go-ahead to organize 32,000 workers in its burgeoning wireless communications division. Recent talks seem to be heading in the right direction on that key issue, said Roger Grimes, vice president of CWA Local 2105.

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"We are more encouraged than Thursday," Grimes said Friday.

Grimes said there is still a lot to talk about including forced overtime, job stress and the movement of work as the Bell Atlantic/GTE merger is consolidated.

Talks are continuing in Washington, and Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe said that is encouraging. Rabe said Friday he believes a resolution to the remaining issues is within reach.

Local 2105 has 225 members. Pickets have been up since Sunday on Memorial Boulevard and at 120 W. Antietam St.

The rally on Friday drew not only CWA members but support from representatives of the Central Maryland AFL-CIO Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 307, Carpenter's Local 340, United Auto Workers, United Steelworkers and the Transportation/Communications union.

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