Verizon had long argued that it needed to cut costs and increase its flexibility to manage its work force and preserve the competitiveness of its wireline business, which includes landlines, video and Internet service that run through wires.
That business, which employs the overwhelming majority of the striking workers, has declined in profitability in recent years as mobile phone service and hand-held devices have gained popularity. Many of the company’s competitors are not unionized and, therefore, better able to rein in labor costs.
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