The Problems Of A Legacy Business: Verizon's Union Freaks Out That Verizon Wants To Look Forward

from the what-a-shame dept

It's really sad to see some of the struggles that legacy businesses go through in trying to adapt to a more modern world, but not all of it is the fault of those businesses themselves. Look, for example, at what's happening with Verizon. Subsidiary Verizon Wireless -- which is 55% owned by Verizon -- began a marketing campaign pushing people to ditch their landline phone and go completely wireless. That's not a bad marketing campaign (and, in fact, might be a very good marketing campaign these days). So what happens? The union that represents Verizon's landline telco workers flips out and accuses the company of trying to undermine the union by helping Verizon get out of the landline business, so it can get rid of those workers. Seriously. First of all, there's little evidence to suggest that's true. Like most traditional telcos, Verizon still sees its basic landline business as a useful cash cow that I'm sure it intends to milk for as long as possible. Chances are, since VZW is a separate company, the marketing plan had nothing to do with the parent's marketing efforts. But, either way, at some point the company should be pushing customers to ditch landlines and other older technologies and embrace better solutions. Not because it puts old union guys out of work, but because it's where the market is headed.
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Filed Under: landlines, markets, mobile, progress, technology, unions
Companies: verizon, verizon wireless


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  1. icon
    James Riley (profile), 16 Jul 2009 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Walmart unions

    Point by point, brother. That's how we're gonna do this.

    1) If those small businesses go out of business because Walmart shows up, then they probably deserved to go out of business. Have YOU come from a town like that? Walmart offers cheaper prices and better selection (and 9 times out of 10 far nicer employees - no surly attitudes!) for consumers, so if the small businesses can't compete with them, it means they're doing it wrong. Survival of the fittest - it's how capitalism works. Oh, and those 5,000 employees who lose their jobs at those small businesses? They go over to Walmart and get a job there, with better benefits and rewards for doing their job well, whereas their previous job had nowhere to go but down.

    2) "Some" unions? Do you even understand what the point of a union is? Unions exist to force employers to do what they want, and to use the government to back them up. Look up the Wagner Act next time you get a minute and you'll see what I mean. The problem with unions is that they tie the hands of people actually running a company and force their will on them, while taking money from both the company and the workers. They are a leech on the economy and the best companies out there right now are ones that are disassociated with the unions. No company owes their workers ANYTHING - they all simply recognize that workers have a choice as to where they'll work and benefits (which are things someone offers you as thanks for the job you do) are used to try and sway workers to that company's staff. The better job you do, the more benefits you get. That's how things work in a free market. You do a good job, you get rewarded for it.

    3) Those fatcats got where they are by working their butts off and doing their level best. Yes, every so often you'll see cases of nepotism but by and large if someone's in an executive-level position, they fought like a dog to get there. You're basically saying that these people who've jumped at every opportunity to get ahead and proved their worth to the company need to take a pay cut so that the unions can take that money and toss it into another bloated benefits package that the company is saddled with for workers who have specific and rudimentary job functions, and who refuse to go outside those job functions even if it means goodwill towards the employer and the possibility of higher pay for doing extra work.

    I really have to wonder - did you think "The Grapes of Wrath" was historically accurate? Does your concept of unions come from Hollywood's various portrayals of them? Because it doesn't sound like you're a very informed person.

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