When workers decide to take their issues to the next level in the form of a strike, it is important they understand just what it is at risk. There are occasions when workers take to the picket lines to fight for healthcare rights, benefits or working conditions. By allowing their collective voices to be heard, many workers on strike are awarded what they wish, however in some situations the employer may play hard ball and actually deny future requests as well as current benefits.

This may be the case for Verizon workers on strike for the 11th day. Workers are on strike while negotiating a new labor contract according to a recent published post on TheHill.com. As reported on the website, “Verizon said it plans to stop paying for striking workers’ healthcare coverage if they fail to return to work at the end of the month as the work stoppage entered day 11 on Wednesday.”

Candice Johnson, spokeswoman for Communications Workers of America has stated the union is preparing to pay for workers’ coverage or provide alternatives to ensure all workers’ needs as well as the needs of their families are met.

While talks continue between the two parties, this situation provides an excellent example of how a strike can affect the benefits of workers. Negotiating for better contracts or trying to preserve current benefits are clearly important issues for all workers, however it is also important to understand what might happen should the employer refuse to meet workers’ demands.

There are certain benefits which may be provided regardless as they are required by law. With that being said, many benefits and perks to which employees become accustomed are in fact provided at the employers discretion. In the case of the Verizon strike, spokesman Ed McFadden had this statement for TheHill.com, “If our striking employees aren’t serving our customers, our customers shouldn’t be expected to pay their benefits. That’s basically our philosophy on why we sent the letters out. It’s our customers who pay their benefits.”