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Big Labor Watch: “Open season” on Verizon

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 16, 2011 11:15 AM

Union thugs are up to their old tricks — sabotage, deceit, intimidation, feces-hurling, you name it — as a labor dispute between the Communications Workers of America and Verizon festers.

As usual, the left-wing civility police have gone AWOL.

Last week, the company reported destroyed cable lines and theft across several states:

Verizon Communications Inc. reported a dozen cases of sabotaged cable lines and warned of delays in repairs and customer service on the second day of a strike involving about 45,000 employees.

The telecommunications company said there have been 12 acts of sabotage to telephone lines and to Internet and television services in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York since the strike began.

Fiber-optic lines were intentionally cut in Tewksbury and several other municipalities on the East Coast, the company said.

Stolen equipment in Cedar Grove, N.J., affected service to a police department, and a heat system was tampered with at a central office in Manhattan.

“This could be a dangerous situation if people need to reach fire, police, or emergency responders and can’t use their phone,’’ said Phil Santoro, a spokesman for Verizon.

Verizon is offering a $50,000 reward “for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of individuals that intentionally damage Verizon cables or facilities or cause or attempt to cause physical injury to any Verizon employee or contractor.’’

The CWA has declared “open season” on managers and “scabs,” Syracuse NY-based News Channel 9 reports:

The union representing Verizon employees began a new week with renewed and intense focus on Monday.

Communications Workers of America 1123 is sending picketers to Taft Road and Erie Boulevard East locations to hand out informational pamphlets to Verizon wireless customers and others.

Meanwhile, across the Northeast, the desperation is clear from a message left on a phone hotline set up for members of a union chapter in Brooklyn. The voice of a representative encourages members to deal harshly with “managers and scabs.”

“It is open season. Follow them safely, but when you get to a location, torture them, torture them with chants and noise. Be so loud that they can’t concentrate and wish they never got out of bed,” says the recorded voice.

Another part of the message states:

“They are trying to break our union. Understand brothers and sisters, we can never let these [expletive] piece of [expletive] pigs break us. So, we are stepping up our efforts.”

Add poo-flinging to the union thuggery list:

A New Jersey Superior Court issued an injunction against a local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers, which is one of the two unions currently on strike against Verizon Communications, and represents about 10,000 of the 45,000 striking employees.

The injunction prohibits a range of activities, some of which have reportedly been employed by various union picketers in efforts to obstruct or harass the company or its workers since the strike began more than a week ago.

Among the practices specifically forbidden under the court’s ruling: the throwing of feces.

“Dropping, spreading, throwing, placing or otherwise causing nails, glass, cinder block, spikes, feces, clubs, rocks, screws, or puncture devices of any kind, or other object or debris to be thrown or strewn in, on, or about Verizon’s driveways, parking lots, entrances, exits, vehicles and adjoining roads to any of Verizon’s property or at any work site.”

The order took effect immediately after its filing on August 11th. IBEW 827 agreed to the proposal and posted a $50,000 bond for payment of incurred future damages.

The watchdogs at Labor Union Report have been keeping track — and report at BigGovernment.com on a violence-infused and sabotage-promoting internal e-mail allegedly from a CWA officer:

The company is using out of state cars/vehicles that are unmarked except for verizon door magnets. There is a possibility that other Unions may be accessing our facilities whether building or manhole. If they are you may first beat them repeatedly with a tire iron then advise them that we are on strike.

District 2-13 President Ed Mooney went to new York to meet with other Union Leaders as well as McAdams and came away convinced that this could develop into a very, very long fight. There was absolutely no positive that came from his meeting with McAdams.

…A new mobilization is to get everyone in the habit of calling repair several specific times a day. For example, some at 10am others at 11am etc. to keep a steady and disruptive volume of calls slowing the companies ability to take real ones. Have everyone dial *67 first if they are nervous about their number being tracked. A direct number to repair is xxx-xxx-xxxx in case the 800 # is busy. A direct fios number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. We can start our own time table to do this. I think the biggest part is to get EVERY member doing it at different times through out the day.

…We cannot sit back and wait. You folks are kicking serious ass!…

Verizon’s statement on labor negotiations is here. A few points:

* Verizon’s contract covered approximately 45,000 wireline employees represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
* The employees work in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
* The Communications Workers of America (CWA) represents about 33,000 employees covered under these particular contracts.
* The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) covers about 12,000 workers.
* Another approximately 13,000 union members work for Verizon in other areas of the country; however their contracts expire at various other dates and are not involved in this negotiation.

When Does the Current Union Contract Expire?

* The current contract expired at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, 2011.

What Do Current Union Technicians Earn?

* Verizon is a great place to work, and we have the numbers to prove it. Average technician compensation and benefits in some of the markets are:

Market

Average Annual Compensation with Overtime

Average Benefits Package Value*

Massachusetts & Rhode Island

$85,000

$51,000

New York City & Long Island

$91,000

$55,000

Washington, DC

$81,000

$42,000

*benefits include full health insurance coverage for employees and their families, pension, 401(k) with company match, vacation and more.

Why Is Verizon Seeking Changes to Union Health Care Benefits?

* As more consumers take advantage of changing technologies and competitor offerings, Verizon’s wireline business has declined in recent years. Although the growth in FiOS could be better, it is still a strong brand in the marketplace.
* Meanwhile, health care costs continue to rise. Verizon’s health care plans are classified as “Cadillac Plans” by the U.S. government, and cost the company $4 billion annually covering 800,000 employees, retirees and their families.
* The company took a $962 million charge in 2010 due to a reduction in tax benefits related to retiree health care.
* The unions and our employees must work with the company to find ways to address these economic realities.
* Today, more than 135,000 non-union Verizon employees make contributions to their health care premiums. Verizon is proposing that its union-represented employees contribute toward the cost of rising health care expenses.
* Even with contributions to health care coverage, Verizon’s proposal will still ensure that its employee benefits remain near the top of those offered by comparable companies.

Why Is Verizon Seeking Work Rule Flexibility?

* With the decline in Verizon’s wireline business, the company must find ways to ensure superior customer service while enhancing operating efficiencies.
* To do so, the company is seeking changes to select union work rules that would allow expanded routing of calls and flexibility for call center representatives to handle certain types of calls without transferring customers to other centers. Currently, if a customer calls in with a question about a bill, the call goes to a rep who handles billing issues. While on the phone, if the customer asks the rep to check on a set-top box issue, under current rules, that customer has to be transferred to a tech-support representative – generally in another center. As part of our quest to increase flexibility, we’re seeking the ability to have the billing rep check the box and potentially resolve the issue from their workstation. It’s about simplifying the process. In the end, it eliminates a call transfer, cuts down on repair time and leads to a far better customer experience.

A few handy CWA links to refresh your memories:

Video: CWA union thug strikes young female FreedomWorks activist; Updated

Hey, hey, outta their way, CWA renting protesters for pay in NJ

And who can forget:

“Get a little bloody:” It’s the union way

Richard Trumka and Big Labor’s legacy of violence

Flashback: SEIU and the “persuasion of power;” Update: St. Louis thuggery on tape

Flashback: Caught on tape: SEIU thuggery

Flashback: The progressive “climate of hate:” An illustrated primer, 2000-2010

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