Verizon Strike 2011: Unions Bring Their Demands to Homes of Verizon Execs

 @ibtimes
on August 18 2011 4:41 PM
Verizon worker shouts while picketing at the Verizon office on ninth street in Philadelphia
Verizon worker shouts while picketing at the Verizon office on ninth street in Philadelphia. The company obtained court injunctions in four states to limit picketing since 45,000 of its workers began striking on Aug. 7. Reuters

Red-shirted union workers plan to hold a candlelight vigil outside Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam's residence in Mendham, NJ., Thursday evening at 7 p.m.

The Associated Press reports, the unions are fighting the company's call for a pension freeze and for contributions to health insurance premiums, among other demands.

Unions, Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, rallied last week nearby the home of Ivan Seidenberg, a Verizon chairman, in West Nyack, NY., another measure of the growing tension in an 11-day-old strike.

After contract negotiations failed largely over the amount that union employees would be required to pay for health care and pension and retirement contributions, union workers stormed the streets on the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C.

Verizon Communications' (VZ.N) U.S. Northeast wire line unit provides traditional phone as well as high-speed Internet and FiOS television services.

The company has obtained court injunctions in four states to limit picketing since 45,000 of its workers began striking on Aug. 7.

One can't possibly go up to the mansions in Mendham and not be struck by the grossness of destroying the standard of living of working-class operators and technicians while living in the lap of luxury, Hetty Rosenstein, CWA's New Jersey director, who expects several hundred strikers to attend the rally, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to a CWA press release, the union workers will be mourning the death of good, middle class jobs in New Jersey at the hands of Verizon corporate greed.

Workers complained that Verizon made $22.5 billion in profits over the past four and a half years and has paid its top five CEOs $258 million in the past four years, while unionized middle-class workers were striped of their health and pension benefits.

It just isn't feasible that there is not a connection because there's been such an uptick since the calling of the strike, Mike Mason, chief security officer at Verizon, said. Whoever is doing it, I consider it un-American and unpatriotic to attack critical infrastructure.

Verizon officials did not offer proof that any particular act was sabotage, but they said it was suspicious that there had been three times the number of incidents in the last eight days as in the previous six months, The New York Times reported.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, representing 10,000 strikers, said members are expected to obey the law.

However, the CWA said Tuesday some picketing workers were hurt by Verizon managers' cars and that one worker was knocked unconscious when he was clipped by the mirror of a manager's car that was speeding past a picket line.

Verizon said it was working with the police to investigate what happened, but noted that it believed the allegations are totally inaccurate.

The CWA also cited a case in which a security guard hired by Verizon had punched a worker and knocked him to the ground on Monday morning.

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