Verizon Picketers Encourage Wireless Boycott as Network Facilities Get ‘Damaged, Destroyed’

Nearly 40,000 Verizon wireline employees from Massachusetts to Virginia remain on strike with workers now calling for a wireless boycott and Verizon reporting network damage.

The striking workers are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). They include installers, customer service employees, repair workers and other service workers in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

According to a Fortune report, strikers have been picketing outside Verizon retail stores and this week are handing out leaflets asking customers to refrain from buying from Verizon Wireless. Citing “corporate greed,” the leaflets say Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam makes “over 200 times as much as the average Verizon wireless worker,” and that “management refuses to give raises to wireless workers.”{ad}

In addition, Verizon said thousands of its customers have been cut off from critical services over the past few days as “criminals have damaged or destroyed critical network facilities.” There have been at least 24 suspected incidents of sabotage over the past week in five states in which services were cut off for thousands of residential and business customers, including a local police and fire department in New Jersey, it said.

Verizon is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of individuals who “intentionally damage Verizon cables or facilities.”

“We will find out who’s behind these highly dangerous criminal acts and we will pursue criminal charges,” said Michael Mason, Verizon’s chief security officer. “These reckless perpetrators are risking the lives of countless Americans by cutting access to key lines of communications, especially to local police, fire and rescue personnel. If someone has an emergency and needs to contact local authorities, these malicious actions could prevent that from happening.”

Last week, Bob Mudge, president of Verizon’s wireline network operations, said the company has trained thousands of non-union employees to carry out “virtually every job function handled by our represented workforce – from making repairs on poles to responding to inquiries in our call centers.”

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