Verizon Strike Gets Ugly

Forty-five thousand Verizon workers have been on strike since August 7, 2011.  And it hasn’t taken long for the Corporate bosses to turn nasty.  In attempt to damage public opinion of the workers, Verizon has made false accusations of sabotage and  is suspected of being behind the assault of a number of strikers.

Verizon officials did not offer definite proof that any particular accusations 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.
Union officials said they opposed all sabotage and had repeatedly told their members not to engage in such acts. They also said that Verizon was exaggerating the number of incidents.

At the same time, the unions have their own complaints about Verizon, saying that several strikers have been struck by managers’ cars.

Candice Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Communications Workers of America, said Verizon was highlighting the sabotage to turn the public against the strikers, who are members of the C.W.A. and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

“This really does take away from what is the big issue in this strike: that Verizon is refusing to bargain and instead is demanding $1 billion in concessions from workers who earn middle-class wages,” she said.

Despite record profits, Verizon is pushing the unions to accept far-reaching concessions, including a pension freeze, fewer sick days and having workers contribute far more toward their health coverage.

The communications workers union said a picketer in Massapequa, N.Y., had been hit by a private security guard leaving a Verizon facility, and another striker had been hit in the head by the side mirror of a manager’s van in Howell, N.J.

Michael Ward, special agent in charge of F.B.I.’s Newark office, said the agency was “looking at this matter” because “critical infrastructure has been affected.” He said the F.B.I. was not taking sides in the strike.

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