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FBI looking into allegation by Verizon of sabotage

NEWARK, N.J. — Talks continued between Verizon and striking workers Thursday as the company enlisted the help of the FBI to look into alleged incidents of sabotage at some of its network facilities.

Spokesman Rich Young said the company, based in New York City, has discovered more than 90 acts of sabotage since the strike began last weekend. Young said wires had been cut in some places, causing the loss of phones and Internet service for residences and businesses.

Among the non-residential customers affected were a police department and a hospital, according to Michael Mason, Verizon’s chief security officer.

“I consider that an unpatriotic act,” Mason said. “These cuts aren’t just affecting a faceless, monolithic company.”

An FBI spokesman confirmed Thursday that the bureau is looking into the allegation.

“Because critical infrastructure has been affected, namely the telecommunications of both a hospital and a police department, the FBI is looking into this matter from a security standpoint as part of our security efforts leading up to the 9-11 anniversary,” Special Agent Bryan Travers said in an email.

A Communications Workers of America spokeswoman said in an email that the union doesn’t support illegal acts.

“CWA does not condone illegal action of any kind, and instructs its members to conduct all strike activities in accordance with labor law,” CWA communications director Candice Johnson wrote.

About 45,000 Verizon landline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia went on strike Sunday, fighting management demands for contract givebacks. At issue is the company’s declining landline business in an age of mobile phones.

The CWA said it planned to raise awareness of the impact of striking technicians by beefing up picket lines at several Verizon Wireless office locations in southern New York on Friday. Those technicians are responsible for maintaining the company’s wireless network.

Despite the success of the company’s wireless business, Verizon “has never come to the table with offers of vastly increased compensation and benefits for the technicians who make Verizon Wireless’ enormous profitability possible,” the CWA said in a statement.

Young, the Verizon spokesman, said the contracts for landline workers “were written in the rotary phone era and are no longer applicable. Our contracts need to be modernized and we need our union members to work with us to make that happen.”

7 comments

  1. Wireless isn’t wireless really. There are thousands of machines and fiber optics that create the wireless access. That’s what the techs install and maintain. VZ is just trying to make you think they don’t need us. They are trying to take our pensions away. Is that anyway to treat people who make your profit? They are modern day robber barons. No one will accept that. Are they crazy? They make billions and they expect the us to lay down and take their nothingness? Take away my pension? NONONONONONO!!!!! They have so far refused to negotiate with our union. What is wrong with corporations today? Paying their execs 500 times what they pay their line? It’s high time they spead it around a little. That’s what’s going to change Verizon.

  2. Rebecca, what alleged outrage could possibly justify cutting off a hospital and a police station from critical telecommunications infrastructure? If these allegations are proven, we’re talking outright terrorism here – federal charges, long stretches of prison time for those responsible AND for the union leadership responsible for keeping their membership in line, even painfully expensive, multimillion-dollar wrongful-death judgments if it can be shown that the hospital lost service at a crucial point in the treatment or surgery of one or more patients because of the actions of your union. Your histrionics about lost pensions are a load of bull by comparison. Face facts: This episode strongly suggests your union is full of militant goons and thugs.

  3. Sid I am a member of CWA and Verizon and no one I know would condone cutting off a Hospital or any customer at all.
    We have a gripe against the company with a contract not our customers.
    99.99 percent of us treat communications as the vital resources it is who in there right mind would jeporidze 911.
    Belive me the guy who did that better hope the FBI finds him before the real CWA does.
    Jerks like that unfortunatly in all walks of life,no matter where you work there is always someone who is not right in the head.
    Verizon has been neglecting the landline infrastucture for years(even though it is the backbone of wireless)and will have thier heads under water just trying to keep up with what breaks normally,no one has to cut any lines all there needs is a good rain.

  4. Sid who’s to say that Vz didn’t do these acts of violence on there own to make the union look like the militant goons and thugs you suggested. I have to agree with the fact that an action like that should be punished.The union does not in any way condone actions like this,our union is strong we don’t need to break things to get noticed.We just want to negotiate a fair contract from a company that profits billions yearly.If you didn’t know we are the employees that built and maintain Vz’s wireless,fios,HSI,and traditional landlines.Most of the landline loss that the company reports is a manipulation of facts because these customers are just switching to Fios or wireless.Again we built it we maintain it so our roll is vital to the support of all aspects of any Verizon service available.

  5. worker – Don’t BS the people about this being done by Verizon. Why don’t you tell the people about a female supervisor who had her eye socket smashed by one of the union “gentlemen” when she walked through a picket line in 2003. Then tell these same people about the I&R technicians, who happened to be boyfriend and girlfriend, that cut a power cable thinking it was a phone cable causing a massive power outage in NY City. Not only did both of them lose their jobs, they darn near lost their lives. Because they were committing a crime, they lost their medical insurance, their jobs, and got sued by the power company for damages and lost revenue. Tell these same people about how the union bigshots (both CWA & IBEW) requires the company to expunge all employee wrongdoing from employyee records when they eventually settle the contract.

  6. sid as I said these people should have got in trouble for their illegal actions but that does not represent all the union.Also what BS to the people did I throw out the the same BS you suggested the union did, it’s BS no matter which direction you fling it until somebody gets caught.Not to go into to much more about who did this and who did that but if you going to throw out the negatives be fair and point out from both sides of the fence like, 22 years ago a striking union employee got run over by by a management worker and killed leaving behind a wife and children.
    The expunge clause is not for criminal acts it’s to eliminate retaliation from the company because of the strike.

  7. I meant greasegut not sid