Verizon Hires Scabs to Break Strike

by Matt Klassen on August 8, 2011

It looks like Verizon employees are heading to the picket lines, but don’t worry, Verizon has a plan.

Unable to extract significant contract concessions from its employees through strong arm negotiation tactics, Verizon, America’s largest broadband provider, had to find another way to remind its employees just how thankful they should be for their jobs…it brought in “scabs”.

For those not familiar with the colloquial parlance of union labour forces, the term “scab” is a distinctly derogatory idiom for strike breakers, a work force generally made up of non-unionized staff trained to do unionized jobs (often times for less money).

What this means is that while Verizon employees fight for a fair shake from their contract negotiations, your valuable customer service call will now be fielded by “tens of thousands of management employees, retirees, and others [trained] to fill the roles of the union workers.”

Particularly before the official advent of unionized labour, businessmen would hire “scabs” to either remind the usual employees how thankful they should be for their jobs or replace them all together. One might think in this era of unionized labour that such strike breakers would be a thing of the past, so it may come as a surprise to hear that many companies still use them…so why shouldn’t Verizon decide to get in on the fun?

The strike itself began just after midnight yesterday, as union leaders of some 45,000 Verizon employees in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States called for the walk-off. The majority of the workers are field techs and call centre employees, all part of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

For me this is a thorny and complex issue of business ethics, albeit one where I have little sympathy for Verizon itself. It turns out that Verizon has taken a very hard line in its recent negotiations with its employee unions, pushing for concessions that would allow the wireless giant to fire employees more easily, link pay increases directly to job performance, halt pension accruals this year (perhaps the reason Verizon was able to lure company retirees across the cross picket lines), and require all the union workers to contribute to health-plan premiums.

While I would sincerely doubt that any labour force would agree to all the concessions, had Verizon taken a softer more collaborative approach to the negotiation process it may have been able to get several concessions made. Of course Verizon decided on a different course of action, pushing its employees into a strike and hiring strike breakers to replace them, moves that will make any future negotiations that much more difficult.

For Verizon this is the first major work stoppage the company has had in eleven years, as unlike the last two contract negotiations its faced in recent history, it simply wasn’t willing or able to pull out an eleventh hour deal.

Although my sentiments are clearly with the employees, there’s little question that Verizon is responding to the ongoing difficulties faced by many broadband providers in this year, as revenues across the market seem to have hit a plateau  as company’s explore new ways to make their customers pay for their Internet usage. So how does this affect you? I suppose we’ll see when the newest strike breaker attempts to help you sort out your Verizon bill over the phone.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Verizon Strike Turns Ugly — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 16, 2012 at 7:55 am
Verizon Strike Ends with No New Contract — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 16, 2012 at 7:56 am

{ 31 comments }

Proud Worker August 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm

WHY, With 1 in 5 Americans NOT working today and the economy in the shape it is, people starving and cant find work, find it necessary to go on strike. Again, Unions ruining it again for everybody. FAIR? When the the overpaid Union Bosses walked from the Table the talks became UNFAIR for Verizon Corp.
For one, every Verizon employee is OVERPAID AND UNDERWORKED. Many of them dont even have sufficient schooling for what they do and many couldnt find another job if they had to.

Just another group of greedy American Employees who think they are owed everything. This is what has ruined this countries workforce and WHY China is kicking our butt right now. I say this to all strikers, you need to be ashamed that you walked off and grateful you even have a job. I would fire everyone of you. Verizon ONLY is required to pay you a fair wage and thats all. You agreed to one and now you walk? No PITY HERE. Dont worry, your Union Brass Leaders will give you $63.00 a week to live off while they jet around the country, eat fine foods and wear fine clothes with the dues you have so ignorantly handed over to them.

In the end, you Union workers will get screwed again. You get screwed every contract…wake up and go back to work and tear your silly union card up.

China is ROFL!

Rich shears August 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Thanks for the suport its much appreciated…. Local 2275

kevin kuritzky August 9, 2011 at 5:52 am

I’m glad to see that your sympathies are with the union, but perhaps you missed a few key points.
Verizon is NOT suffering financially. In fact it is posting massive profits, some record profits, and has already posted 6 Billion in net profits this year.
The tactic Verizon is taking, that of Union busting, is unjustified in terms of financial reports that the company itself has released.
This is a much bigger issue than just Verizon VS. Unions, this is an example of corporate thinking country wide. The average worker who thinks their company values them is sadly mistaken, this has been shown repeatedly across the country, in all forms of industry, for many years now. Union workers have taken hit after hit at a time when companies are STILL making huge profits.
They don’t want some concessions, they want OVER 100 concessions that have been fought for and won over the last 50 years! They basically want the lettuce pickers of the great Depression, while salaries are in the 10’s of millions (former CEO Siedenburg still makes $55,000 A DAY, EVERY DAY!) and bonuses are ever higher.
Yet, they insist on letting employees share in the profits that they make possible?
Be aware. The union has ASKED FOR NOTHING in the new contract except to keep what we already earned (through reduced raises over the years to keep medical benefits as an example).
By the way, has it occurred to no one that Verizon is posting record profits while paying the benefits they claim are hurting them financially?
Enough is enough, the average American worker should have long ago unionized and begun fighting the corporate greed that has proven to hurt this country more than any other act of terrorism. Corporations today are virulently anti- worker and only focused on profit. Even Abraham Lincoln said that “You can never place the pursuit of capital before Labor.”
But what did he know?

kevin kuritzky August 9, 2011 at 5:54 am

Obviously the line:
“Yet, they insist on letting employees share in the profits…”
Should read:
“Yet, they insist on NOT letting employees share in the profits…”

Claire August 9, 2011 at 8:35 am

So these people are on strike because god forbid they have to PAY for benefits?
also would only get pay raises if they actually performed their job to their best abilities holy smokes !!!! HELLO that is the way the rest of the working world does
It Jeez, what a bunch of spoiled brats.

Tee August 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm

We are asking for no give backs… the retired workers fought hard to give and have retiree options and after they have given there life’s work they should be able to keep them and so should the current workers. verizon made 6 billion dollars this year already and without the hardworking employee that keep the company going they would not have been possible, NO GIVE BACKS NO GIVE BACKS. NO CONTRACT NO WORK NO CONTRACT NO WORK

J. alba August 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm

TO CLAIRE: PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE PART OF THE REASON THE ECONOMY IS THE WAY IT IS, PUSHOVERS THAT FOR THEIR COMFORT ARE WILLING TO SACRIFICE OTHERS; SURE, LET’S GIVE BIG COMPANIES BACK WHAT THE ONES BEFORE US FOUGHT SO HARD FOR; GET A LITTLE INFORMED BEFORE YOU POST STUPID COMMENTS; THE ISSUE HERE IS THAT WHILE THE COMPANY WANTS EMPLOYEES TO PAY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE (SOMETHING THAT EMPLOYEES FOUGHT SO HARD FOR), THE CEO IS GETTING OVER TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS IN BONUSES.

Hopefull August 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm

We r not spoiled …I work hard for everything i have ever gotten the whole point of this is to keep American jobs in America …to keep the middle class alive, we are willing to negoate with the company we have sent proposals and all we here is now take it or leave it so we left we are the back bone of this company, try calling in now,my sister is moving and called to cancel her service and the response she got was I don’t know how to do that I will take your name and number and put it in the pile,if you thing we are lazy or spooled see how it feels to be placeed in a pile. Lots of don’t realize what we are held to everyday there was a comment about out raises should be tied to our performance,well guess what my performance requirements change every month. Every single month I have to read a memo about how my performance requirements have changed and increased so if there was stability no I would not have an issue with that. ……remember the grass is always greener on the other side

C Rupp August 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm

You all have to understand that if the companies were not systematically reducing the wages of employees all across the country union or not and increasing their own profit margins and the gap between the rich and the middle class the country would be in a far better place.

Lets see more money more taxes and less national debt.
More money in the middle class means more luxuries and a more vibrant economy.

I am sure I could sit here and prattle on but in general the average joe schmoe making a better living for himself helps the country more than another few percentage of profit margins do for a company and those rich bastards like them playing the stock market with their millions for something to do on a wednesday afternoon because we all know those CEO’s are NOT working enough to demand 84 million a year. They grew up in affluent well connected families who gave them the “IN” to a big paying job. CEO’s that crash a company into the ground are constantly hired onto other companies to be CEO’s yet again… Why? Because they are in the golden circle due to wealth and influence of their peers that keep the rich rich and the middle class declining.

Lets see how they like it when the middle class has been reduced to nothing more than survive status due to pay and all those entertainment companies crash to the ground because nobody can afford them any longer…..

shannon August 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

To all my brothers and sisters we know why it was necessary to strike and unfortunately some of these people just don’t get it….This is a fight for not just us but middle class America! Cwa 13000 Standing strong and proud!

Susan August 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm

It’s too bad those who believe that Unions are bad for the country have found their way here… though it’s doubtful they were able to type out their thoughts all by themselves. They have absolutely no justification for what they spout, except that they are not getting benefits like organized workers are.
Do your homework! Please! For the Patriotism you claim to have!
No employer “gives” you anything except pay, every single other benefit you have, including that great thing called “The Weekend” is due to Union Workers. Period. Do your homework before you bash Unions, you know not what you speak of!
To those on strike at Verizon:
I appreciate that what you are doing benefits all Americans,
You rock! …and don’t feel bad about those who can’t tell sh*t from shine-ola, they never could, and never will. The proof is the ignorance spouted here by the Union-bashers. It would be nice if they could just stick to the truth…but that is far too much above them.

sar22 August 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Hey “proudworker.” This is about the middle class getting screwed again. The ceo makes $55,000 a DAY! We want Verizon and all these other anti-American corporations outsourcing “American” jobs to other countries to keep these jobs here. The union wasn’t asking for anything. Verizon is making enormous profits. Verizon is asking for over 100 concessions. Anybody, including you “proudworker” that supports profits of big corporations over people should be ashamed to call themselves an American. Before Christmas, the house passed a bill to give tax breaks to American companies if they bring these jobs back to this country. The republicans in the senate voted it down. They always side with big corporations. Union workers built this country. Hard working middle class America. Pretty soon there will be no middle class especially with your Fox News brainwashed mentality. If there’s a middle class with good paying jobs buying things in this country preferably made in the USA, everybody wins. I am a facility tech that belongs to local 827 ibew. I am a real PROUDWORKER. I am a patriotic American that loves this country and believes if the unions and the middle class goes away so does this country as we know it. Please “proudworker” go up to a union worker on the picket line and say it to one of their faces and see what happens. If you don’t know the job of facility tech like i do, don’t make stupid comments about my craft. It’s people like you that are the problem in this country. WAKE UP

Jordan Richardson August 10, 2011 at 5:47 am

“This is what has ruined this countries workforce and WHY China is kicking our butt right now.”

Yep, you can get ahead in the labour game like China if you employ tactics like child and slave labour. I guess if that’s the avenue that you want to go down, “Proud Worker,” you can try to push for such a thing. But some of us human beings value things like freedom, human rights and equality.

“China is ROFL!”

Yes, the business owners and foreign investors are pretty pleased at the lack of regulation and political protection afforded to China’s citizens. That you consider this a virtue speaks deeply to your character.

Hopefull August 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

Proud worker ….guess what the cwa never left the table that is Verizon propaganda. And we called them to come to the bargaining table on Sunday and u know what they said…..they were too tired. TOO TIRED REALLY. I was at our center at midnight got home at 3 am and was back up at 6 am so I could be on that picket line and they were too tried. WOW

JOhn August 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Classic union crap… Shut up and work

Debz August 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Sar22 I agree with you, as the wife of a fiber optic tech I understand what his job entails, by no means is it easy. IBEW 827

al salazar August 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

As someone familiar with this situation, these Verizon employees are being very unreasonable with their demands. What they want is more than anyone can possibly expect from a company. They are also acting disgustingly towards these “scabs” who are actually other, non union, Verizon employees, that have been told that they have to do these jobs or lose theirs. They are have made threats of violence, including rape, have tracked down their home addresses and phone numbers and are harassing them at home. Throwing things, shaking ladders when people are climbing and defecating on equipment. Grow up and go back to work like real people, you disgusting scumbags, you aren’t being cheated, you are being unreasonable.

Jordan Richardson August 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Al Salazar, do you have any sources to back up your alarming claims?

I’m also a bit alarmed by this “go back to work” mentality that floats around here. Do you really value your fellow human beings so lowly as to merely consider them workers? Do they not have real concerns and rights that ought to be considered in an arena of fairness? Or is it just better to be a Verizon shill? Maybe the pay’s better when you’re wrist-deep up the employer’s ass, yeah?

Lori August 12, 2011 at 10:57 am

I can understand that the Verizon employees feel like they are beng unfairly treated. It’s easy to get used to a standard of living for you and your family and when that is threatened, you feel like your whole world is changing. However, using the mentality that “it’s what our forefather’s fought for so we deserve the same”, is similar to saying that “because I am Jewish, I am owed something because my people suffered through the Holocaust”, or “because I am black, I am owed something because my people were slaves”. Our country does not look at those statements as reasonable “excuses” for not working. Almost ALL American companies require their employees to pay for benefits due to the rising costs of healthcare. Yes, corporate execs make far too much. Striking is not going to change that. I am not saying complacency is ok. But let’s be honest with ourselves – it is 2011. It is a different day. Let me give you an example. I am a single mother with a master’s degree. I work a full-time job and get very little child support. I pay almost $300/month for my and my son’s benefits. On top of that, we have a $2,500 deductible before anything is covered (except once yearly routine office visits) and on top of that still pay 20% of costs. I would be thrilled to contribute a minimal amount to my benefits. And a pension??? What is that? The engineers that I work with who have put in 40+ years at my company don’t have a pension and are losing money in their 401k hand over fist. There is such disparity of earners in this country it is sickening. So please, before you chastise the rest of us for being a little uneasy with your position, try to see this from someone’s else’s eyes. I work damned hard and contribute an awful lot to my benefits.

John Doe August 12, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Stop crying and get back to work you ungrateful brats. All the other 200,000+ Verizon employees contribute to their health care so what makes you guys (Union) so dam special. Not to mention you already get paid for other holidays that most other Verizon employees do not get. Not to mention your guys average salary is more than everyone elses too. I know because I to work as an engineer for Verizon. There are million of hard working americans that would die for a job like yours. Stop being so dam greedy and acting like juveniles. Its your choice not to go back to work. They way things are looking Verizon is not going to give in. They are in it for the long wrong. They already are moving work to others States as we speak, but if you choose not get paid for several months thats your choice

Proud to have a Job August 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

With unemployment benefits gone and down to $20/week to feed 3 people. I work 40 hours in a crap job and I watch the six idiots outside verizon NOT working. No s*** you dumba**. You want to get paid, work for it. If you slack all year, no raise. If you kick a**, like I do, you earn a raise. My co-pays for insurance are 40 pcp, 70 for specialist (which my son needs 4x/wk), and 30% in the ER. I may not come home with much, but its better than paying 100%. I watch my fiance work 11-38 hours a week. His check is gas for his car. My check pays for all else. Its a tight budget so I would risk my job over a contract. I don’t care about how much profit the big guys make. Thats why most our jobs end up overseas to those grateful to HAVE any income. Grow up america. We are no longer a country of choices. Except, do I buy shoes for my son, or groceries to feed us for a week? Those are my choices. Make yours by growing up! Feed your family instead of relying on me to support my family and yours while you eat off unemployment I provide. GET OVER IT!

UNION will August 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Union will……………………starve you all!!

You all need to be ashamed of yourself……90% of you DONT have degrees or even qualified for your position and make way too much money as it is….60-100K a year??? There are many out of work now that will cross the cry babies line today and take half of what yall have stolen from Verizon.

Quit crying about what the CEO’s make, if you dont like it go find another job or become a CEO your self…they own the company and can take what they want. All they owe you is a fair salary and I know you are getting that.

HOWS THE FAT CAT UNION BOSSES TREATING YOU? I BET THEY HAVENT MISSED A PAYCHECK WHILE YOU ARE BEGGING AND SCRATCHING TO BUY A LOAF OF BREAD.

Humble your self and go back to work and STOP stealing from your employer! You are a DISGRACE to the American Workforce!!!!! They need to FIRE all of you ungrateful crybabies!!!

annonymous August 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I am an employee at Verizon. I %100 agree with what these guys are fighting for as I know the jobs that they do, I do it myself day after day. For those who think that it is okay for giant corporations to post record profits year after year, then you should just thank yourself for making that possible for them. This is America, a country that was built on hardwork and by not giving up on what we believe in. If anyone is to blame for corporate greed it is everyone in America who keeps allowing it to happen. We sit back and let companies charge whatever the hell they want for products that we continue to buy (gasoline, cell phones, groceries, ect), so what they do is keep raising the prices, and what do we, we just keep buying it. I know what everyone says, these things are neccessities, we have to have them, and yes you are right, but when you don’t take a stand for yourself then you will continue to get screwed and the average American will continue to take steps backwards. Our country is headed in a very bad direction, and it is up to all of us to put it back on the track. We continue to sit back and let illegal immigration continue in this country, and yes this is the biggest reason companies are suffering with rising health care cost, but nothing is being done about it. This is “The Land of the Free” but it is time for us to step and say “NO MORE”. Liberal *ss people who do not understand why this country is fallin on it’s *ss need to wake up and stand up for their rights to have jobs, go to work day to day, without having to worry about who is out to take their benefits away, freeze their pensions that they have worked so hard for, or being pushed into taking paycuts to help bailout these companies that have mis-managed their finances so bad they are no longer profitable. If you believe the claims that Verizon is losing money in it’s “LANDLINE Business” then you need to check out things further. Yes, they have lost landline subscribers, but they are also gaing customers hand over fist in the Fios platform. I know that all blue collared American workers have made life changing adjustments in these hard times, but it is time to put a stop to giving up our dreams to make a company gain more profit to please the jack asses on Wall Street. We deserve our fair share and it is time for us as American’s to stand up to the corporate greed and tell them to give up their dreams. If we don’t take a stand now then you better start looking for some damn good cardboard boxes, because we will all be living in them. Keep up the fight CWA brothers and sisters, because if we don’t who will.

Headly August 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm

After reading some of these responses, it’s obvious some people are unsatisfied with their employment choices and are extremely jealous of what unions offer. If you chose to work for a company without union representation, the onus is on you! Perhaps, researching was your downfall and you just settled for a paycheck?
Next time, see what your employer’s offering before being locked in long term. Please stop with the jealousy and MAN up to your own decisions. Everyone has a choice in life when it comes to education and employment. I believe in teamwork and unity, therefore union was the right path followed by a company like Verizon.
Also, everything the unions are saying are TRUE! Verizon pays ZERO dollars in taxes, in fact they receive a refund. We’re not asking for anything new, just extend what we already have to support our families and keep the middle class afloat. A few years ago the union was eightyfive thousand strong and the company had no problem extending the contract. Now, we’re fortyfive thousand strong and the company’s saying the can’t afford to maintain what we have?? Even in this economy, Verizon’s making billions in profit…So, it’s all about your researching. Try to educate yourself with all the facts before you type. Don’t hate and chastise others for your poor decisions…
GO UNION and be part of a family CWA “CHEERS JERRY”

richie August 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm

YOU DON’T GET IT!! THIS IS SOCIAL DARWINISM…IF YOU’RE NOT THE ONE PERCENT MEGA-RICH, THEN YOU SHOULD BE EXTINCT!! VERIZON MADE 24 BILLION DOLLARS IN PROFIT AND PAID ZERO INCOME TAX!! THEY EVEN GOT A 1.8 BILLION DOLLAR REFUND FROM THE GOVERNMENT! DO YOU REALLY THINK THE PEOPLE WHO HAD A BIG HAND IN MAKING THIS COMPANY SO PROFITABLE SHOULD NOT ENJOY THE FRUITS OF THEIR LABOR? WAKE UP! THIS IS AN ATTACK ON THE WORKING CLASS. HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH FOR SIEDENBURG, MCADAMS ET AL? THEY ARE PLAYING WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES. LET THE WORING CLASS ENJOY JUST A LITTLE PEACE OF MIND.

Easy does it August 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I think all you striking workers are getting the shaft. I agree with what many people posted. Most of the workers don’t have any type of degree and are still earning $60k to $100k a year. Go try to find that money with no degree….GOOD LUCK WITH THAT”lmao…..wake up and smell the coffee people. be luckly to have a job that pays so well.

Josh August 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

It’s sad that people are just settling for: If I’m a Bum you should be a bum too…Instead if wanting better at their jobs and encouraging and standing by the Union in hope of getting a better job one day themselves.

My husband makes enough to pay for gas for his car was posted earlier and the lady seems happy or content with it. CAN EVERYBODY SAY…………STUPID!!!!

Sisterr1 August 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Go cwa! Make ur stand don’t give up and for all u scabs working for less go suck an egg u will get yours when they agree on a contract and ur butts r out u losers. Make ur stand my cwa.s hang in there,,

Stupid is as Stupid Does August 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

If you aren’t getting your health care paid for…that is your fault for not finding a job that is union, or an employer who is willing ot pay for it.
What’s that?
Employers aren’t willing to pay?
Yet they make huge Profits?
From your work I assume?
Shame on you all for letting Unionized America slip away.
I guess the next bill for bailing out Wall Street is on you?
Once America was 40% Unionized, and kids, that was the best economy this country ever saw. There was industry here, there was an ideal of sharing the profit.
Now, you who have lost everything can’t stand it when some of hold on to what we have.
Instead of being critical of us who are unionized, why don’t you unionize too?
Or is that just too damn hard for you to do?

ProudAmerican August 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm

As a PROUD, PATRIOTIC, American I believe whole-heartedly in the Unions.
It is what made America Great, and the loss of that is what is destroying the country I love.
If you have it so bad (all of you Union bashers) Then you should unionize yourselves, and stop taking crap from the rich.
The Verizon strike is probably the most important labor dispute in 50 years, and that is evidenced by the utter propoganda Verizon is spouting.
Do your research, learn the truth, and look to organize. SAVE YOURSELVES! DO NOT BLAME THOSE WHO ARE PROUD ENOUGH TO TAKE A STAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHT! STOP BEING FOOLED!

Ed October 22, 2011 at 8:58 am

For all you people on here talking about not having degrees and making 60 k a year! There isn’t one of you that could do any of these type of jobs! While there are many slackers hidden in every workforce, there are many more who actually care about the job they do.
Also, if you think it is an easy job? You are seriously mistaken.
We work in all the extreme weather conditions and in the worst working condition of all! The consumers home.
We deal with all the slack ass ceo’s wives, the crackheads,drug dealers and plain old dirty ass people.
We crawl in attics and crawlspaces, deal with animals and kids.
Most of us without the degree know how to deal with people and have more common sense than all the so called educated people.
As usual the people on here talking about what they think they know about what we do as service techs or installers or maintenance techs, you have no clue!

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