Since the union strike against Verizon began a little more than a week ago, incidents of sabotage and property damage have been reported, homes of company executives swarmed upon by union protesters, and injunctions issued.
While the unions, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) are trying to insist their strike against the telecommunications giant is a “fight for middle class jobs,” an e-mail purportedly sent by a CWA boss in Pennsylvania sheds some insight into the tactics the unions are deploying.
Within days after the strike began, an e-mail surfaced allegedly sent by Jon Remington, Unit 44 President of CWA Local 13000 (which covers much of Pennsylvania). In the e-mail, Remington shares the union strategy of bending the interpretation of an injunction, picketing Verizon Wireless stores to keep customers out and decrease company profits, as well as jamming Verizon’s repair lines.
While recipients’ names and Verizon numbers have been removed, here is the e-mail (with emphasis added):
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 10:48 PM
Subject: updates for mon. 8-8
Another day and no good news. The company filed its initial injunction against us in Burkes county and asked that it be applied across the state. We won an initial appeal against that request so the company would have to get additional injunctions everywhere else. Apparently our appeal was overturned because I got word tonight that the initial injunction now applies everywhere. While I haven’t seen or read the document yet, I know it limits us to 6 on a line. I am trying to learn if that means 6 at an entrance or 6 at an address. I am also of the opinion that we aren’t going to tell the company any of this. Let those bastards figure it out for themselves. If we have more than 6 at a site and the company calls us on it then make them show us their copy of this injunction. As soon as I have a copy and have reviewed it I will get it into your hands as well. If we have to we will put any extra bodies in cars across the street and they will be our flight squad to chase the first truck out.
The company is using out of state cars/vehicles that are unmarked except for verizon door magnets. There is a possibility that other Unions may be accessing our facilities whether building or manhole. If they are you may first beat them repeatedly with a tire iron then advise them that we are on strike.
District 2-13 President Ed Mooney went to new York to meet with other Union Leaders as well as McAdams and came away convinced that this could develop into a very, very long fight. There was absolutely no positive that came from his meeting with McAdams.
Keep pushing the pickets at verizon wireless. The number of stores visited daily is a part of the call now. If you are out of fliers let me know. There is a new flier and I’ll get 100’s of copies made for us to hand out. If we can generate the support of the employees (look how hard we fight for employee rights, etc.) as well as the general public it bolsters our image and public support grows. Believe it or not the public is more with us than against us right now and we need to take steps to keep it that way. If we can keep people out of the stores it will also be a benefit to us because that is money that will be spent on a competitor and not verizon. Any lost profits in wireless only emphasize our value.
The company line is that WE are greedy. The truth is they don’t want to pay our health care. Keep in mind we are already footing 7% of the cost.
So far there is very little service interruption being reported from across the state but that could certainly change. There is no telling what the untrained scab ass contractors that this company is using are capable of. A non-Union contractor could do all kinds of damage and not even know it.
A new mobilization is to get everyone in the habit of calling repair several specific times a day. For example, some at 10am others at 11am etc. to keep a steady and disruptive volume of calls slowing the companies ability to take real ones. Have everyone dial *67 first if they are nervous about their number being tracked. A direct number to repair is xxx-xxx-xxxx in case the 800 # is busy. A direct fios number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. We can start our own time table to do this. I think the biggest part is to get EVERY member doing it at different times through out the day.
Last bit of gloom for today, there has been absolutely zero progress made in talks since we struck verizon. Mooney’s feelings were described as not days, not weeks but months. The company is surprised that we went on strike!
We cannot sit back and wait. You folks are kicking serious ass! It was requested that whenever possible get pictures of families walking our lines together. Spouses and children who stop by or come for a full shift need to be highlighted and photographed. Matt B. Thanks for the picture of the kids in Bethel. It is exactly what that is about.
Mr. Sosak, excellent use of the bullhorn today!!! I think you may be getting invitations to take your show to other rallies!!
Put the word out that we have a lot of work to do. Prepare everyone that their picket assignment is not their only responsibility and we have plenty for them to do.
Get some rest. We are just getting started.
Unit 44 President
CWA Local 13000
412 480 6817
For ongoing coverage on the unions’ strike at Verizon, go here.
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com