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Striking Verizon workers cutting phone lines, FBI investigates

  • Unionized Verizon workers are creating the largest U.S. labor strike in 4 years. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    Unionized Verizon workers are creating the largest U.S. labor strike in 4 years. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    The FBI is investigating reports of striking Verizon workers who have cut phone lines and committed other acts of sabotage against the telecommunications giant.

    Verizon called the FBI to investigate the claims. Verizon spokesman Rich Young said more than 90 acts of sabotage have taken place since the strike began on last weekend.

    Several thousand customers have been affected including those in New York and New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

    A hospital and police station are said to have lost service as a result of phone lines being cut.

    The strikers’ union, the Communications Workers of America, has condemned the acts.

    “CWA does not condone illegal action of any kind, and instructs its members to conduct all strike activities in accordance with labor law,” the union said in a prepared statement.

    A CWA spokesperson named Candice Johnson retaliated saying that Verizon replacement workers hired to work during the strike, also known as “scabs” have been driving vehicles into crowds of striking workers.

    Verizon’s Young accused the strikers of throwing themselves in front of vehicles, which Johnson called “ridiculous.”

    Johnson also said that in the past scabs have been hired to sabotage equipment and services in order to gain the public’s favor against the strike.

    Verizon’s wired division which includes phone lines has seen a 1.2% decline in sales this year because customers are getting rid of land lines in favor of wireless phones. The company still recorded a $3 billion profit so far this year.

    Verizon is hoping its wireline employees will agree to eliminate two paid holidays, freeze pensions, align raises with job performance and get the union to contribute $100 per employee, per month, towards healthcare premiums, according to CNN.

    The CWA countered saying Verizon’s top executives made $258 million over the past four years. They say Verizon shouldn’t demand such steep cuts while the company remains profitable.

    Unions for Verizon last went on strike for 18 days in 2000. This strike has already gone on for six days and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

    From CNN

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