Verizon Strike: Service vs. Smiles and duct tape

August 8, 2011

Verizon is on strike so this is the quick fix.

Gosh, those Verizon guys who can’t fix anything sure are nice.

Two days after Mother Nature snapped the data cable that runs 25 feet from the street to my home  — severing the home phone connection that I barely use — they rang my bell and greeted me with smiles. You heard right: smiles.

Next came a pair of handshakes with uncalloused hands, then introductions, a declaration, and a revelation: “I’m Jim, and he’s Steve. We are managers! There’s a strike!”

Me: “A strike? Really? I didn’t know that.”
Jim: “Yeah neither did we, until we got the call at about 12:15 AM.”
(I begin to wonder if the “Brand Spanking New” tag are still attached to their unscuffed hardhats. )

Me: “So, can this cable be fixed? (I point to the lifeless strand, hanging limp on the ground between my car and their van.) Should I expect my phone to be back on soon? ”
Jim: “Well, it looks like it snapped off clean. (They discuss whether a quick fix was possible, and agree it could not). We might need a bucket truck.”
Me: “So… can it be fixed today?

There is more discussion about what can be done. And what cannot. We make small talk. They speculate that the strike might be a one-day thing. (It’s not.) Its the kind of chatter I’ve never had with myriad Verizon service technicians, whose modus operandi is to roll up to the house, mount the utility pole, fix the problem, and — maybe –  knock on my door to ask me to sign some kind of work order. But today that nameless guy is probably walking a picket line, and my buddies Jim and Steve are on my front steps. Thankful for their attempt, I drive away to handle Sunday chores.

When I return, the data cable is no longer on the ground. No, its now coiled up and duct-taped to the utility pole, the business end still 25 feet from my house. I made two new friends at Verizon — too bad I can’t call them on my phone.

(Photo: Imani Paul)

37 comments

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[...] strike is not only affecting the company but the consumers as well.  One customer narrated how his visit from Verizon managers became pleasantly weird as he was able to, first time, chat with Verizon employees who were [...]

lol, it could have been worse, at least they knew how to use duct tape

Posted by quasivertigo | Report as abusive

Hi, sorry your service is out. Even more sorry that the managers that the company sent to do the job that technicians like myself (yes, im a stiking cwa unoin member) do every day with no problem. They are much better at pen and paper work. Maybe, if Verizon will stop stone walling the union negotiators at the bargaining table we can come back to work. Maybe if they stop asking every union employee to take a 20k a year pay cut while they post a 1.8 billion dollar 2nd quarter profit and pay the executives up to 55k a day (Ivan Siedenbergs compensation over the past 3 yrs for being our CEO). Then maybe a trained technician will get your service back up. I am very sorry that your service is out but I will not let my career with this company be thrown to the dogs because executives want bigger bonuses.

Posted by hhb1999 | Report as abusive

Verizon has been hiding work and making patiently waiting customers wait for inconveniant amounts of time to reestablish service. In some cases a week or more. At the same time they have been harrassing technicians about production and rules of conduct. They are making our workplace as uncomfortable as possible all the while showing disregard towards the average residential customer and concentrating on the bigger and more profitible corporations and commercial customers. During this time verizon has also made it obvious, numerous times, that they are not interested in operating or even maintaining their outside copper plant. They are trying to bully us into agreeing to give more money towards health benefits while also trying to give us less for more work. Bottom line they are looking for us to submit and accept our roles as just another number and they consider us the property of verizon………

Posted by djdozer72 | Report as abusive

Those scabs may be nice, but clearly they are not competent to do the job. Its just too bad that the Verizon management is insisting that the union workers who enjoy a middle class wage, give most of their hard fought benefits and wages back to a company that is making record profit. The CEO McAdams makes %55,000 per day, and he insists that his workers make too much. Looks like corporate greed to me!

Posted by tdubnau | Report as abusive

I’m glad they were so nice and told you they can’t fix a simple phone line, but here’s the important thing, were they wearing shirts with
they wearing shirts with the “Verizon” logo. LOL Funny, when I was an outside technician, it didn’t take 2 people to do the job.

Posted by Angelinarose1 | Report as abusive

Ha ha ha! Bucket truck! Ha ha ha! It’s a stepped pole! Ha ha ha. And these are the people the company bragged about training them for months in preparation of a strike!

Posted by Commander-Brain | Report as abusive

From my experience, that seems to be a great example of the way Verizon’s regular employees do repairs. I would honestly see work like this on any day of the year(scabs or no scabs). The customer service is HORRENDOUS and the repairmen do nothing but take naps in their trucks while they milk the system for whatever they can get. Check out youtube and you can view vidoes of all of the guys “asleep on the job”. Everytime I pass one of them asleep on the side of the road (which is quite often), I beep the horn to wake them up. I don’t know many other jobs in this world where you can get away with the cr@p that these people get away with. They take advantage of what they ARE given and take it for granted and then they cry and complain when things don’t go their way.

Posted by vwal | Report as abusive

What I have seen and heard I agree also that it sounds like CORPORATE GREED instead of customer service. Hang in there and I wish all you technicians the best.

Posted by dcrow68 | Report as abusive

@tdubnau,

Yesterday I was called back to a home to fix a problem left by the union techs from last Friday. Last week a customer’s drop wire had been torn off his house by a truck. Instead of replacing it, the union guys just put it back up again.

Three days later, we’re out there to fix it again because the customer has static on the line. When I got there, I saw that the union techs had lashed the drop down the side of the house to the electrical service instead of using new clamps. And they missed obvious damage to the cable where the blue white pair was visible and had nicked by the old clamp when the cable was torn off the house.

The homeowner also knew better than to lash a cable to electrical service with zip ties. He told us he was thinking of separating it himself when he saw what they had done.

We replaced the 150′ drop wire in an hour, safely and the service was restored. We used clamps this time down the side of the home. If it had been done right the first time, we wouldn’t have had to come out to fix it.

Posted by Onthejob | Report as abusive

It really is a shame that your service is still out, I’m terribly sorry about that. Your story was quite entertaining, yet at the same time a sad reflection of the truth. Coming from a family where both my husband & myself give our blood, sweat & tears (lots of tears in my job, blood & sweat in my husband’s), to see the kind of fix those SCABS did to you is embarrassing! They are trying to do a job that a cable splicer can do very competently, but a cable splicer first of all doesn’t TRULY know his own job for at least a couple of years-it’s a craft. These scab manager got at least a couple of WEEKS of training I believe! Even so, the cable splicers have been held back by management from doing their work because your service is on copper, and not the more profitable FIBER. On my end of the spectrum, I TRULY LOVE MY JOB, I enjoy helping MY customers & if my customer is satisfied that I solved their issue/saved them money/explained their bill/got them the credit they so clearly deserved, whatever the issue is, I feel great. This is a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION with top execs making amounts of money that are almost impossible to imagine. We are screamed at if we have a picture of a son/daughter/grandchild not in a frame on our desks, yet they refuse to fix the problem that keeps our systems from crashing, sometimes multiple times during a contact. It seems suspicious that if one of us has a customer with copper service, a major problem that may take some time to fix, that’s when the systems start crashing, which makes us look & feel) foolish, upsets our customers even more, has the managers screaming at us (WITH THE CUSTOMER ON THE LINE) & I have the oportunity to be in a place where I watch grown men & women hold back tears on a daily basis. But you know what
~WE ALL TRULY LOVE WHAT WE DO! WE’RE NOT ASKING FOR MORE MONEY! WE’RE ASKING FOR THINGS TO BE ON MONDAY WHAT THEY WERE ON FRIDAY! Mr McAdams is saying well this is what other municipalities are doing (we are not a municipality that is broke, Verizon is a corporation that is making HUGE PROFITS). He said profits have been declining over the past 10 years~Verizon just reported their profits MORE THAN TRIPLED last year to 1.44 BILLION & Ivan Seidenberg’s personal compensation was 18.1 BILLION from that….
SO, we’re not looking for more, again, we just want to keep what we’ve worked so hard for, especially since we are what gave those top execs all that money to begin with!!!

Posted by gem1043 | Report as abusive

I would like to show my support and encouragement for the Verizon workers. To have a company show their greed, so openly, in this horrible economy is disgusting. It seems as though the corporate “party” line is..”make us more money, and all of the workers can just suck it up.” Enough of this! I am in healthcare and work for a corporation as well. They all show their greed, but for this company to make that amount of obscene money, and is willing to sacrifice their committment to their customers, shows their true nature. It will give me something to think about when it’s time to continue with them or find another…..we’ll see. As for the managers coming out to that womans house, well, they are just PR and trying to minimize the fallout and make the complany look good.

Posted by starlight135 | Report as abusive

Verizon made a 2.1 bil profit for the quarter. Also, another 2.5 bil losses form the year before. For a total of 4.6 bil for the quarter.

Posted by phndoc | Report as abusive

Can you guys please stop the crying. If you dont like your job quit. How much can you guys take before you make a company close down. There are plenty of people out of work that would love to have what you guys have. You guys are real quick to say what other people are making how about someone saying what you guys are making. Or are you afraid to because you know people will laugh at you. Stop your crying and be happy you have a job right now with this economy. Get up the pole and fix my phone thats what you get paid for.

Posted by fedupwithunions | Report as abusive

My husband is a Verizon Splicer… don’t believe the BS about them making over 100K a year BEFORE overtime (which I might add, is FORCED by the company on many occasions) … I am thoroughly amused by this article … and I can tell you that my husband would NEVER leave a cable in that condition and it would not have required two employees to fix… he would hook (climb) that pole to fix your line if he didn’t have a bucket truck (which he does)… why on earth they showed up without one is beyond me. They want FAIR pay and benefits not unreasonable damands… they are getting paid MIDDLE CLASS wages … we are NOT rich but my husband works very hard to provide for us and I know his co-workers do the same for their families…

Posted by BettyRebel | Report as abusive

“I would honestly see work like this on any day of the year(scabs or no scabs). The customer service is HORRENDOUS and the repairmen do nothing but take naps in their trucks while they milk the system for whatever they can get. Check out youtube and you can view vidoes of all of the guys “asleep on the job”. Everytime I pass one of them asleep on the side of the road (which is quite often), I beep the horn to wake them up. I don’t know many other jobs in this world where you can get away with the cr@p that these people get away with. They take advantage of what they ARE given and take it for granted and then they cry…..

I would like to comment on this in particular…..Their are good and bad employees EVERYWHERE in every workplace…..but what time of the day do you see them sleeping because the trucks that they work out of are their offices, break and lunch rooms as well….they are afforded two breaks and an hour lunch period during their 7am-4pm shifts by law. so if they choose to use their lunch or break time to take a cat nap, read the paper, eat food, etc. I really think that isn’t anyone’s business. Many of the employees are excellent workers who are out their in all kinds of weather. Sometimes day and night to bring customers services back. They have GPS babysitting systems in their vehicles so that their managers can keep track of how much they are working, which would not include sleeping during work time!!!

Verizon employees they go into areas that have unsafe work conditions, whether it stems from severe storm conditions like tornadoes-hurricanes, to being robbed, shot etc. These employees are not asking for more than what they already have they are trying to protect what they have now, including their jobs! Maybe more employees should do that at their companies too. A HUGE thank you goes out to Starlight, Verizon is a VERY profitable company who is disgusting and arrogant for stooping this low!

Posted by mmbw | Report as abusive

The wire in your photo is not a “data” cable. It’s a POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) multi-pair copper “drop-wire.” It MAY have something other than traditional telco voice service going across it, but technologically there’s absolutely no difference in this wire than what’s been used for the past century. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

I retired (early) from Verizon a little over a year ago. I worked in POTS, Special Services, FiOS, and for a time, temporarily, as a FiOS engineer, a management position. Unlike some of my union peers, I don’t view all managers with contempt: there are good people and a**holes in every walk of life. And frankly, when you bother trying to see past your own interests, it’s difficult not to see how in many ways lower level management is treated worse by Verizon than union associates. No, I don’t like them doing “Craft” work. But in good conscience I have to say I don’t envy the position executive management has put them in.

So the two managers you met might have been good people; they might have been complete a**holes; I really don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. But I’m gratified they were so “nice” when informing you of their inability to do what Verizon has publicly declared their management workforce was “prepared for.”Being “nice” is really the least they can do considering they bothered to waste money and resources sending two people on a repair issue they had no intention of repairing. But as I implied above, your issue was not a complex one. In fact, a regular tech would consider it rather “run-of-the-mill” and simplistic. With a common sense approach, two people could have resolved the issue in less than an hour…. two hours tops if they came across some unusual obstacle. There’s really no excuse for your service not being restored.

That Verizon sent two men under these circumstances is rather instructive: when it comes to “wireline,” the company is far more concerned with giving the appearance of maintaining it than actually maintaining it in reality. It’s been this way for long, long time.

Yes, “wireline” IS declining. But in reality it’s far from dead. It’s not just the POTS voice service we all grew up with: it’s the fiber optics and special circuits that serve large office buildings, hospitals and apartment buildings; it’s the FiOS we view the internet over; it’s the 911 we use to call for help.

I’m not saying the issues are simple here: they’re not. But don’t think for a second Verizon isn’t trying to get everyone to congratulate the naked emperor on his new clothes.

Posted by Gant101 | Report as abusive

@VWAL do you know how much down time there is on jobs waiting for a manager to show up when reqired,or the electric co to disable electric on poles/wires techs need to work on? What do you want them to do while they wait and wait…ave a garden party? Remind me to beep at you when you are taking lunch and getting 15 mins of a rest before you go back to busting ass in heat/freezing cold/rain.
@onthejob,,,,silly scab tricks are for kids. You are going back to repair something that the COMPANY has ordered NOT TO REPAIR and only patch so the customer will switch to FIOS.

Posted by Lee123 | Report as abusive

@Onthejob: The entire content of your post is based on assumptions. I can say without an ounce of exaggeration that I’ve installed and replaced literally thousands of drop-wires. No, I wouldn’t tie-wrap a drop to an EL conduit unless I had no other choice or the customer requested it. But not once have I ever come across ANY service trouble caused by installing a drop in this manner. Not once.

You’re also assuming the tech actually HAD the correct drop-wire stocked in their vehicle. Was he a FiOs tech who had been pulled off the FiOS load to do POTS repair and thus would not even be expected to carry copper drop-wire? Did the garage he reported out of have the the proper drop-wire in stock? Did it have ANY drop-wire in stack? Since the company started instituting stricter inventory control it’s not uncommon for work locations to be out of required materials. More than once my former boss had to call district-wide in order to find what was needed to do the job. Things like this are NOT the exceptions to the rules. Techs throughout the company experience this every day. I was lucky: my boss, an exception to the rule, actually wanted the job done right. Most Techs, when faced with a similar situation are simply told, “I don’t care how you do it, just clear the ticket.” Not “fix the problem,” but “clear the ticket.” I trust you know the difference.

“Clear the ticket.” The Verizon repair mantra. “If it had been done right the first time, we wouldn’t have had to come out to fix it.” Really? I can’t even estimate how many times I would have loved to have been ALLOWED to do just that.

I’m assuming you’re a VZ manager doing “strike-duty.” Are you a Field Foreman? Frankly, it doesn’t sound like you are based on your comments: they show a lack of awareness about daily I&M work; they sound like they’re coming from someone who assumes everything will be “best-case scenario.” It seldom is. But in case you are a Field Foreman, let me save you from telling me I don’t know what that’s like, because I do: I’ve done that job more than once and for extended periods of time. I know it’s no walk in the park; I don’t think Field Foremen have it easy. Unlike some of my union friends, I don’t think you’re a scab either: you were already on the other side of the line, you didn’t cross it. But like most people you’re not too concerned with seeing things from any viewpoint other than your own. You may think you’re walking in a Field Tech’s shoes, but you’re not. You’re doing their job under very different circumstances than they do. You’re being very selective in how you’re comparing yourself to them.

And if you’re not a VZ manager; if you actually crossed the picket line? Well, then you are a scab and I’m sorry I wasted so many words on you.

Is it possible, and I’m not saying it’s necessarily the case, but is it possible the Tech did the best he could given the circumstances? Did you even consider that for a minute? Or is does that not fit in with your chosen preconceptions?

But ya’ know what? Maybe the Field Tech in your post is every bit as bad as you’re implying. I’d be the last one to say I never came across a lazy Tech. But that doesn’t matter because you’re still missing the most obvious argument against the implications you forwarding. What about the house next to the one you were called to? What about all the ones down that street? What about every house you passed on the way there and every one you passed afterward? What about those? The vast majority of those have VZ service of one sort or another going to it. If the Field Techs are as bad as you’re insinuating, if they didn’t “do it right the first time,” why is it that you’re not stopping at more of them?

Posted by Gant101 | Report as abusive

@onthejob: Gant101 is 100% correct. Because of our 5th level manager who mandated that she had to approve all orders, our garage has been out of drop wire for 2 months. Only 2 weeks before the end of the contract did supplies start coming in. This is deliberate by management to make the field techs look like the bad guys. There have been times where our dispatch will tell us there is no work, yet the next day we may get a trouble where some elderly person has been out for over a week. Real nice. But every time we get there, we put on that smile and reassure that customer that we’ll do the best we can. Besides, if the 5th level manager is micro managing everything from on high, doesn’t that mean level 1-4 managers aren’t needed. Now there’s a concession.

@fedupwithunions: It’s not that we don’t like our jobs. In fact, I absolutely love my job and want to keep what we have. We’re just sick of the BS from above making millions of dollars and then crying poverty just to rape the working class for more. This wasn’t a fight that we started. The company is on the same union busting rampage that started in Wisconsin. Do some research before you go and make rash comments. You want to complain about the economy and taxes. Just search and you’ll find that verizon didn’t pay any federal taxes even though they made huge profits. Cry about that! That means that the taxes you pay are just going into the pockets of those executives you are now defending.
And for the person complaining about the techs sleeping in the trucks. That same 5th level manager I mentioned earlier mandated that the techs have to take a 1 hour lunch no exceptions. What else is there to do in the hot summer sun or the cold winters? What would you do?
So before all you union bashing idiots go on ranting and raving about how good you are and how bad unions are get the facts first from many sources and think for yourself. Don’t just take what corporate new media tells you on the tv! Just like sheep.

Posted by Commander-Brain | Report as abusive

To fedupwithunions, nobody is crying here we’re standing up and fighting to keep our jobs, a good job…..today’s economy really has no bearing on our cause here….Verizon is posting record profits in today’s poor economy!! You should really do your homework because Verizon isn’t any where near ready to go under. You must be confused with another company. That’s why we want to keep what we have!!! Instead of trashing our fight with your jealousy of what we have, stand up and fight to get some of your own!!!

Posted by mmbw | Report as abusive

@Gant101 Today I came back to a home with line trouble that one of your brethren “fixed” a couple of weeks ago. That too had a bad drop wire that they kept and bridged on a pole using a DSL NID and held together using electrical tape. Inside they house they had the tip side attached to old inside wiring that was a) unused and b) shorting the system.

I am a manager and I’m frankly amazed by how many jobs I’m coming across that had been handled badly by the same techs that are fighting performance based raises. No wonder. But with my limited experience and training, I’ve still climbed poles, tested and replaced pairs, found errors in pair to binding post records, solved them, and got service back in order again.

I’ll add my truck is not an I&M truck so we have have had to quickly resupply ourselves, use the suboptimal tools, and clear 5-6 jobs a day in our 12-13 hour shifts. Some are fast, but some require fixing bad work.

Make all the excuses you want, but I’ve had a couple of customer thank us for finally correcting something that past techs didn’t fix. I don’t know what I’m doing. I have three days of experience.

I suspect that our problems are local, and have to do with a few people who don’t care. Most of our techs do, and do a good job. But the union does its best to protect the worst of the bunch. I see it, and the customers know it when their service goes down again.

Posted by Onthejob | Report as abusive

Well, I miss working with the outside and CO techs as a former NOC Technician. I am with another company now, that does not use union employees. I loved working at Verizon, but back in 2010 they told me they wanted to get rid of me because I had the least amount of seniority. Not becuase I was a good NOC tech, just because I had not worked there long enough. Verizon forced me to quit I job I loved and was good at just because I was in the union. The sad thing is, I quit the union after being at the company for the first 3 yrs

Posted by mstiffster | Report as abusive

I am a former Verizon employee. I worked as an operator for almost 18 years, I haven’t worked for Verizon for three years now. I was paid well for my service. I raised my family with a moderate level of comfort. We had health benefits, and the people that I worked with, for the most part, were proud of the service that we provided for the customer. After years of being told that customer service was the most important thing, and we were to help the customers, if we could, through experience and personal knowledge as well as the procedures for their job functions, and if we couldn’t, then we were to switch the customer up the line to someone who might be able to help them further.We were suddenly told to basically forget all that and handle as many calls as physically possible, regardless of whether we helped the customer or not. As a matter of fact, I was once told by my manager, “sometimes giving the customer the right number is not always the correct thing to do”. Needless to say, I was stunned by that statement, considering that was my whole function at Verizon in Directory Assistance.

I worked in the same building for over 7 years. The same building I worked in during the entire time of my employment with Verizon only to come to work one day to find signs up on the walls saying there was a danger of asbestos in the building and people running around in hazmat suits removing the asbestos while the workers were told to go to their positions and do their jobs with no protection whatsoever. This removal lasted over a week.

In short, I have news for you, the consumer, Verizon DOES NOT CARE ONE BIT ABOUT THEIR CUSTOMERS OR THEIR EMPLOYEES. All Verizon cares about is making money at the cost of service, quality, and even providing accurate information.The employees at Verizon for the most part are hard working, knowledgeable assets that are being abused by the company and abused by the customers, because of the restrictions placed upon them by the company in trying to help those same customers all so upper management could make ridiculous “salaries” and bonuses that they didn’t deserve off the hard work provided by their lower level associates, and since the government has placed so many regulations on how much Verizon can charge for their utilities, the only way for upper management to budget in their HUGE salaries, bonuses and perks, is to cut the pay and benefits of the people who have been making all those remarkable profits possible in the first place.

After working for Verizon for those 18 years, when my health began deteriorating to the point of making it impossible for workers like myself to even perform our duties to the satisfaction of the customers, I was let go from my position in Directory Assistance when I was getting ready to be able to retire, citing ridiculous excuses as the reason for dismissal. The truth is that I was let go because I, along with most of my fellow employees really wanted to help the customer instead of just saying that. Customers are ultimately the writers of the employees checks including those huge salaries of upper management. The customer’s needs are not being met.

I understand the frustration of customers who rely on Verizon for their communications needs. They feel that the employees are paid quite enough now and have enough benefits now, but , now with this contract negotiation, they want to cut their employees pay and benefits even more. They don’t want to cut upper management’s pay, or their benefits, just the low level employees who are quite literally scraping by as it is with today’s economy.

WAKE UP AMERICA. VERIZON DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOU. ALL THEY CARE ABOUT ARE THEIR PROFITS. Please support the workers who genuinely want to help you. Make Verizon take notice that they are accountable for the customer’s needs and wants. THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO, as a utility company.

Posted by Jakrok | Report as abusive

I have to say that the majority of these comments are true! There are times when you’re waiting for a call…or on hold with another department….or waiting for someone else to show up to direct traffic for you so you can do your job SAFELY! Have I seen some sloppy work by lazy techs? Yes. Does the service they’re working on get fixed? Yes. Is there more than one way to fix a trouble? YES. One man’s trash is another’s treasure; just because I think it’s lazy work doesn’t mean it’s not right. Should it have been tied to electric? No. But as was stated in another comment, maybe there was some other extenuating circumstance.
And for the hater that thinks we’re just out for more money: get a clue and some education while you’re at it!! Just because you’ve never had a union job and therefore think all we are is a bunch of whining lazy slobs who just want more money, you’re dead wrong! As was mentioned earlier: we are trying to PROTECT what we HAVE; what we’ve fought for over the last half century. We’ve protected our rights, our jobs, our benefits and i’ll be DAMNED if i’ll roll over and sh*t on what others have sacrificed for ME to be here today!! So, go ahead and cross the line if you dare, you low down, good for nothing, scumbag, pathetic spud of a SCAB!

Posted by 1122pride | Report as abusive

@VWAL we know who you are… Don’t throw rocks in glass houses! Some people are disgruntled for being fired for being drunk on the job. Now the one’s of us who union works POTS or FiOS. We work an honest 8hr day, with completely unrealistic demands to throw in the work and get to the next job.
@onthejob We have been told that the customer is not always right. The investor and the stock-holder are more important to the vice-president of Verizon.
The new Motto now is do alot more with whatever you can scrounge up.

Posted by cwa2201south | Report as abusive

@fedupwithunions

I would call you an idiot, but I don’t want to give you any type of credit, because even an idiot can see that no one is complaining about their job, or even how much they make. And as for MY position with Verizon, I really LIKE my job, most of us DO. I have been with Verizon for 15years and I am extremely grateful that I have a job like this, especially in the economy’s current condition, once again, most of us are.
When Verizon decided NOT to consider our proposals on a new contract, that is when we had a problem.

Now,get behind your keyboard and try to respond to this with any facts you THINK you have.

Posted by kikz | Report as abusive

Even with the wireless technology the fiber optics connecting the cell sites to the network are still needed and a significant amount of cell sites in areas outside of urban areas are copper fed. In large urban areas Verizon business customers utilizing T1 and other HICAP services are getting their services over the copper plant that Verizon still needs to maintain but is barely able to take care of on a day to day basis, due to downsizing and cost cutting on the optimum maintenance on the existing copper and fiber optic cable in place. The customers are paying top dollar for these circuits which are failing them daily causing down time and lose in business. The deteriation of our Phone and broadband infrastructure should be no surprise look at the rest of our infrastructure in the United States. Give it another decade and we will be right there with the rest of the third world countries and you can think companies like Verizon who have outsourced and cut services to the bone and continue to not be able to figure out why there customer service rating is so low, but rely on the outside technicians to satisfy the customer who has been pissed off by the customer friendly automated service you get trapped in when you have any issues be it good or bad. Oh and by the way also disciplined if one of the 15 or more matrix’s we are measured on drops below a bogie some bean counter who does not know the day to day variables a technician my run into to install and maintain our provided services in a neglected network and unrealistic productivity quotas. If Ivan is willing to give me just a percentage of the bonus he received last year I would gladly retire early and be one less dedicated employee Verizon has managed to get rid of. Until then I will be one of the many to fight for what an employee at any company in the United States is entitled to.

Posted by tlm | Report as abusive

im sorry your service is still out…wish i could help but until verizon decides to come to the table and willing to work with our union your service will be affected…..even wireless because cell towers are fed off the wireline backbone…i know because i work on the t1 lines that feed the towers…WE trained competent techs feel all of the publics pain..thank you all for your support…..ONE PROUND PHONEMAN

Posted by proudphoneman | Report as abusive

@onthejob you said its was a brethren that did the repair. are you sure about that when verizon has had non-union contracors before the strike even started. ps.. if only the tip was connected to a bad wire like you said that wouldn’t be a short it would be an imbalance.

Posted by CZTIIibew | Report as abusive

*
This strike is not just about Verizon employees and their benefits and pay. This strike is about how “CORPORATE AMERICA” wants their cake and they want to eat it as well. There are A LOT of people out there saying “those people should be happy to have a job”. Yes, I am happy to have a job. But think about that. YOU, would have a job too if “CORPORATE AMERICA” would stop sending our jobs overseas. And the jobs that are here, people are underpaid and overworked, so the CEO can get a bigger bonus. A person used to be able to work a job and support a family. Not the case now. Why? Because the people at the top want it all and will do anything to get it. Unions give the people a say and “CORPORATE AMERICA” will do ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING to break the Unions. Once they’re gone, try getting them back. It won’t happen. Just because you may not have ever worked for a Union, don’t think that a Union just causes problems for the company. The only problem that arises(for them),is that now, YOU have a Voice!!! PS: Do some research on Unions. They are the reason that “some jobs”, are “GOOD JOBS”. The reason people want to work for companies like Verizon,are the benefits and job security (Which would not be there if there was not a Union. And by the way, the Union is YOU and everyone else, coming together, to keep what should be ours. We work hard, and its all of our hard work that makes or breaks a company. So when the CEO’s get all those millions in bonuses, they have only those that work that 40+ work week to thank. And this is the thanks we get. “Hey Verizon employees, thanks for all the hard work, but we need bigger bonuses, so we want to take away everything that you have worked so hard to get and keep, and we’ll just blame it on the economy, everyone else is, so why can’t we”.

Posted by proud2B-UNION | Report as abusive

As a former verizon sales consultant/customer service rep as well as the spouse of someone still working his a$$ off to support verizon’s greed, i’d just like to say that I can verify 100% that the comments made by jakrok are so on point its scary. What I mean by this is it is true that verizon does not care about its employees or its customers just about making more money and I don’t mean more money for us, I mean more money for them. I am saying this after being cheated out of numerous sales awards throughout the years as well as being told one day I’m doing great and then the next having my job being threatened because I actually wanted to be on the phone longer than 2 minutes to actually help a customer. Yes america you read correctly, we were reminded daily and repeatedly that we had to do what we can to get the customer off the phone because the next call may be a sale.oh and let’s not forget that our jobs were also threatened if we didn’t underhandedly add an additional 30 dollars to the customers bill with our broadband extras and essentials,you all know what I’m talking about, those mysterious charges that show up on your bill the next month after you called in to get clarity on your bill or to report a problem with your phone line. And that’s just one of many “dirty little secrets” that verizon expects its employees to keep to themselves. Please don’t fall for the hype that is corporate america(b/c verizon is not the only one) these union members are fighting to keep (barely) middle class wages, pensions and affordable healthcare all things that they had to fight to get in the first place b/c any of them will tell u, its hard as h*ll to get a job with verizon and then its a constant,day to day struggle to keep the job and keep from going insane from the stress.so give them a break and show your support. I’m done

Posted by kgb04 | Report as abusive

good morning to all!! to all those anti union people i wish you could talk with us on a one on one basis. we could enlighten you on what conditions we work under. since we cant i will try to fill you in on a couple of things.i do beleive it started with our 5th level mgr. who wanted our crew rooms to look like” her pantry”. no personal pics of any sort,no calenders ,no drawings from your children ,NOTHING,except vz official documents.next came the supply ordering moratorium. its tough to get work done when you dont have the right supplies. techs going to other garages to “borrow” their supplies.it got pretty bad at times.try to get batteries for your test equipment and the foremans reply was “dont have or cant order them so go to the store and buy them yourself,we will reimburse you.” great reply for a multi billion dollar PROFITABLE co. next came the “great truck cleanout ” all tools and most supplies to be removed and trucks to be made to look like “retail centers”. no duplicate tools or excessive supplies on the truck,along with no personal stuff like pics of our families and american flag decales and readig material(other than vz approved).the garage locations were also stripped of anything that didnt look important. thousands upon thousands of dollars of technical equipment and tools went out the door into dumpsters then the landfills. computers,desks ,chairs,speciality tools,circuit cards and even partial boxes of drop wire (thats the stuff wrapped around the pole that started this conversation). i apologize for being long winded but i could go on for a long time with more tidbits. the point im trying to make is that we do the best we can with what we have.we are given productivity goals and mandates( 1hr mandatory lunch…) that are just not attainable all the time,with the threats of discipline if their not met. its not an easy enviorment to work under. and to finish it all off the co. comes at the beginning of july and offers us a contract that strips everything away that has been gained in the last 50 years.plus gives us only 28 days to negotiate it.( i believe vz only showed up 2x for talks).i am sorry for lazy workers,EVERY industry has them,but the vast majority of our workforce DOES give a damn and cares about the work they do and the customer they service. PEACE & UNITY!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by phonemanphil | Report as abusive

I need to put my 2 cents in on this debate. I have been on both sides of the coin as an associate and as a manager. As an associate, i know there is a lot of the stuff that everyone has posted above, its unfair, too many rules, etc. However, as an associate, i saw so many things that were unfair. Such as getting bombarded with work because I did my job. Not even that I was outstanding, just doing your job makes you a star. My customers and my managers loved me because I did my job and didn’t bitch and whine and moan about every little thing. thats what happens when you work for someone, you have to do the job that is asked of you.
On the flip side, as a manager, I had employees that would not do their job. They refused to listen to coaching, refused to ask for help, and when I tried to help (which would lead to discipline – especially in the instance of one rep telling me to sit my ass down and read her email since I did not send her what I claimed to send her – shocker but I did) nothing happened. I would have to go to arbritration and take it back. And then she would go out on FMLA. Guess what, while she was out, not a single customer complaint. When she came back, the whole cycle started over again. But I will have to say those are the exceptions and not the rule.

The contract how it is written today is from times when there was no competition and Verizon was fat and happy. Times have changed and so does the contract. There are very few companies that pay FULL 100% benefits to their employers. Verizon spends $23K per year for each associate with benefits, pensions, etc.

As a manager now, I pay for my benefits. And I don’t have a pension plan. But I have a job. And in this economy isn’t that important? There are so many people that would love to have a job like that. And the people that have them do not appreciate it. While we are at it, why don’t we put some pressure on the 15% of the workforce that abuses FMLA and doesn’t come to work on a daily basis. They are sucking the company dry. Wouldn’t your life be so much better if you had a full workforce every day?

So I do think that associates should pay something for benefits like most of the world. And be happy that you are getting that. If you don’t like that then leave. Really, go find something that will make you happy.

I see most of the reports that say Verizon’s executives make too much money and I cannot disagree. However, that is not the issue on the table. From what I can see its benefits. If you don’t like what the executives make then better yourself and become one. Give up your life and your family to do nothing but Verizon all the time. Go into debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the education that gets you there. Quit screwing with the 1st level managers that are killing themselves right now to keep their job.

Posted by lamey37 | Report as abusive

If the associates do not get back to work, they won’t have to worry about their share of the benefits or pensions or how much the executives make. Because the company won’t be here.

Posted by lamey37 | Report as abusive

So its about millions of $$$ and greed? They want union members to contribute only $100 per month towards their health care? Say what? Merit increases based on performance of the member? You mean VZ actually wants to give you a pay increase based on your performance??? No way! No more MLK holiday?? But they want to give you 5 paid personal floating holidays that you can use on any day through out the year?? Whoa that’s just wrong – This cause would have been better suited if the union made #1 issue outsourcing of jobs OUTSIDE of the US. The union should be willing to negotiate or bargain. To most of the unemployed workers in the US – it appears the union is saying give us all or give us nothing. There are plenty of the 9.1% of american workers that would love to have that opportunity.

Posted by ForReal | Report as abusive

Then changing to another type of phone service was not such a bad idea then. Good luck with your quest guys.

Posted by funguy | Report as abusive

I’m a Verizon technician currently and was also a manager for a short period of time.

@ lamely37, I am very much like you in the sense that as a technician I do my job, service my customers and am not an FMLA abuser. It was unfortunate how Verizon screwed it’s managers a while back especially their pensions/benefits. Unfortunately, you as well as I know, that when you took the management position, you had no protection. If you did, you and others would have fought to keep what they were trying to take.

I agree about the FMLA abuse but unfortunately that’s a govt program be mad at them. You also forgot to mention that while FMLA time is excused it counts against your retirement so the abusers will be working long after their 30 years in order to collect their full pension.

@ ForReal, I and most union members are not against making contributions to our benefits but the company is being unreal with their demands. Lets look at your gripe about merit increases based on performance. For years I’ve been installing FIOS service. I am not one of the technicians (bosses favorites) that gets cushy work or gets teamed up. Trust me there are plenty of techs that do. 95% of the time I get new non existing FIOS installations (and my area is all aerial). Anyone who’s had new FIOS service installed can testify to how involved (labor intensive) and timely (4-6hrs optimal, without problems) it is. Earlier this year the flavor of the month became our job productivity and we complained to no avail because the techs that do the cushy work looked like superstars. Guess what, nothing happened. There is absolutely no way that work can be distributed on an even keel for what I do. We work in very dynamic environment and there is also too much back alley dealing going on between the managers with regards to our work distribution. In addition our productivity reports are based on an average so all it would take is a few bad days during the course of a month to affect our monthly totals. Sorry, but I don’t think it’s fair I get screwed out of a raise when I bust my butt everyday.

Lastly, Verizon Execs love to complain about their losses in the wire-line business. You need to make a distinction when it comes to that end of the business. Verizon has two outside plant networks, the old copper plant (POTS DSL T1 etc..) and it’s new FIOS network (Voice/Data/Video). Now I agree that when POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) and DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) were Verizon’s bread and butter that wireless and competition (cable/VOIP) were eroding the business but that hasn’t been the case for a while now. The Telecomm end of the company is continuing to be viable as a revenue source that’s why Verizon pumped BILLIONS into establishing, expanding and migrating it’s customers onto it’s FIOS network. Earlier this year at a meeting our third level manager stated that the company was making a profit on FIOS. My work location services 2 counties and we average 200 new installations a day and our area is no where near saturation. How many companies have invested BILLIONS in their infrastructure and are seeing profits in only 4 years during a recession?? Now think about it FIOS is a great product with the addition of another income stream (Video) and Verizon markets the hell out of it. Even with that who makes it happen and ultimately successful the people on the ground not the managers. If we(associates) weren’t placing the plant, fielding the calls, making the sales, provisioning the services, setting up the equipment on and in homes, making repairs then it’s all a nice dream. Verizon needs to remember that. Also, you can’t blame unions for the 9.1% unemployment in this country, what you need to be doing is getting out there and voting. Business drives job creation but its hard for business to thrive when your government has flawed monetary policy, financial and trade regulations that make it more lucrative for business to exist/operate outside the US.

Posted by phoneboy800 | Report as abusive