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Two weeks ago, on April 13, some 36,000 Verizon employees represented by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers went out on strike. As this blog noted at the time, it may be difficult for most Americans to understand just what there is to strike about given the pay and benefit levels on the table — well over six-figure compensation and a 6% wage increase.
Nonetheless, the strike has continued, and as it does there is a disturbing similarity with the last significant work stoppage in 2011: suspected acts of sabotage.
Back in 2011, there were reports of more than a dozen severed cable lines in locations such as Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. In addition, stolen equipment also affected service to a police department in New Jersey. As the company noted at the time, it could have been “a dangerous situation if people need to reach fire, police, or emergency responders and can’t use their phone.” Similar acts of vandalism were reported during a strike at another company, FairPoint, in 2014.
Fast forward to 2016. On April 26, Verizon filed a complaint with the New York State Supreme Court in which it highlighted 24 suspected incidents of sabotage, including sliced fiber optic lines, in at least four states. In a press release, the company stated that such actions were “putting lives at risk.”
Hopefully no one is harmed by any acts of sabotage, suspected or otherwise. Of course, it would be best if such incidents didn’t take place at all.