Verizon Union Talks Continue As Court Injunction Issued For Strikers

State court orders strikers in multiple states not to block Verizon entrances, worksites or to harass fill-in workers.

Potential settlement talks with unions representing 45,000 Verizon wireline operations employees, including about 5,400 in New Jersey, will continue over the weekend in search of a "fair" settlement, a Verizon spokesman said on Friday afternoon.

Near the end of the first week of the strike — called in the at 11:59 p.m. last Saturday night — talks had moved back to Philadelphia for the unions representing striking workers in New Jersey and south, said Rich Young, a Verizon spokesman.

Young said he believed that demonstrators for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, local 827, representing New Jersey, had returned twice at the end of this week to picket across North Maple Avenue from the Verizon Center, based in Basking Ridge. Young said he had heard of no problems.

However, Verizon had earlier sought an injunction against unions in multiple states against union members alleged to have blocked access to Verizon facilities, sabotaged operations and harrassed managers who have been assigned to fill in for the duties of striking wireless workers and related office personnel.

Earlier in the day, a state Superior Court judge in Sussex County issued an injunction similar to an order already issued in the past few days in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware, Young said. He said a requested court order is pending in Massachusetts.

The order is applicable to all IBEW local 827 bargaining unit members, their dependents, minors, households and relatives, according to details on the injunction posted on the union local's website.

"IBEW, Local 827 does not condone any acts of violence, vandalism, or destruction," said a statement on the website from William D. Huber, president and business manager for that union.

Two days ago, in saying that Huber then said that the union had not received reports of Verizon's then-claims of vandalism and union workers' refusal to let non-union workers enter some work sites.

Huber was not available for comment late Friday afternoon.

The court injunction, which is statewide even though issued in Sussex County, advises employees that they may exercise first amendment rights to free speech, but face other restrictions.

"You may not threaten, obstruct, intimidate, or harass Verizon officers, agents, employees, subcontractors, or the general public," according to the reproduction of the injunction on the union website. "You may not block any ingress or egress of any Verizon vehicle or contractor vehicle," it added.

"This will provide clarity and enable our managers to do their jobs," Young said. 

The injunction also prohibits "acts of violence, vandalism or destruction to Verizon property, premises, or any worksite." The court order, as per the website, allows six pickets per entrance to any Verizon property, premises and worksites, including contractor worksites.

Other stipulations in the court order allow mass picketing, grouping, and congregating, but only 25 feet from any entrance, or on public streets leading to Verizon property or worksites or contractor worksites.

In previous interviews, Huber has said Verizon's management is trying to roll back the progress that the union workers have made in almost six decades of collective bargaining. Some of the negotiated issues involve safety and a Verizon plan to scrap a longstanding health plan relied on by workers and their families, he said.

Huber also said there are documented reports of Verizon's fill-in workers violating some of the union's safety rules,

Verizon has addressed its position in an online statement on bargaining with the unions, including its contention that most union-represented employees pay nothing for health insurance costs. 

"The company is proposing that its union-represented employees pay a portion of their health care premiums, much like the majority of other Verizon employees," the site said.

The two sides also are disputing whether non-union employees with temporary training are qualified to fill the union members' duties while they are on strike.

clarke August 14, 2011 at 02:39 AM
buck0516 - I see the data that is audited by an independent party and that data shows that on $41 billion in revenue, wireline segment makes less than a billion in operating profit. Operating profit doesn't include interest on debt, corporate costs, taxes and other charges. Accordingly, the wireline business is one that needs to be rationalized seriously. It comes down to can the company make a decent return for its owners (shareholders) or not? If not, then time to pursure another strategy. You and your unions are the ones who have chosen to walk off the job, live with the responsibility for your own decisions and what ultimately happens to you, your job and your union. Its your choice, your responsibility and your life. Deal with it. If some of the 14 million unemployed decide they can do your job and do it for less, tough luck for you.
clarke August 14, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Buck0516 - I also suggest you drop the class warfare stuff. If you want to be CEO, go get an appropriate education, work your way up and do what needs to get done to be CEO. Until you have the skills to be a CEO you shouldn't really go there, because its an argument that shows you know little about what it takes to be a CEO.
c.s. August 14, 2011 at 02:52 AM
Somebody want to cut my lawn,no tax of course?
Lynda Buckley August 14, 2011 at 03:33 AM
Class warfare? I never mentioned that. You seem to have a serious disconnect from the middle class reality. Verizon had a 6 BILLION dollar profit and does NOT pay taxes. Do you know what it takes to be a CEO, Clarke? And is it worth $55,000 a day? Is it worth that when 14 million are out of work? I wonder if you asked that CEO what he would be willing to give back and sacrifice, what his answer would be? Do you know anyone who should get $55,000 a day when the economy is in the crapper? And if you say a CEO who 'leads' a company to make 6 billion in this economy, I'll ask you again, why shouldn't the workers who made it possible, also benefit from this? If Verizon needs to make cuts, they should start at the top. After all, if there is no middle class America, who could afford $100 a month to watch FiOs? Verizon is sitting on $100 billion in revenue and showing net profits of $6 billion last year. Verizon’s Chairman is paid 300 times what an average worker earns and he is set to receive $36.75 million dollars this year in total compensation that doesn’t include the rise in his stock, which currently has an estimated value of $76.5 million. He will make more than $100,000 PER DAY! But what you think is middle class should continue to bend over and take it and not fight for what they deserve. Sorry Clark, I won't do that and will fight to keep what I and other working middle class deserve - why is that so wrong. Why isn't Corporate Greed wrong?
clarke August 14, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Your obsession with executive compensation is pathetic. If you don't like your wage, go work someplace else, its a free country. I am sure you can find better elsewhere.
Lynda Buckley August 14, 2011 at 06:42 PM
No, not obsessed at all. The fact is the wireless network which is generating all the company’s profit, rides the same network as its wireline portion. There is only one network. It’s only wireless until you hit the first cell tower. So while wireline is labeled as “struggling”, it’s actually doing all the support and maintenance work for the wireless division, but getting none of the profits; therefore, looking like it’s “struggling.” Wireless gets a free ride off the Verizon network. So in essence I am also a part in supporting the wireless division as well as running the fiber optics for Fios. With the billions of dollars in profits, in which I am a part of the company acheiving, should not be asking for the 100 concessions they are demanding from the workers.
Lynda Buckley August 14, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Yes it is a free country. I'm just trying to hold onto what I have to support my family. I work hard everyday as most middle Americans do. However, this country is in a crisis. Jobs are being sent overseas. My wife has recently lost her job due to the book manufacturing business struggling to compete with Asian manufacturers. How can Americans compete with some one who most likely makes $0.20 per hour? What is happening to the middle class makes my stomach turn and we are the ones who support the local and government programs. I am fighting to keep what I have as a hard working American. I am not asking for anything more, just a fair contract. And Verizon demanding for 100 concessions is not fair. America's middle class is quickly becoming smaller and America's poverty class is rapidly becoming larger. One day middle class America will wake up and I won't be surprised if we see the same riots happening in Greece, also happening here in the United States. If what I believe in and stand for makes me "pathetic" - then I guess I am, Clarke.
EL Diablo August 14, 2011 at 10:26 PM
verizon is putting the public and these unskilled scabs and managers in danger.seeing these replacements attempt do this work is scary.............for your safety i suggest everyone stay clear of verizon scab workers,until this strike is over................
clarke August 15, 2011 at 01:01 AM
I find it really difficult to believe that the wireless segment is not charged for cost of access from the wireline business especially since 45% of the wireless business is owned by Vodaphone. Do you think for a minute that Verizon would eat 100% of the expenses of access to the network from the wireless side and only keep 55% of the revenue? Oh please. As for your claim on who pays most of the income taxes in this country, I suggest you take a look at who is paying the vast majority of the income taxes, and its not the middle class, most who are paying very little in income taxes. The IRS recently released its 2009 data, you should check it out.
c.s. August 15, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Verizon is a fantastic company.
Lurky Loo August 15, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Verizon is NOT putting us in danger...the strikers are and there is no justification for the violence, throwing your children in front of ANY vehicle, cutting cable lines, flattening tires and the stalking of workers at people's homes when they are trying to work. They are responsible for their own actions!
Lurky Loo August 15, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Yes Verizon IS a fantastic company. Certainly much better than their striking workers. I mean really, does someone really have to tell you not to throw feces?? Unbelievable, I hope they all get fired and their scabs get their jobs. People are disgusting! http://nation.foxnews.com/unions-protests/2011/08/15/verizon-strikers-instructed-not-throw-feces
clarke August 15, 2011 at 11:36 PM
Only classy people throw feces, drop nails, glass and other puncture devices, didn't you know that???
CommonSense August 18, 2011 at 02:01 AM
bucky, with all due respect, you are somewhat pathetic. Have you ever heard of the free market system. I guess you, Obama and Lenin believe that you and Seidenberg should all be paid the same. Interestingly Seidenberg started in the man-holes as well, but had sufiicient skills to ascend. The reason he makes 55K a day is because the directors couldn't find anyone else to reap Verizon's hefty profits for 54K a day. God bless him. While your network backbone argument is interesting, it is specious. Wireless is a separate company, half owned by the Brits and they pay VZ to drive their traffic, period. Com dumped lots of dough into FIOS and has not seen much return. And finally: free healthcare?? what socialist planet do you live on. EVERYONE in private industry pays for their healthcare. One of the best things about our country is that you can always say "shove it!" if you don't like your deal. The union should either get real and take their deal, or go find a better one. good luck with that.
cv August 18, 2011 at 03:17 PM
I think the biggest problem is that verizon want to take retirees benefits way. We are all in a bad situation with benefits at this point in time. I think its time to reach an affordable agreement and move on. With rising health costs and people living longer alot of companies cannot sustain the benefit packages. It is a very harsh reality but verizon employees will feel the very real pain of the masses.
Lynda Buckley August 18, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Although Verizon would like you to believe it's only about benefits and salaries, they are demanding 98 other concessions. All I keep hearing Verizon talk about is benefits and salaries. If that is the case then they should remove the other 98 concessions and negotiate the other 2 in good faith. The union is willing to negotiate. Here are a list of some of the other concessions: Wages - both annual and progression increases tied to your yearly evaluation, Eliminate Differentials, Eliminate Pay Premiums, Eliminate all Overtime Caps, Create new job titles for the consumer and business call centers that would work on a commission based wage schedule, Pensions: Eliminate the Pension Plan, Eliminate the Pension Cash-Out option, Eliminate the Sickness Death Benefit, Benefits: Eliminate accident disability benefits and cut in half the sickness disability benefits, Reduce or eliminate sick time pay, Reduce Paid Holidays, Job Security: Eliminate the Job Security Provisions for all employees, Eliminate the 35-mile transfer provision, Eliminate provisions in Force Adjustment Plan, Eliminate New Contracting Initiatives allowing them to increase the level of contracting, and the list goes on and on.
Lynda Buckley August 18, 2011 at 08:28 PM
There are 45,000 people on strike. I am one of them. The union nor I condone any criminal behavior while walking the picket lines. Out of 45,000 people, of course there will be a few bad apples. Instead of grouping us all together and calling us thugs, why don't you talk to these people when you see them picketing. I'm sure you will find out you are completely wrong. They are just a bunch of people fighting for a fair contract, that has more to do with just salaries and benefits.
clarke August 18, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Buck0516 - what exactly is wrong with a salary increase tied to a performance evaluation? I assume that if you do your job to a high level you will receive a pay raise, if you don't then you don't deserve a pay raise and potentially should be considered for termination. I am not close enough to the other concessions you list out to be able to comment on them but some of them seem fairly minor with others sounding much more consequential. What do you mean when you refer to "elimiinate all overtime caps"? Does that mean you can work as much O-T as you want? When you say reduce paid holidays, well how many paid holidays do you currently receive? Most employees at big companies I know of get 10 or 11 a year. As for job security, most employees have none, why should you guys be any different? Help the rest of us understand why we should stand up and be supportive of you folks?
Lynda Buckley August 19, 2011 at 05:44 AM
Salary increase tied to a performance evaluation - that all depends on who is evaluating me and what guidelines they are using. The union is still trying to get info from the company to more clearly define this concession. I personally have a problem with this. My immediate suppervisor as well as most others are not trained in doing the work that I do. As I'm sure you may know, you can put a person in a position of a manager to manage people without being qualified to do the person's job. The managers have just gone through training to "fill" in for the technicians in the event of a strike and are still struggling out there as we speak. None of the managers were ever trained in how to install Fios. We currently get 10 paid holidays, the company is looking to eliminate MLK and Veterans day. As for job security, nothing will be keeping the company from outsourceing jobs overseas. So if you have trouble with your phone or need to talk to someone at Verizon, be prepared to talk to someone in India. We should be keeping jobs here in America. Not outsourceing them. No, we do not work as much OT as we want. Again, these are just a few out of the 100 concessions that Verizon is demanding. Our union is trying to obtain and supply documentation from Verizon supporting these concessions. They have failed to do so almost two weeks into the strike. All we are asking for is for the company to negotiate in good faith.
cv August 19, 2011 at 12:13 PM
Buck thank you for the clarification.
clarke August 19, 2011 at 02:39 PM
In the real world there is an agreed upon criteria in advance for performance evaluations. You know in advance what your goals and objectives are and if you meet them, great, if you don't then its your own problem. 10 holidays seems fine, if they want to get rid of MLK and veterans day then they should give you 2 floating holiday days instead. Most of the country doesn't get those 2 days off but common practice is to get floater days you can use at your own discretion. Like it or not, the tech support we get from folks in India, Singapore and elsewhere isn't all that bad, you need to get over that point. What are some of the other issues? These that you point out seem pretty minor and easily agreed to.
EL Diablo August 20, 2011 at 11:48 AM
agreed upon criteria means nothing to verizon management.they do whatever they want and tell you to grieve it and tie up your pay for two years.2 floating days sounds good,but you could not use them on a monday or friday only when the all mighty verizon allows you,how about wed.overtime caps /if the workload is heavy workers must work 10 or 15hours overtime depending on what month it is.verizon wants to remove those overtime caps.so if you worked your 10 or 15 extra hours in a week,they could just pile work on you and demand you finish it or sit home next week and not get paid.while extra workers sit home on a verizon scheduled day off who want to come in for overtime but will not be called in.so if you coach little league,or have a funeral to go to it will all have to wait ,until the days worth of extra work is complete.
Joe Samanich August 20, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Buck, Clarke sounds like he is jealous of union workers. He forgets that it was unions that pushed for a 5 day work week, vacations, etc. He probably works more than 40 hours due to the power that companies now have as unions disappear, fearing losing their jobs if they don't. Even Verizon managers now have to take their company cell phones and laptops on vacation, giving the all mighty Verizon sway over their "free time". $55,000.00 a day is ludicrous, no one person should be making that type of money. Clarke, protector of the over paid corporate leeches, these so called "leaders"are arrogant, money grubbing jerks. They use every tax loophole to get the taxes that they pay, down to 15% or less. They constantly send jobs overseas so they can continue to get their mega pay. As far as Siedenberg working his way up, he was put on the fast track, doing underground work under the Grand Concourse in the Bronx due to the fact he couldn't pass, what was then known as switchman, test. By the way, Clarke are you one of those so called, "executives" or just a worker bee being used by by them?
clarke August 21, 2011 at 12:19 AM
Clarks is self employed little Joey. Do you know what that means? It means Clarke pays 100% of his healthcare, Clarke pays for 100% of his "retirement", it means Clarke not only gets to pay the employee portion of FICA, but also the employer portion, and there is no limit on compensation that Clarke gets to pay about 15% on vs $108,000 cap for employees. So whine away about getting your healthcare paid for 100% by the company, your retirement paid for by the company. You generate no sympathy and deserve none.
Lynda Buckley August 21, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Well that explains a lot. As per your own words: You don't like your job, go work someplace else, it's a free country.
clarke August 21, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Actually Bucky, what it means is that people that actually carry their own water have no sympthy for folks like you. I love what I do and wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world. I am also glad your little strike was a failure, now get back to work.
Lynda Buckley August 21, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Get mentality - if I don't have, then nobody else should. The strike was a failure? We've been asking to work under the old contract while the new one was being negotiated from day one. Verizon and their "trained" management couldn't handle the workload and they needed us to come back. Please - get a clue. Better yet, dont - ignorance is bliss.
Joe Samanich August 21, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Clarkie, Clarkie, Clarkie, so your self employed but still hate unions and happy you don't have to pay them. But running your own whatever, do most pay you cash? Are you one of the great underground economy. Hmm could be. I pay part of my medical as a retiree. Yes, the CWA and the IBEW should pay part also as most everybody today does. But they do have some bennies that should not be taken away. Verizon has been trying to go non union for a long time. But they do lie, Clarkie, when they talk about losing money on the wireline end of the business. Contrary to most folks thinking that wireless is truly wireless is, well BS. After coming off a cellular tower it goes to wire, through wire in the Central Offices and out to another tower. So Verizon making everyone think they need cellular phones is both a myth and job killing. Cellular has a very long way to go to be truly wireless. Clarkie, do you know that those IBEW workers keep land lines running, and cellular, in the CO's by maintaining the plant and the power that is needed to run all phones. Do you know that if their are power outages most cell sites have no backup power. Hence no cellular service. If you buy into FIOS, you have a battery on your house that you are responsible for. With the IBEW folks in the CO's, when power is lost, they make sure that the diesel engine kicks in for many hours of backup followed by hours of battery power. With FIOS and cellular you are on your own. Hoping your closest tower has a generator
Joe Samanich August 21, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Or that you have that spare battery at home for your FIOS. With wireline you don't have these problems. Have you dealt with the wonderful Verizon services of outsourced jobs that are in Mid-Far East? A sure time waster. Please, Americans don't carry translators in those languages in their pockets. Also, many Verizon management today, never worked in any of the craft jobs the company has. They have no clue. It's nice that you work by yourself (self preservation not having to deal with others working for you?), baring any economic turn downs, which preclude folks paying you. No union protection. Yes you are still jealous, because unions fight to keep folks in jobs here in the " great"? USofA. Your job is always in jeopardy due to economic situations, such as now and probably going forward as America becomes # 2 or more to China and India, etc. Where our "great" business "leaders" have sent our jobs to.
clarke August 21, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Joey, perhaps you should go read the SEC filings, the wireline business barely earns an operating profit on a huge revenue number, $41 billion if I recall. The wirelesss busienss is owned something like 45% by Vodaphone. I meet alot of people who don't even bother having a land line, most people consider it a waste of money and who can blame them. So its completely understandable that Verizon needs to get its costs in line with its shrinking business model, The shareholders own the business, not the unions.


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