As noted in Jason’s earlier post, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union is the 2nd largest contributor to the supposedly “citizen-based” anti-SB5 group known as “We are Ohio.” I found that quite interesting, since the CWA has been in the news a lot lately because of their strike with Verizon Communications.
Now, striking is a perfectly legitimate and legal tactic to be used when you cannot come to an agreement with your employer in the private sector. But there are reports of widespread activities by CWA members that go beyond a peaceful strike, and get into illegal and morally reprehensible activities.
For example, it is illegal for strikers to block the entrances of any company facilities, but Verizon was forced to go to court to get an injunction to prevent CWA members from doing just that. In fact, it was so bad that Verizon has had to hire police officers to provide security for people entering and exiting the buildings.
|Photo courtest Pittsburgh Post-Gazette|
And they’re not just blocking the entrances. There have been acts of violence and intimidation against some of the non-union employees.
“We have had some employees who have alleged that they have been kicked, been spit on, had things thrown at them, somebody’s been elbowed,” said Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski.
Hall reported that’s why Verizon filed for a court injunction. The a quick ruling prevents any type of illegal picketing, such as blocking entrances, violent activity or interfering with the conduct of Verizon’s business.
Hall reported that shortly before noon, sheriff’s deputies had to escort several workers into the building. According to the injunction, Verizon will have to pay for the police protection, Hall reported.
At another facility, striking workers imprisoned replacement workers inside by using chains and locks on the exit.
Verizon employees looking to make a statement while on strike used chains and locks to prevent replacement workers from leaving a company office in Dormont on Wednesday.
Local police and fire crews had to be called to remove the bolts from the facility on Pioneer Avenue.
In other acts of intimidation, striking union workers are following Verizon workers out on their repair calls, and actually bullying them while they attempt to repair customers’ phone lines out in residential neighborhoods.
A Quincy mom has disconnected her support for striking Verizon workers yesterday after a group of mouthy picketers surrounded non-union repairmen and turned a phone-line fix at her home into what she is calling a “ridiculous” protest scene.
“I looked in the street and there are picketers, 10 of them or more, doing a circle around the Verizon truck,” said Karen Austin, 64, a mother of five who lives on Forest Avenue. “Every time (the repairmen) would walk up to my house they would follow them. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This is ridiculous. Why are they picketing my house?”
•Ten incidents of fiber-optic lines being deliberately cut in the Bronx, Pomona, Farmingdale and Guilderland in New York; two separate incidents in Tewksbury in Massachusetts; incidents in Bel Air in Maryland, and East Dover, Oakland and Plainfield in New Jersey.
•An outage due to stolen electronic equipment in Cedar Grove, N.J., affecting a local police department, among other customers.
•An incident due to tampering with a heating system at a central office in Manhattan.
“In addition to inconveniencing our customers, these deliberate disruptions of our network have affected hospitals, paramedics, fire fighters, law enforcement and other first responders. Verizon is working closely with local authorities to investigate these sabotage incidents, and identify and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law. And we will not hesitate to terminate any employee who may be involved in these acts.
Other CWA members posted this online threat to replacement workers brought in from other states to do the strikers’ work, referring to the CWA members as “The noose around your throat.”
One thing to note is that the strike only affects Verizon’s landline business, but that’s not stopping union picketers from harassing employees and customers at Verizon Wireless stores.
Police were called to the store three times on Sunday, on reports of picketers accosting customers and blocking the entrance. Verizon Wireless employees are not part of the strike, according to Verizon.
Police spoke to both sides each time and informed the picketers they needed to stay on the grass and couldn’t block the entrance to the store. The picketers took a lunch break and came back in the afternoon.
These are the same folks behind the union group “We are Ohio”. Is this what they meant by saying they are a “citizen driven community based” outfit?