Digital Bounds Logo

Verizon goes on strike in New York

Last week, over 36,000 Verizon workers participated in their third consecutive week of strikes, creating the largest strike against a major corporation in America since the last Verizon strike of 2011.  I was there and got to witness the strike and even did a live stream of it on Facebook.

The workers I saw were stationed outside of a giant Verizon store in New York, though many of the strikes occurring are along the eastern coast, according to the strike worker’s website. The workers on strike compose mainly of technicians and customer service representatives. They’re fuming over an estimated 5,000 jobs that were outsourced to the Dominican Republic, The Philippines, and Mexico…but that’s not all. They’re also pissed about being expected to move without notice to different states, lack of seniority status for the moves, and the lack of bonuses stemming from Verizon’s 8.9 billion dollar growth last year.

Verizon’s defense in the cuts is that the technician’s jobs are becoming less desirable as people disconnect from landline service. However, their sales of the fiber optic network Fios and their lack of committed investment in it since 2014 contradict some of the philosophies they shared during the net neutrality debate of 2014.  There’s also the elephant in the room that (with a possible pay raise) Verizon could coax these workers into expanding the Fios network across more areas, but as many employees have expressed, layoffs and  “encouraged resignations” still occur on a frequent basis.

Verizon, like many other telecom providers at the time of the net neutrality debate, argued that the fees collected from users who were willing to pay for fast lanes would spark increased investment in emerging technologies like Fios, but as time has moved on and as Verizon has demonstrated through their relatively slow roll out, Fios doesn’t seem to be the top priority as they portrayed.

For an interview with the two strike workers that I talked to on the day of the strike, and more info on the current and past strikes, check out this week’s Podcast Episode