Talks have resumed between Verizon and its unions, but workers remain out on strike over issues from health care costs to job security. No matter how big the issues in a contract negotiation, though, workers don't actually hit the picket lines unless they feel they have a real stake. So what are workers on the picket lines saying about why they're out?
On Long Island:
"We don't want anything added," Mike said of current negotiations. "We just don't want stuff taken away."
Paul Hyson, a system technician and union representative in Salisbury, told WBOC on Monday: "People come in and build these companies and the CEOs and upper echelon come and they take everything away from you and kick you to the curb."
Meanwhile, both sides in the Verizon strike are alleging bad behavior:
However, the CWA said some picketing workers were hurt by Verizon managers' cars and that one worker was knocked unconscious when he was clipped by the mirror of a manager's car that was speeding past a picket line.
Verizon said it was working with the police to investigate what happened, but noted that it believed the allegations are "totally inaccurate."
The CWA also cited a case in which a security guard hired by Verizon had punched a worker and knocked him to the ground on Monday morning. Verizon did not have an immediate comment on this accusation.
Meanwhile, the company said it was working with authorities to investigate at least 12 cases of sabotage, including deliberate cutting of fiber optic lines in 10 places and a case of stolen equipment that caused an outage.
Verizon said it did not know who was responsible for the sabotage, but noted an unusually high number of incidents since Saturday, the last day of the contract. The CWA said it would not condone network sabotage.
When you read accounts like this, there are a couple of important things to remember. First, there are 45,000 workers on strike and probably tens of thousands of managers and replacement workers. It's a statistical certainty that some of them, on both sides, are dumbasses. When it becomes an important story is when it starts looking like there's an organized campaign of violence or sabotage on one side—not something that appears to be the case.
Second, in the case of the sabotaged lines, there don't appear to be witnesses and, without making any allegations in this case, it is reasonable to note that historically companies, or the dumbasses among their managers, have not been above sabotaging themselves to make strikers look bad. But most of all, even if every one of these allegations is true, the strike has been overwhelmingly peaceful.
If you're between Virginia and the Canadian border, you may be able to join a picket line. Look here for details.
11:29 AM PT: Also, sign our petition telling Verizon to come to the bargaining table in good faith.