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I doubt this will stand up in court. Out of tens of thousands of striking workers, Verizon feels the need to punish 40 for what they claim are violent and racist activities.  

“We respect the rights of our employees to peacefully picket and protest during a strike. However, the actions of many individuals in the August 2011 strike violated our code of conduct and in some cases, violated the law,” Verizon said in a statement to the Globe. “This has nothing to do with their rights to peacefully picket. It has everything to do with making threats of violence, engaging in physical violence, running people off the road, making outrageous profane or racist comments and more. Many of these activities were egregious and unacceptable and as a result, we’ve taken appropriate action.”

We think this is a heavy-handed technique that Verizon is using to pressure us at the negotiating table,” said Paul Feeney, legislative director of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

He said that while the strike did become heated, the union workers did not break the law. “The union is going to fight this through the court,” he said. “The company couldn’t prove to us that they did anything wrong.”

This is the key.  Verizon wants to be perceived as tough on strikers. Step out of line and you'll be fired.  

If the fired workers were engaging in violent activities such as making threats and cutting cables, if there isn't any conviction there isn't cause for termination.  If Verizon can't prove these individuals are guilty of these activities they will lose in court and lose big.  

It would be interesting to know if all 40 workers fired were from the same state, as this was a multi-state strike.   And it will also be interesting to know how Verizon decided which employees to fire over strike activities.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 05:54:23 AM PST

  •  More lies from the bosses. (7+ / 0-)

    If the workers had actually been violent the bosses would have used their bought and paid for legal system to prosecute them to the fullest extent.

    We should rid our ranks of all impotent thinking. All views that overestimate the strength of the enemy and underestimate the strength of the people are wrong. -- Mao Zedong

    by GiveNoQuarter on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 06:06:41 AM PST

  •  Wow, bold move on their part. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure they know they'll lose this, but would prefer to 1. get rid of those employees (even if it means paying a settlement) and 2. smear their job record, rather than keep them on.

    Justified anger does not grant you unrestricted license.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 06:10:26 AM PST

    •  Yes Destroying Not Merely Defeating Your Enemy (3+ / 0-)

      is the classic corporatist and rightwing approach.

      The maximum possible cost to a global corp for such an infraction is not even measurable, whereas the cost to the individuals of winning the maximum justice, eventually, is often enough to break them. Sometimes for life.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 06:47:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does the Union Contract require convictions (0+ / 0-)

    before a person can be terminated for acts or threats of violence?

    From the diary:

    If the fired workers were engaging in violent activities such as making threats and cutting cables, if there isn't any conviction there isn't cause for termination.  If Verizon can't prove these individuals are guilty of these activities they will lose in court and lose big.  

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 10:27:56 AM PST

  •  these terminations are not about the last strike. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    They are about the next strike. The August strike was extremely effective. Workers represented by the IBEW and CWA were intense (in a positive way) in their picketing. Most would do their assigned duty and volunteer for more. They understood the issues. The very profitable VeriZon is attempting to exploit the economic environment to crush their middle class workers. Hence the re-branding of VeriZon to VeryGreedy.

    BTW, none of these terminations were for alleged vandalism.  This is all about putting a chilling affect on workers in the event of a subsequent strike. Negotiations continue, but they are no closer today than the day the contract expired.

    If CEO's and their brethren have employment contracts, why do they insist that their employees don't need one?

    by JDPITALIA on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 12:40:02 PM PST

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