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.