Verizon Strike: Judge Rules To Limit Picketers at Garage Entrances

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mike Paleski outside Verizon headquarters (WNYC/Arun Venugopal)

On the fifth day of the Verizon Communications strike, only a specified number of workers were allowed to picket company sites after a State Supreme court judge in Manhattan Wednesday ruled in favor of an injunction filed by Verizon.

Only between six to 50 workers were allowed to protest at each Verizon entrance per site, depending on the number employed at a given location.

The company alleged that picketing workers were blocking trucks from leaving garages around the city and were involved in other acts of sabotage.

John Bonomo, Verizon's Northeast Director of Media Relations, said the judges ruling will help keep the peace.

"For a customer service point of view it was important to get the injunction and also from a safety point of view some of these situations did present themselves with very tense situations and we don't want that of course."

But Bob Master, a spokesman with the Communications Workers of America, said the decision won't affect them very much and they'll continue to maintain lawful, militant picket lines at hundreds of locations.

“Our members are very determined to last one day longer than the company is,” Master said. "I think they feel they’re really drawing a line in the sand for middle-class Americans across the country.”

Verizon’s John Bonomo countered that “many of the elements in the current (expired) contract are holdovers from an era when we were really a monopoly business. New York Telephone was the telephone company serving these few regions back in the 60’s. The term telecommunications wasn’t in anyone’s dictionary at the time and we had a guaranteed rate of return — that’s no longer the case and we need to change the way we do business. We have to look at how to manage this business for the next 40 years.”

Negotiations continue between CWA, The Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Verizon Communications. About 45, 000 workers from Massachusetts to Virginia are participating in the strike.


More in:

Comments [40]

gg from bklyn

Why don't the union buy the old land line business and keep the same contract w/their workers. Only then will they see that they have a bunch of losers, thugs and worthless piece of union employees that would rather come to work to not work than just do their job like the rest of America. I was appalled seeing the striking workers on TV act like a low class bunch of children and thugs. Hope you'll strike for 2 years and let vz get rid of the old lines.

Aug. 01 2012 08:13 PM
christopher K. from bronx, NY

both CEO's and verizon workers are greedy. Do you know that a technician which just a high school diploma at verizon is making about 100k a year for doing absolutely nothing. While someone else with a master's degree in a different field is averaging 60k per year. I hope they all get fired.

Aug. 17 2011 01:01 PM
For Greener Pastures

I'm so tired of hearing "share the wealth". I don't anyones hand-outs. It's not a matter of "sharing", it's a matter of fair compensation determined by an employees percent contribution to company profit. We want our portions of the revenue that our work is generating! No single person has earned $55K/day (the CEO's income per research by it out)single handedly for a multi-national corporation if the one's on the floor generating that revenue are making $8 an hour.

Aug. 16 2011 04:48 PM
ed from nj

It is a shame what is happening to this country. If you open your eyes you can see that corporations are shipping out jobs to other countries so they dont have to pay AMERICANS. The CEOs want bonuses and raises but dont want to share the wealth. Why hasnt one single bank executive been investigated or charged with a crime for the behavior of the banks that started this economic mess in the first place? Why are americans not upset that they have to work for 30 years for a company making millions upon millions and yet have to pay in their medical and now are NOT EVEN GUARANTEED SOCIAL SECURITY WHEN THEY RETIRE? We need to ask our ourselves what is going on...We need to make our POLITICIANS understand if they enact rules that benefit CITIZENS AND NOT COMPANIES then they wont be do you think theyll vote then in congress?

Aug. 16 2011 01:46 PM
Dan Thompson

Verizon is jumping on , following the rest. That guy in Jersey is the DEVIL!! The economies down turn was their first excuse to break unions, but the funniest part of it all was they started it all. My boat is bigger than yours! God will be the final answer.

Aug. 16 2011 10:17 AM

RE: Me from Tulsa

It sounds like you are an employee of the company. A non-union worker, manager or Verizon Wireless employee perhaps? If you are an employee, I would assume you know more about this situation than the rest of us. I have several questions for you.
You mentioned the things you don't healthcare, pension, unlimited sickdays (although I highly doubt that they have UNLIMITED sickdays...who would come to work?). Would you like to have these things? Why don't you have these things? If your company could afford it, shouldn't you have these things? Should executives within your company get raises and bonuses while they turn to you to make concessions? Here is something that is very, very important and please understand....I am 100% positive that everything that they have that we don't have was bargained and negotiated for by the workers that worked there before you. Verizon didn't "GIVE" them anything. They stood united to get what they wanted. We really need to take a step back, think and look within ourselves. These people are fighting to keep what those before them fought for! I really don't understand why we as AMERICANS can't see that. Why do we continually side with millionaires and billionaires? Is it because one day we hope to be them? We always take the negative response.."I don't have what they they shouldn't either!!!" Why are we thinking like that? As I said in an earlier post, If the company that I work for is extremely profitable, we should be asking the question "Why don't we have what they have????"

Aug. 16 2011 07:36 AM
Me from Tulsa

If you want to share in the profit then contribute to your 401k. The strike is all about you. The rest of us do not enjoy pensions or free health care. The company has treated us fairly and raised our wages to industry standard from the MCI wages we were previously receiving. We pay for a portion of our health care. We don't get unlimited sick days. I use to have some compassion for your cause but after watching the youtube videos (search on verizon scabs) I'm embarrassed at your conduct and name calling. You sound more like a bunch of rioters and hoodlums than Verizon employees.

And lastly, don't include me in your "Saving the middle class." If that was the case you would have went on strike before your contract ran out.

Aug. 15 2011 11:12 PM
Me from Tulsa

If you want to share in the profit then contribute to your 401k. The strike is all about you. The rest of us do not enjoy pensions or free health care. The company has treated us fairly and raised our wages to industry standard from the MCI wages we were previously receiving. We pay for a portion of our health care. We don't get unlimited sick days. I use to have some compassion for your cause but after watching the youtube videos (search on verizon scabs) I'm embarrassed at your conduct and name calling. You sound more like a bunch of rioters and hoodlums than Verizon employees.

And lastly, don't include me in your "Saving the middle class." If that was the case you would have went on strike before your contract ran out.

Aug. 15 2011 11:11 PM
joey dee from NEW JERSEY

Most of you non union workers haven't got a clue.It's about decent jobs, American jobs.Not taking whatever scrap or bone your thrown and being thankful for it. Its about a way of life that is being destroyed by corporate greed.When the economy nosedived and money was given to these companies by the government, they gave themselves big fat bonuses with it. remember it wasn't long ago.They have been squeezing the middle class for years,and you are going to sit there and justify this disgrace.People have died on picket lines, been beaten, black balled all so the working class of this country can make a decent living and give their children a better life than theirs Well my children's future is worth fighting for,I hope you feel the same way too this is bigger than Verizon vs workers. This is a last stand for the middle class and if your foolish enough to believe that these companies care 1 iota for your children, your sadly mistaken.God Bless the men and women fighting for this cause. America was founded on this cause. American grew on this cause and if your not for it your against it.and when you find out you could have done something and didn't you will be full of remorse. REMEMBER YOU SHALL REAP WHAT YOU HAVE SOWN.

Aug. 15 2011 09:35 PM

Ok's the deal. This country was at it's greatest when unions were the backbone of the labor force. We have been brainwashed to think otherwise. For every individual out there that slams the cwa for fighting for what's right, shame on you! From what I understand all they want is to keep what they have bargained for in the past. Their situation is different from the auto workers union and the auto industry. The auto industry wasn't profitable hence concessions from the union. Verizon is very profitable...despite what the company says about the "wireline division". That division alone made 600million profit last quarter. What's really the case is that they aren't making as much money. What really the bothers me is that those of us that don't work at Verizon balk at the workers for what they make and what the company wants them to pay towards health care. We should be looking at ourselves and be asking the question "if the company i work for is extremely profitable...why am i paying healthcare? Why are my companies' executives not leading by example and take less money and not get 15% annual increases? How much is enough? The middle class is shrinking...something is wrong! Hold out as long as you can cwa!!!! Go get'em!!!!!

Aug. 15 2011 07:31 PM
Burt from Nyc

Verizon may be looked at as being greedy. The reality is that the writing was on the wall that at some point this was going to happen. If not this contract, then the next.
The reality is there are many workers there that do not appreciate what they have and abuse the system. They use what was collectively bargained for over 50 years to their advantage. Privileges that are needed for workers who ACTUALLY need it are abused by workers who take advantage.
Maybe if the union was more responsible with their gains over the past 50 years, verizon wouldn't ask for as many givebacks. I guess we will never know....

Aug. 15 2011 09:13 AM
desmond from bronx

its funny how many people dont know wats going with the strike.we r fighting for our future . everyone is judgin about they have to pay healthcare but each company different. the company make money u should too .y let the company make all the and u dont get any thats crazy .know the facts first before shooting off ur lip service life is wat u make it

Aug. 15 2011 02:59 AM
tlinkon from Bronx

The workers are pathetic.
I have a good job and I have the following:
I contribute to my health care.
I only have 5 sick days.
I do not have a pension.
My raises are based on performance and NOT time served.

Verizon workers who are on strike should all be fired. We have a 9-10 percent unemployment rate in the US. Give some of those folks the VZ jobs, at least they will appreciate it.

Aug. 14 2011 07:13 PM
Michelle from Pittsburgh

Ok so I've been reading through the comments and yes the Unions did have a place in the workforce many many years ago when benefits were nonexistant and working conditions were harsh and even sometimes dangerous. Now we have laws in place to prevent those types of's called OSHA, etc.

Some of you say you want to keep your pensions....ha so would I! I would LOVE to have money automatically put into my retirement while my non union coworkers actually contributed to their 401k! Get over it....traditional pensions are disappearing and will soon be a thing of the past. I understand your pensions would be kept intact and would only have to start contributing a portion like your COWORKERS. Geez isn't that terrible? What is this world coming to?

Someone below mentions executive greed. Well guess what...that has always been around and always WILL be around...that's what makes our country what it hard and move up. If you work hard, get some breaks and get educated you could also someday be a CEO. If you are envious of those reaping the rewards get off your lazy behinds and go out and start a business or create a new product or service. I'm getting tired of people complaining about its not fair, blah blah blah. And Tina my cousin works for Verizon in NC and she said Verizon does share the giving workers a 10% bonus every spring. Stop with the "handout" mentality or move to a socialist country. It's a proven fact that nowadays, unions destroy companies. Why do you think GM (a very heavy union company) and other union companies had to get govt bailouts a few yrs ago? Why do you think the post office is in such terrible shape and is billions in the red?

Some of you talk about greed...well guess what? You are greedy yourselves...yes you are just like those CEOs you are trashing. You want benefits and privileges over and above what non union Verizon workers are greedy people! What makes you think you are better than your non union coworkers? Such hypocrites.

Aug. 12 2011 04:49 PM

Oh yeah - the MLK comment .. VZ is taking that away - but in turn giving what is it 5 paid personal floating holidays that can be used for MLK day or any day the member wants

Aug. 12 2011 12:51 PM

So its about millions of $$$ and greed? They want union members to contribute only $100 per month towards their health care? Merit increases based on performance of the member? This cause would have been better suited if the union made #1 issue outsourcing of jobs OUTSIDE of the US. The union should be willing to negotiate or bargain. To most of the unemployed workers in the US - it appears the union is saying give us all or give us nothing.

Aug. 12 2011 12:47 PM

You all seem to have half facts ! Ok Verizon has made 6.9 billion dollars this year the stock holders got there share ! Why is it that the people who put on the lines in dont have any right to share in the profits ! Why is it that the ones who go into manholes climb poles and work in vehicles with no heat and no air spend many hrs away from there families to make sure after a storm you have you tv or phones. But these people should take it all give back everything they have fought for over the last 50 years ! So when the going gets tough we get rid of the people who did the actual work ! Nice job Verizon !

Aug. 12 2011 12:43 PM
David from So Cal!

Why bring up Ivan's salary and compare it to a tech? The guy is the freakin CEO of Vz...what do you expect his salary to be!? These union member demands are ridiculous! Asking for MLK off...really!? Screaming that their pensions will be taken away...get the facts straight: company won't contribute to pensions any more and they'll grow based on interest. What do you think the rest of the non-union works do!? Seems to me that the landline union workers realize they're today's version of the milkman: useful once upon a time, but it just got easier for people to buy milk at stores...just easier to go with a wireless plan than have to deal with landlines.

Aug. 12 2011 11:53 AM
Cubicle93 from Massachusetts

Verizon executives are delighted to know that so many Americans are willing to simultaneously display both a slovenly worship of the wealthy and powerful, and the willingness to sell out their own mothers for the chance to sell themselves cheap.

Consider the following:

Page 44 of the Verizon 10-K report for the year 2010 includes the "Compensation Tables" for the company's top executives. They indicate that Ivan Seidenberg received $18,166,006 in 2010 and similar amounts in 2008 and 2009. That’s more than 200 times what one of Verizon’s union represented technicians received even when shift differentials and overtime are included. Broken down to a 40 hour week, Seidenberg received about $9000/hr.

Remember this figure the next time a company spokesman complains about union wages and ask why you're not receiving a more appropriate share of the pie that your time and effort helped to create.

Aug. 12 2011 10:42 AM
Quinn from Massachusetts

I find a majority of these comments nauseating, short sighted and most of all, selfish.
Let's start off by saying this: If you don't have a pension, a 401k, a comprehensive benefits plan or paid sick time benefits, then obviously you don't work a job which has been union for over 100 years and has sat on a picket line to fight for those things. I'm a 4th generation telephone company laborer and from when my great grandfather joined the first union till today, we have spent YEARS on a picket line to get what we have today. Just as is the general attitude in America, most of you have no problem reaping the benefits of things my family (or the labor movement in general) has fought for yet will be the first to complain if our fight doesn't directly and immediately benefit you.

If you believe that the standard of living should decrease and that we should bring our standards down to what our laboring competitors in India and China have, than you look forward to reading fairy tales to your grandchildren about the days when people COULD have pensions and COULD have comprehensive benefits because if the last people willing to fight for these things lose, these things will NEVER come back.

Aug. 12 2011 09:35 AM

It's not about paying for benefits, it's about them taking our pension away.

Aug. 12 2011 07:54 AM
Mike from Ashburn

MEF we are brothers in arms and I've been in the dust bowl as well. I too fought for freedom of speech but you can't tell me you agree with some of your union pals running around destroying property, assaulting and intimidating their coworkers and cutting fiber lines to hospitals, fire departments and 911 centers? What is next, throwing molatov cocktails at Verizon trucks or Verizon employees driving to work, trying to make a living for their families? Some of those who are doing violence are no better than those we have been fighting in the sandbox. The good news is the company and public is starting to capture these criminal activities on camera and will soon begin prosecuting those idiots. Their actions are embarrasing, unethical and unamerican but I do thank you for your service....Semper Fi.

Aug. 11 2011 11:33 PM
Ronaldo Malpho from Charlotte

I used to work at Vzn as well and thank God wasn't a part of the union. You union people...give me a break about just trying to make a living for your families...I'm making one for mine which includes paying for part of my medical premiums at my work place which these union people DONT! And it's not about saving your jobs from offshoring. The reason many companies are offshoring is due to blood sucking UNIONS who suck the life out of companies. Why do you think Boeing is building their second 787 plant in SC (non unionized) instead of in WA (unionized)? And the WA union is trying to stop them from building it because "it isn't fair"...waa waa. What suprises me most is all of these acts of sabotage that these union lowlifes are doing. These hooligans are cutting fiber lines, purposely breaking equipment and who knows what else. Those who are doing this are on the same level of those mobs running around in the UK this week blowing up stuff. Who works for a company then destroys company equipment? Criminals? Thugs? Deviants? Especially when it affects First Responders? I say fire all of them and replace them with ethical people who are willing to work hard and pay their fair share like the rest of us!

Aug. 11 2011 10:34 PM
The Truth from NYS

Verizon is finally well managed and not about to give in to overpaid, low class trash thugs.

If the rest of middle class America can pay towards health benefits, they should too.

Most of the US DOES NOT have a defined benefit pension plan-most are lucky to have a 401k. Verizon is just asking that they move to a 401k LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

To the lowlifes who are threatening people here who cross the line because they are willing to work for what is reasonable pay, you are losers and will likely be arrested.

Oh, and I am not one of them but someone who praises Verizon to standing up against this nonsense. Yes-executives make a lot but the ridiculously high pensions and benefits and salaries of these workers has to be dealt with.

So, basically, you union trash think you should have more in pay and benefits than EVERYONE else?

I remember about 10+ yrs. ago when there was a strike and one or two Verizon employees died when they tried to cut a phone line (like you criminals are doing now). You see, they were too stupid to be able to tell the difference between an electrical line and phone line.

Verizon, best of luck to you and start lining up other workers and call centers so you can fight back against these thugs that threaten you and people who want to work for a days pay.

Aug. 11 2011 10:18 PM
qze from ny

My 80 yr old parents have stock in verizon and the dividends pays some of their bills. It sounds like the unions don't understand when they try to intimidate corporations to make bad business decisions, they are taking bread off a lot of old folks tables. the unions are at least as corrupt and amoral as the corporations they attempt to extort.

Aug. 11 2011 10:17 PM
I MEF from Norva

I st Marine Division, Kay I fought in Desert Storm as well as many co-workers of mine. We fought for the freedoms of this country and its citizens. One is a right to protest, as many of my brothers are fighting for now in Iraq and Afghanistan. I've done the hardest job in this world, put my life on the line so that you could have right to type your nonsense on you computer in the comfort of your home. I left the military and started with this company now Verizon then Bell Atlantic, and I without a doubt have earned my right to strike, collective bargain and anything else I deem necessary to better provide for me and my family. So don't think you can you use hot button words like the life of my military brothers and think you have made a valid argument. We serve we come home and we work hard. I have real job and I am not ashamed of it, I will do what I need to do and wont roll over for a bunch of rich people who give themselves 1.6 million dollar raises after ten days of CEO, because you think I should. I fought and earned everything I have and I sure as Hell! will fight to keep it! Semper Fi

Aug. 11 2011 09:53 PM
kmeg from boston

First I am one of those "union workers" that is on strike. I know i have been fortunate to make the money and the benefits that i had. I have no issue contributing to the healthcare either what i am fighting for is to keep my job in this USA, so all of u that think this is a pissing contest about benefits it isnt ! Second its fighting for people that did their time have a fixed income are retired and now are told to now pay $300 from their $800 a month pension and start paying for benefits and have to now live off of 500 a month! and what go back to work after retirement age just to survive? i hate to think about how you treat your grandparents! shame on you !

Aug. 11 2011 09:44 PM
hello?? from albany

Hello America, don't we all deserves jobs with medical benefits? Money enough to pay our bills and enjoy our leisure time as well? Who has made these jobs disappear? The Unions?? No corporate greed and the government officials that go along with it. Why is minimum wage $7.25 an hour which keeps people at poverty level. Who did this???!!!

Aug. 11 2011 09:31 PM
mbw from FL

pousxb..........Great english.............................did you learn that from the union.....

Aug. 11 2011 09:11 PM
rushj from Forest Hills, NY

Two questions:

1. Anyone remember the old Irishman Mike Quill and what he told the judge?

2. Anyone try to get VZW employees into the union? Get them to go out with?

Just asking.

Aug. 11 2011 08:57 PM
BTP from NYC

If Verizon Wireless employees can contribute toward their healthcare, the old POTS workers can too. The union workers vote to authorize a strike. You made your decision. Live with it.

And pousxb....I cross that line of thugs every day.

Aug. 11 2011 08:51 PM

Verizon Union workers make at least 27.00 per hour, do not contribute or cost share any of their benefits nor did they all these years have to contribute to their traditional pension plan. The company pays for all this plus Matches their 401K
Our service men fighting over in Afghanistan only make 37000.00 a year and have horrendous and unsafe working conditions for our freedom. I hope all these cry babies get a reality check! We are in a recession and if you think you or your union has our support or sympathy GUESS AGAIN! GET A REAL JOB AND QUIT COMPLAINING!

Aug. 11 2011 08:49 PM
Don from California

along the same line as the last post, Verizon claims they are losing thousands of land lines every day. Yes, many land lines are being disconnected. But lost? No,they're just becoming Verizon Wireless instead. The "LOST" revenue goes right back in to the pockets of Verizon! The general public has no idea how cell phones operate. They think that the signal travels completly over the air. Nope. If it wasn't for the fiber optic and copper cables that travel from EVERY cell site to a Central Office, wireless phones would be worthless.

Aug. 11 2011 08:42 PM

hey genius you realize that we the wire side Verizon workers build those sites for the wireless side right ?? We place the poles that pcs mobile and others hang their terminals on we run the cables to the switching stations and as far as Vodaphone goes you know Verizon owns them too right.

Aug. 11 2011 08:33 PM
Trudat troof checker

Um, you do realize that Verizon Communications is not the sole owner of VZW, right? 45% of those profits go to Vodafone.

Aug. 11 2011 08:27 PM
jake from Austin

Lakota Sioux, do you understand what the union if fighting for. I think you are a pea brain, don't take your personal grievance and damn your x colleagues. What the union if fighting for a decent living standard.
In time corporate worshiping finance and marketing folks will soon realize that whatever they doing to race to top is actually forcing them to race to the bottom of humanity.

Aug. 11 2011 08:10 PM

the workers are a bunch of cry babbies, verizon wants to take away martin luther king day, veterans day, maybe the union should fight to get u st patricks day and hallowwen off too. oh no they want me to pay for some of my health care

Aug. 11 2011 07:57 PM
Yi from Pikesville, MD

Confused. Verizon wireless is is owned 45% by Vodafone, a UK company.UK, where health care is completely free. So since Verizon claimed the wireless side is what is making the profit, I will think they should be moving towards making health care free from the remaining 195,000 employee to emulate free health as in UK, where 45% of American money is going to. But instead, they said, let's take that free benefit from the few and give more money to Vodafone. What a life.

Aug. 11 2011 07:23 PM
Lakota Sioux from NY

I used to be a Verizon worker a while back and all the union did was screw me with no grease. I could care less about what "Ivan" did because he was not the one to represent me when the actual deal came down, the union as you so call them promised me a bag full of air and lied to me about my grievance the whole way until someone finally let me know I didn't have a chance of a snowball in hell ... if this is what you call fair representation you sure can have it and if I have now a chance to cross the picket line, you can bet your sweet mama jama I will. I have now been forced to live on welfare so if you believe I am wrong ... well ... you know just what you can kiss!!

Aug. 11 2011 07:22 PM
truedat from ny

Verizon's excuse to demand that the union giveback everything they've ever gotten is that the wireline side of the business is shrinking.­Well it's true that people are giving up their old copper land line but who do you think takes care of the wireless network? Your cell phone call does not go up into space and come back down straight to the cell phone of the called party.It goes into a central office where union people maintain the backbone of that wireless network.Un­ion people also work on FIOS (which is where alot of the lost landlines went to,by the way) and if you say that FIOS is a money loser then I guess that former CEO Ivan Seidenberg should reimburse the company about 80 million dollars of bonus money back. Please get the truth out to the masses

Aug. 11 2011 06:54 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by