About 45,000 Verizon landline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia went on strike Aug. 7, fighting management demands for contract givebacks. With the rise in mobile devices, Verizon’s landline business is declining, hence the management’s demand to
Since then, Verizon has accused striking workers of illegal tactics and network sabotage. The company claimed that several cables has been cut and service boxes destroyed across its service area, which range from Virginia to Massachusetts, leaving hundreds of customers without telelphone, Internet and television services.
There were reports of service boxes in Virginia shot, electronics stolen from offices and cables slashed.
“These acts of sabotage are reprehensible,” said Verizon Chief Security Officer Mike Mason. “In addition to inconveniencing our customers, these deliberate disruptions of our network have affected hospitals, paramedics, fire fighters, law enforcement and other first responders.”
The FBI is investigating the sabotage, according to the Associated Press. “Because critical infrastructure has been affected, namely the telecommunications of both a hospital and a police department, the FBI is looking into this matter from a security standpoint as part of our security efforts leading up to the 9-11 anniversary,” Special Agent Bryan Travers told AP in an email.
Verizon spokesperson Sandra Arnette said Verizon has recorded 210 acts of sabotage throughout its service territory, from Virginia to Massachusetts. That includes 35 incidents in Maryland and Washington, compared to the five or six usually experienced in a year.
A spokesperson for the Communication Workers of America said the union does not encourage or condone any illegal activity. “CWA does not condone illegal action of any kind and instructs its members to conduct all strike activities in accordance with labor law,” CWA communications director Candice Johnson wrote.
Updated: The number of incidents were updated with the latest numbers from Verizon spokesperson Sandra Arnette.