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Continuing their ongoing disdain for working families, Verizon announced May 30 that it would be laying off more than 600 workers in New England and New Jersey, despite making record profits. The layoffs also come at a time when customer complaints in the affected areas are on the rise and the quality of service is declining.
New Jersey will lose 382 wireline technician positions, while the New England area is slated to lose 306. The proposed layoffs could go into effect as early as September.
The cutbacks threaten not only basic upkeep and improvement of the company’s wireline service, but future build-out of Verizon FiOS – the only all-fiber optic commercial network in America – putting needed investment in high-speed broadband at risk, says Boston IBEW Local 2222 Business Manager Myles Calvey:
"FiOS jobs are wireline jobs and by cutting its existing work force, Verizon is putting big paydays for its top executives above building a world-class telecommunications infrastructure."
Calvey represents more than 6,800 Verizon employees in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
This comes on the heels of anti-union activities by Verizon that led to a strike in 2011:
Negotiations between the telecommunications giant and the IBEW and CWA on a new contract remain deadlocked, with Verizon putting the same package of givebacks on the table, including eliminating the company’s pension plan, giving management more leeway to outsource jobs and dramatically increasing health care premiums and deductibles.
As a result, more than 45,000 workers from New England to Virginia struck for nearly two weeks last August to protest the company’s draconian cutback demands.
At the same time Verizon is cutting its work force, the company’s wireless division continues to lobby for its proposed monopoly with Comcast and Time Warner – a deal which would end competition, raise prices and discontinue the development of a high-speed Internet infrastructure.
In January, Verizon Wireless announced plans to purchase $3.6 billion worth of spectrum from a consortium of top cable providers including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox. If approved by the Federal Communications Commission, the telecommunications giant would begin offering “quad” play – combined video, Internet, voice, and wireless service.