Local Verizon Workers Join Nationwide Strike

By: Ralph Iannotti

ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – More than 12,000 local Verizon workers have joined other union workers in a nationwide strike against Verizon.

The walkout began at midnight last night, after 11th hour negotiations failed.

On Sunday, local workers were picketing a Verizon Call Center in Robinson Township, and the Verizon building on Seventh Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.

The strikers are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

“Health care is a very big issue in this strike. [Verizon] is trying to increase all the employee payments – both deductions, and premiums,” Secretary Treasurer of CWA Local 13500 in Pittsburgh, Kate McTighe said.

Another union member, John Vognovic, on the picket line downtown said, “The company is attacking everything – including wages, pensions, and disability and sickness benefits.”

A Verizon spokesman said it was regrettable that the unions walked away from the bargaining table, instead of continuing to work through the issues.

The company has said they will continue to do their part, to reach a new contract that reflects today’s economic realities.

Verizon wants to cut costs in its wired services including FiOS, call centers and repair centers.

In the first six months of 2011, Verizon said it made $6.9 billion. That is why union workers said the company should not be asking for these concessions.


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  • sowhat2011

    Excluding the technicians, these people are pathetic. get a real career.
    Over paid call takers

    • a

      Don’t hate because you weren’t smart enough to get a job that pays $75,000 a year with excellent benefits……I worked this job and would be talked down by people all the time all the while knowing I was laughing all the way to the bank, especially when the company paid me close to 100,000.00 in cash to just give up my job haha

      • Anonymous

        I worked for VZ also and management was a joke. We were paid very well but were treated like pieces of – – – -. Unless you fit it with them. I hope VZ closes alll its buildings and managment gets the boot also. VZ will be the Met Ed of the future. Want your money but don’t want to deal with custormers.

      • JSTEELE

        Excuse me have you seen the poeple that work for the EVRC lol i wouldnt call them smart. They are actually probably some of the most uneduacated people in pittsburgh. They are in fact sooo stupid they need a union to stand up for them. FUNNY Get a real job where the union cant protect you against everything and where you really have to work to make your money. Not just sit there and do nothing b/c your protected biggest babies ever. “Verizon employees” Go head verizon kick them out of there and get poeple that will represent the company the way it should be and will proudly work as a citizen of the U.S.A.

      • Anonymous

        This is obviously not a CWA member’s way of looking at what’s going on so try to pull the wool over someone else eye. You sound like a frightened member of management who knows his destiny because the guts you need to respond to this attack on the families of our country is absent. You are spewing propaganda for those who will chew you up and spit you out when your duty is over. Wake up man. There is strength in numbers. Join us as we respond to Greedy Verizon who wants to stop pay increases, sick time, and benefits for the children. One day your son and daughter will look for a way to support their children, wouldn’t it be great to tell them that you help fight to keep jobs in the USA. If you’re planning to move to Asia or Africa, you can disregard this reply.

    • Hwright

      Please tell that to you Governor! Harley

    • Who Asked You

      And what do you do that makes you SOOOO deserving in your “career”? I’ll bet you’re soooo worth your salary, and would probably work for free if need be.

    • NANA

      i canot believe the comments made here. i am a mother of one of these employees. the main topic is not just health care. you have no idea. do u have to sign off on your computer when u have to use the bathroom. ? if u are i min late on a snowey day do u get a point on your record and i could go on. yes verizon has made billions but a retired who has worked say 30 yrs is going to have adjustments bad adjustments on his check OUR COUNTRY IS GREED HAPPY .,Iam a 76 year old.my daughter and son in law work hard not as some of u state sit on your”””””. THEY HAVE CHILDREN PAYING THER OWN TUITION IN COLLEGE (no breaks like many in this country) my husband worked for 45 years cliimbing those he wasn’t sitting on his butt .before u strike out on these employees TRY WALKING IN THERE LIFE .. I

    • Anonymous

      My fellow citizen, look at the big picture. For more than a decade our elected officials have approved legislation that benefits the big companies while simultaneously chipping away at our (yours and mine) quality of life. Do you see the political leaders tightening their belts? How about the Wall St. honchos, are they tightening their belts for the cause? The answer is no. Is the picture clearing up for you yet? If not let me end this reply by stating that CWA has the American spirit which is fighting to keep jobs here in the USA. Jobs that will be here for you and the children that you love and care for. CWA members are not at war with those who have not caught on to the current events but we are asking for fairness, that’s it. If you want to work for peanuts and then get taxed by everything and everyone who write the tax codes until you are simply working just to give the money back in bills, please continue to attack those who fighting for you and your family. If not, put on a red shirt and join me on the picket line so that together we can secure our American Dream.

  • Vn

    Verizon THE MULTI BIG $ COMPANY oh boo hoo in this tough economical time.

  • Dan Mascaro

    Be happy that you have jobs. Times are tough everywhere, and health insurance costs are through the roof.

    • KK

      That is the problem to be happy that you HAVE just a JOB…You can settle for just your job and live with times being tough and health insurance costs are through the roof fight for your family and neighbors don’t just settle

  • Stay strong!

    Verizon workers ==== You have MY SUPPORT! I dumped Comcast because of the incompetence for too long. Verizon workers have been prompt, professional and courteous. Management – Raise my rates if necessary or I will GO BACK to Comcast.

  • jimb

    Give me a break, I havn’t had a raise in 4 years and my health insurance
    went up 40%. These people are very well paid and their survice sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • KJT

      How do you know what there paid better brush up on your spelling or you will never get a raise !!!

      • ABC

        I love when someone corrects spelling and has an error in their post. ^ *They’re paid.

  • lois

    when was the last time anyone had to call the phone company?

  • marie

    Alright, so “I haven’t had a raise in 4 years and my health insurance is through the roof” “Be happy you have a job”. How long will we watch the erosion of the middle class lifestlye while corporations posts profits and reward the top only. Are you HAPPY that you haven’t had a raise and pay that for benefits? Do you think EVERYONE in this country should have that standard of living? That woud make us so much less than what we should be. Instead of telling those fighting to preserve a decent living wage and benefits “You go!” , instead of supporting this initiative and letting THIS be the standard for how businesses compensate their employees….is it better to chastize them and let the billion dollar profit corporation continue to erode the middle class, all the while contributing NOTHING to the expenses cities and municipalities need to run day to day courtesy of the tax cuts…..Really? are you THAT self centered???

    Go Verizon workers…we support you!

    • Jdog

      I agree totally Marie. The Republicans are always trying to pretend that they are on your side, but really they’re eating cavier and drinking fine wine while they laugh at the middle class. Tax breaks for the rich and greedy ONLY is their theme. Just look at pig Tom Corbett, payed for ($1,000,000 dallars) by the Marcellus drilling insdustry. Then he lies to you and pretends to be for the middle class. He spends $13,000,000 for new jails but cuts early eduation.
      Of coures, in reality both of these parties are lousy. Someday we will all just be peons working for the filthy rich.

      Go Verizon workers!!!

  • marie

    p.s. “Service is spelled SERVICE” not survice

    • Anonymous

      obviously you must work for Verizon

      • Jdog

        Yuk, yuk, yuk, what knee slapper that was!!!

      • KK


  • Common Sense

    You do not have to work for Verizon to see what is happening to the middle class. Corporations have succeeded in creating the “drowning man syndrome” in this country. What is happening is that the middle class is being turned against itself. People are saying “well I don’t make as much money, why should they?” or “I don’t have health insurance, why should they?”. What people do not understand is that “they” is actually us. We are being squeezed and squeezed while corporations are getting all time high profits. You have Tea Party members who want to further enlarge CEO compensation by reducing corporate taxes. All of this is being done at the expense of our middle class. People need to wake up and see what is going on.

    • PAT

      i can’t believe the crule comments people are saying . this is terrible. one thing to those who are making comments about fat people i would love to see what u look like did u ever hear love your neighbor as yourself . .you are one of these angry people who make trouble because of your hateful words. for those looking for jobs try calling verizon and see WHERE THE CUSTOM SERVICE IS LOCATED IT’S IN INDIA.VERIZON SENDS PEOPLE TO THAT COUNTRY TO TEACH THEM I KNOW I CALLED.. SO WHAT DO U SAY ABOUT THAT/?. PEOPLE HAVE FAMILIES MAYBE MANY ARE THE ONLY ONE WORKING FOR THERE FAMILIES.. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO JUDGE ONLY THE MAN UPSTAIRS.

    • Anonymous

      omg! i couldn’t have said it better myself!! don’t forget in these ‘times of financial crisis” verizon make BILLIONS of dollars profit a year.it’s not like they are hurting-it’s nothing but corporate greed

      • Linda

        Just because a company is making ‘billions’ of dollars does not mean they should give the employees more than what they signed up for. Those picketers don;t look like they have missed a meal in years so what is the problem. And Chaz is right the woman holding the cigarette in the photo made my sympathy for better health care go down. If you manage your money you wont have to front middle class or picket when your credit or welfare card doesn’t swipe.

      • KK

        Amazing that the focus has leaned toward fat & lazy …oh I get it since it is not you or your family that you have to fight for you have no idea what is going on with the employees on the picket line stop ASSUMING…. ..you know what that means …and I don’t know anyone who goes to work just to make enough to live on …vacation..enjoy life…the people commenting must have low paying wages and I mean $32.00/per hour and under WOW GET A CLUE PEOPLE

      • hwright

        Linda really???? You must be Republican! Hopefully someday or it has happened already your job will be attacked….. You should never support CORPORATE GREED!!!!!!

    • Harley

      There is no such thing as middle class either you are rich or poor. If you can’t afford to go on vacation for six months out of a year and keep your job you are poor. Middle Class is something that poor people made up to keep up with the Jones. and make themselves feel better about being poor. Most middle class people I wait on everyday have nice clothes, hair high lights, expensive shoes and foodstamp cards. What a joke.

    • hwright

      Something that I have been saying for soooooo Long!!! I support Verizon workers but I do not support corporate greed! Fight for whats right verizon workers because Republicans are watching you. You will be on their next agenda to crush……

  • Dave

    Entitled cry babies. Things change ,everything goes up in price, what you expected to pay the same for health benefits forever?? I work for the USPS and do I get benefits…nope. Been there for 4 yrs and nothing, am I complaining NO i’m just happy to have a job. I would be happy to pay 50% instead of 100%. Get to work and be happy or quit and let someone who would appreciate to have a job work there.

    • Chaz

      The frumpy lady is holding a lit cigarette on camera so she is not concerned about her health at all.

    • Common Sense

      Drowning man syndrome

  • Bill Wendt

    Be happy you have a job, overpaid whiners

    • Snoop

      Do those of you who type with cap locks on think anyone cares what you think?

      • KK

        Snoop..I so agree ..which proves my point even more JSTEELE you must be underpaid overworked and happy with your job…and obviously have no union protection I think you were the sympathy hire because based on your comments you could not even have passed the preliminary phone call to be even considered to test for Verizon …you don’t even have a clue how much Verizon is asking from the employees to pay and what the retirees have built thus far for years and years as I am sure your parents…grandparents..have ….oh or maybe not

    • KK

      you must be underpaid and must be happy with your job

      • JSTEELE


    • johnny

      not everyone is used to making $9/hour like you…..

  • Rick Ike

    LET THEM WALK!!!!! I can ASSURE you that there are millions of people, nationwide who will gladly take over for them at a fraction of what these clowns are paid!!!!! I was on the retail sales side of Verizon for years and TRUST me, even WE got treated like trash from these glorified telemarketers!!!!

    • hwright

      THats what REPUBLICANS WANT!!! Sorry Rick Ike it will not happen sit at the unemployment senter you lazy bum and support people that have jobs so these companies dont just keep throwing jobs away…. THis way people should wake up and realize UNION are needed in this country…

      • JSTEELE

        actually its kinda funny im not a republican and i know people who work for verizon…i know what they make and there ben. This is the problem they are picketing in my home town which causes traffic and the police are called every ten minutes cuz that doesnt cost money!! lol a major inconvience for everyone…I hope verizon doesnt give in and those losers go without a job. Tell you what i will work for 12 bucks an hour and ill pay for my benifits and be happy with that…too bad its a union job or verizon would have upright good citizens working for them instead of a bunch of shammers trying to sham more money for doing nothing. o and fyi its not cool that verizon employees picketing are throwing coffee and hitting people trying to get into the building… wheres the union police dept when that happened?

  • Anonymous

    Cry babies sit on your big butts and be happy you have a job. With so many people getting layed off. They can’t even find a minimum wage job right now..

    • Anonymous

      Drowning man

  • 2059

    Let Managment do their jobs. STARVE them out, I guarantee they’ll get hungry before Verizon does.

  • Anonymous

    amazing comments – If you don’t like your job, your salary, or your benifits,- you are free to go find work elsewhere. I guess the unions ( a whole 7 % of the workforce ) are so great, why isn’t the workforce 100% union ?. Unions did a great job 80 yrs ago – today we have OSHA, NLRB, Dept of Labor, EEOC, and a host of other GVT depts that do the same job the unions did. Basicaly, unions are out dated. I’ve been union for the last 20 yrs. I have watched them fight tooth and nail to get a POS worker their job back numerous times. There is no incentive in a union job to do BETTER than the worst person, because you can’t be rewarded for a job well done ! everyone makes the same. My family has been pro union since the 1930s’ but not anymore. Unions cry about company profits as if they are entitled to them, how about all the UNION members purchase the company and then they can divide the profits amongst themselves ! better yet – how about all the union members start their own company ! My contract is up next month, perhaps another company will appreciate my $200+ a month. Go unions ! …pffft.

    • Anonymous

      I doubt you were ever in a union troll. Quit lying and go to another site.

      You have obviously never been in a position where you actually need someone to make sure you get paid a fair wage. White collar workers have all enjoyed benefits do to unions too. But as I said, you’re just a Rebulican troll on here lying.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry to upset you, I’m no troll – I’m with AFSCME – nuff said, I stand by my comments. Yours however are that of a typical union thug, i I’ve had to deal with your type for the past 20 yrs.

        Paid a fair wage ? lol – like I’ve said, If you dont like it – go get a job elsewhere, you must FEEL your entitled to something… pffft.
        Republican troll ? nah – I’m an Independent – I can think for myself thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Sure, in this economy, STRIKE!!! maybe they’ll loose their jobs and someone who really wants or needs a job can git it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • KK

      That is the problem wishing the bad on the hardworking and someone willing to fight for something …LIKE family ….why wait for VZ employees to lose their jobs how about go out and find one on your own not piggyback….Pathetic Really

  • jenn tautkus

    comments are amazing…so much to say about how wrong the employees are to fight for what they have and not give back…such strong words and name calling by the people…you say others want their jobs and quit your whining…and that they are overpaid and everything else….well if your so sure of yourselves and that you are the “right” ones then why not put your name out there? Why are you anonymous or just letters or numbers….if you want to act tough with your words then by all means be a big boy or girl with your words and insults and put your name out there and let the employees whose faces are on tv and online know who is calling them out!

  • Former Verizon Technician

    I use to work for Verizon and I actually was part of the strike in 2000. I am behind them 1000%, especially the technicians which was my former job titile. Verizon top 9 executive all bring over 8 figures in salary and bonuses based off what front line, first line supervisor and managers provide in output work. Some of the executives have vacation homes with 30 bathroom why should one person have have a vacation house with 30 bathrooms. However, they do not want to continue paying the workings the benefits they have fought for over 50 years, no not exceptable.

    • Harley

      Well some people go to college and get an education while others sit on their arse and smoke pot all day. Who cares if these executives have luxury homes with thirty bathrooms, you and I know they can’t use them all. But is it really our business if a person who has a college education can afford such things as oppossed to a slackard who takes what is given him or her and then complains because they can’t show off? Most Verizon Techs charge customers for things we never asked for or didn’t need in the first place.

    • 1-2-3

      But your not an executive, don’t compare your wages to the President of the company.

    • Anonymous

      I find it interesting that if you look at the history of our economy, all of the times it has been at its strongest are times when unions were as well. I realize this might be coincidental, but if everyone wants to argue about this situation, this fact should be kept in mind. Furthermore, the point really is that this is between the CWA/IBEW and Verizon so unless you belong to one of these sides of the argument, what does it matter to everyone personally. I was sold by Verizon and it was allowed by the union so I have no love for either. The important thing most people don’t realize about this situation is that its those came field technicians that make your cell phone work that work on land lines. Those magical cell towers are fed by T1’s which, last time I check were copper cable. Don’t let Verizon lie to you a decreased need for land line techs.

  • Anonymous

    anonymous First of all, you have to know someone to even get your foot in the door!!! Your all leeches of the system, I want MORE<MORE<MORE.

  • Anonymous... but annoyed

    Here is the thing… I don’t care what their problems are… I just want them to shut up so I can do my job (in the next building)… where my health care is free because I have a doctorate!

  • Anonymous

    It sounds to me a little like socialism. I want all the money made to go to all the employees, not just the leaders. They made a lot of $ and I want some. I don’t care about the customers, it is a me, me, me world. How about the leadership take the increased money they get from employee contributions of health care and give it to the poor? Hows that union members?

    • Luke R

      What about the investors and stockholders, that’s where the money goes. You think they are going to give it to a bunch of lazy Union rejects. A good days work by the majority of the employees would probably kill them. Quit your griping, with your education level NOBODY would hire you.

  • Zoeyzotron

    What is a Pension??? Get back to work, we are in the middle of an economic disaster.

    • hwright

      Hahahahahahha……………. You need an EDUCATION……

  • Warlock Jones

    What a great opportunity to trim the fat and get rid of 12000 union employees. Fire them.

    • Carrie

      The so called Fat is a hard working employee that fixes your phone, internet or television. You also know nothing of Unions. Seeing that if you did then you would know that you can not “FIRE THEM” just for picketing, there is a process of disciplinary action that needs to be taken first. Striking does not constitute a dismissal from the company.

    • hwright

      That is the primary job of the TEA PARTY!!! Get rid of as many american jobs as possible to make the Obama Administration look BAD. REPUBLICANS WAKE UP!!!!!

      • WE ARE ALONE

        Obama doesn’t need Republicans to make him look bad, he’s bad without anyone’s help.
        I support unions but not commie Obamie, and get ready sir cause he’s going to be gone soon.
        After Obamie the Commie is gone your union will still be there for I been hearing this for years since the 70’s I’m only sorry there is not a third political party who actually supports the working man..

      • hwright

        Oh please tell me what Obama has done that makes him so bad?????

  • Snoop

    A lot of anti-union liars posting here. They’ve never really been in a postion to have someone to help negotiate a fair wage for them. White collar workers have also greatly benefited because of benefits negotiated through unions. But lying trolls are only here to hate on the middle class.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Snoop! My father was in a union. Drove the company he worked for out of business. What did the union do for our family? Nothing. My Dad went unemployed for years. What’s a fair wage for a union member? More than the other guy?

      • Snoop

        I guess you’re missing the larger point. Unions really only came in to existence (and with great sacrifice for some) because the companies exploited workers. Many of the benefits that you had with your family because of your fathers work was because of unions. In some instances anything can go to far. Unions are not totally blameless at times, but by and large they’ve really helped create the middle class. Having OSOA and other things of course is helpful, but negotiating a fair wage is another thing.And what about company abuses, outrageous corporate tax breaks, etc.
        I’m glad your father had a descent job and provided for you.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Snoop you are right. 80 years ago when the Ford thugs beat up the workers that revolted was needed. But lets not put all of this change on the unions. Yes, they were part of it, but so was society in general, gov’t laws, and ALL the workers. There WAS a place for the union doing what the union did. Protect the workers. Now it is nothing but give me, give me, give me or I will strike and put you out of business. Neither is it the time or place to be demanding more.

    • Common Sense

      Yes unions are needed now. Why do you think that wages have not gone up while corporations profits have gone up? They have lowered the costs of their labor without lowering the compensation for CEOs. They are stripping this country and people are sitting back and watching. Workers do need protected and it is not give me give me. It is called making a decent wage to support your family. I would not have a problem with the corporations if their CEOs also took huge hits in their salaries and did not have their health care provided by their companies but they do. CEO pay is at an all time high while wages are are at an all time low in relation to inflation. Wake up people.

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