Verizon Phone Service Repairs Backlogged During Strike

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Gwen Swaney of Point Breeze picks up her phone, but it’s just dead. No dial tone. Nothing.

It’s been that way since lightning struck a tree in front of her home, and she wasn’t pleased when she called Verizon to find out when they might be able to fix the problem. She says she was told maybe August 31st.

“I’m here, can’t call 911 or nothing,” said Swaney. “I’m 81 years old, and I might have an emergency.”

Verizon Spokesperson Lee Gierczynski can’t say how many people in our area may be waiting for landline phone service to be restored for various reasons, but he says the wait is definitely longer than normal.

“We’re seeing three or four times the number of jobs pending that we would typically have on a day like this,” said Gierczynski. He says the problem is the result of 45,000 Verizon workers who have gone on strike.

Managers with previous line repair experience have stepped in during the strike, as well as managers brought here from other states, but it doesn’t add up to the normal workforce.

“So all we ask is for their patience and understanding,” said Gierzczynski.

Swaney, however, has little patience left. Her daughter took her to buy a cell phone, something she never wanted, but she figures she needs it in case there’s an emergency before her landline is fixed.

Communication Workers of America

More from David Highfield
  • Joseph Puskar

    lol…these strikers are shootin themselves in the foot….verizon is MAKING people wait dor repairs …in the ,eantime…i better get a cell phone….then they will cancel landline…then strikers will be laid off later….in the economy….these strikers are crazy!

    • keith

      Did you know that many of the customer service reps. at Verizon make $60k just to answer your phone call. Get real!! Its time for those strikers to join the real world. I dont have sympathy for them. Most of us have to pay something for our health insurance,too!! Im glad I have AT&T!!! Stick to your guns, Verizon!

    • Joseph Puskar

      please dont take my post wrong….i was only saying that verizon will get 10 to 20 percent of people to somehow change to wireless eliminating need for landline service…..wish u guys guys …girls ..goodluck on a strike at this time in economy and history of a recession …..;/

  • mike

    Hey My2Cents… try working for 30+ years, having your benefits taken care of and a pension waiting for you… then have it all taken away. There’s more to this than Verizon and the media are telling you. Get your facts BEFORE you wish ill-will on other people.

    How would you like it if YOU got fired? Maybe Michelle Bachmann will give you a job…

    • My2cents

      Should have just played the game at Verizon. Boo Hoo, I think a lot of hard working americans lost their retirements and jobs, but that is today’s fact of life.

      I will say it again, should have been thankfull that you had a job at verizon and dealt with the cards that were handed to you. But no the CWA told everybody to strike. That makes a lot of sense.

  • Bea

    This story surprised me! My elderly mother lost service & I reported it Tuesday. The man on the phone couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful, very accomadating to phone me with any updates, etc. They gave us a service time for repair by 9 pm on Thursday. Didn’t seem unreasonable with the strike. Even the wait time on the initial call wasn’t as long as I would have expected. The only difficult part is they couldn’t tell me if this was a widespread outage or just her phone. He didn’t seem to have the means to tell where the trouble might be. Otherwise, no complaints here! Why such different outcomes I don’t know. I’m in Washington County, but don’t think that matters. I won’t bash the strike or strickers though, not any ill-effects on our part.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Mr. Puskar and My2Cents,

    My husband and myself have been married for 27 years, we have 3 kids, 2 of which are in college. My husband has worked almost 20 years for this company (he has always worked some type of job since he was 16 years old and we both have worked hard for everything we have) and he has earned these wages, benefits and pension that he is fighting for. These Union workers are fighting to keep what they have NOT asking for more. The company is trying to take in a combination of wages, benefits and pension a total of $20,000 a year from each one of these workers. If either one of you have a job could you afford to lose that much money a year especially when the CEO of this company is making $55,000 a day with full benefits and getting all kinds of tax breaks? I am tired of hearing people like yourselves that don’t know the whole story because Verizon tells the media what they want you to hear, run your mouths… get all your facts and information straight before you start on your tirade. I will include a letter with some information that the company doesn’t want the public to know if this space allows for it… educate yourselves. And as far as cell phones go how do you think those work?? You still need landlines to the towers for them to work.. again stop running your mouths and making yourself look ignorant about something you know nothing about. This is a letter written by one of our CWA members to try and tell both sides of this strike…not just what Verizon wants you to hear. I hope you have the time to read this and think twice before you start wishing job loss on familIes that are just trying to make a living. Someday you might have a possiblity of losing it all and then maybe you might understand. Oh and another thing these employees said they would continue to work without a contract as long as Verizon continued to bargain in good faith… that is hard to do when every meeting is met with them not showing up or stating they have to take a recess until tomorrow to get answers to any questions the Union presents to them. They did continue to work three years ago without a contract and there was no strike because Verizon actually bargained.



    Dear America,

    Today 45,000 Verizon employees received their last paycheck until this strike is over. We understand that in this economy everyone should be willing to give up something for the betterment of our country’s financial welfare. We are more than willing to bargain with Verizon to come up with a fair contract for everyone involved. We are not asking for anything more than what we already have and have had for years!

    Verizon has placed ads in papers & on television telling you that they just want us to pay for a portion of our health care insurance premium cost and listing various salaries that we should be thankful for. Verizon has failed to publicly mention the 99 other items they would like for us to give up or that these salaries and benefits that they are posting are inaccurate. It takes a unionized Verizon worker 25 years to gradually earn the amount of vacation time that is in these ads!

    Verizon has told you that their land line business is failing, yet they fail to mention that that very business is the backbone network of their FIOS, DSL & Wireless operations. They want you to think that there is no need for a land line because they want their FIOS & DSL to be classified as “internet or data” instead of exactly what they are: land lines. Every cell tower connects to a land line network. Without Verizon’s land line business they would have no wireless business!

    Verizon fails to publicly mention that they want to begin increasing the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries by removing all aspects of job security from the contract, to freeze all pensions for current workers and completely eliminate them for future employees, slash sick time, eliminate disability payments for injured workers, eliminate holidays (including Veteran’s Day) and completely gut health care plans for current & retired workers.

    Despite making $19.5 billion in profits and paying out $258 million to it’s top 5 executives in the last four years, Verizon wants to take back more than 50 years of collective bargaining and destroy middle class jobs, just like many of the other large corporations!

    The President of Verizon makes $55,000 a day, how much does the average American worker make per day?

    Verizon has paid $0 in federal corporate income taxes over the last three years, how much has the average American worker paid in federal income tax?

    Verizon received nearly $1 billion in tax benefits from the federal government (your money) over the last three years, how much has the average American worker received in tax benefits?

    You ask why the workers would be going on strike when we’ve been spoiled and should be thankful we have a job in this economy? I believe what you should be asking is why aren’t there more American jobs being created by American companies? Why are companies being allowed to outsource their jobs when American production is at an all time low and we all know that we cannot grow as a consumer only country! We must produce products here in the United States of America!

    We are on strike for all of you, not just ourselves. The middle class stands to lose everything while corporations and a few individuals gain it all. We walk the line for you!

    We understand that we may have to give up some things that we have had in the past, but we should not have to give up everything including our job security! All we are asking is for Verizon to sit down and bargain with the people that helped build it. It’s time to bring jobs back to America and end corporate greed!


    A very frustrated but ON STRIKE American Worker

    • My2Cents

      Sorry, but this is a fact of life for alot of hard working americans, however its reality and it just caught up with Verizon. It is going to be very sad when the pay checks stop coming in and bills get paid and bill collectors and the bank start after you for money that isn’t coming in anymore. Over what, EGOS, suck it up and consider your selves being luck to have jobs in today’s day and age. I am sure the Union Employees are sleeping well and still getting their pay checks!

      • Mrs. No It All

        My2Cents you seem very jaded and seem to look for any post about the verizon strike you can just to negatively comment on it… this is the 3rd post I have come across just today with your ignorant comments on them.

        Wondering if you are maybe a “former employee” or someone who couldn’t get into the company…..

    • Thurston Howell III

      My advice to you is , continue to by stock in the company. If everything you stated is true Verizon will make money for the people who invest .

    • Joseph Puskar

      i was only stating facts..not cuttin on your husband…..or wages…just wrong time in the economy for strikes….wish u luck…not any harm..;()

  • Anonymous

    That was a great post!!! Isn’t amazing how some people love to show their ignorance on a topic they know nothing about!! CWA all the way!!!

  • Tom

    That was a great post!!! Isn’t amazing how some people love to show their ignorance on a topic they know nothing about!! CWA all the way!!!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Tom. And yes you are right they do.

  • My2Cents

    You all are very lucky that I am not the CEO of Verizon. I would say two words: “YOUR FIRED”! Booo Hooo, I think everybody is paying higher premiums for insurance. And better yet, if I was the CEO, I would kick the Union to the curb and make it a Non Union Shop!
    You all are truly that stupid to strike, I guess the power will be turned off soon and some folks are going to loose their houses. WOW I would be real proud of that accomplishment!

    • Mrs. No It All

      Here we go again, more jaded and hateful comments, wow how many is this today?

      wondering now was it the drug test you failed… or the intense training you couldn’t get through? Or maybe had a spouse that worked for the company and the marriage didn’t work out and now you lost the “verizon” paycheck…

      smh just sayin…. that’s what it looks like to me!!!!

      You never would be the CEO you seem to lack general intelligence on a subject and come up with nothing but fallacious arguments and seem to know nothing about the subject on both ends… Seems like a bunch of rambling jealousy.

      Spend less time online and go to work maybe you can earn some money too. These workers go through so much for the money they earn. You have no idea….

    • Anonymous

      Here is somemore reading material for you… no pictures so I hope you understand it. I am not even going to argue with you about this…. your evil, harsh words don’t rattle me in the least. So go bark at the moon…. I will say one thing, my husband and I will always fight for what we have worked hard for and believe in. My husband is a strong, hard working man and we aren’t like a lot of people and just give up and expect everyone else that is working to support us while we sit at home and collect welfare, disability checks etc. like a lot of people in this country do from one generation to the next. We have pride in what we have and knowing we worked hard for it…. so don’t you worry about our accomplishments they are probably bigger than anything you have done in your life. Oh and you say if you were CEO of Verizon you would fire these strikers…. well heck you are a mean and ruthless person that cares nothing about other people, to get on here and wish job losses on families you have already met one qualification for the job. “Taking it to the Streets” CWA PROUD AND STRONG!!!

      Wed, June 29th, 2011 Verizon wants to:


      • Eliminate the Job Security Provisions for all employees
      • Eliminate the Movement of Work Protection
      • Eliminate the 35 mile transfer provision
      • Eliminate provisions in Force Adjustment Plan
      • Eliminate New Contracting Initiatives agreement, which would allow them to increase the level of contracting.


      • Both annual and progression increases will be tied to your yearly evaluation. If you receive a “Does Not Meet Position Requirements” you will not receive an increase.
      • Eliminate Night and Saturday Differential
      • Eliminate Sunday premium pay
      • Eliminate Double Time for hours worked past 49 in a week
      • Eliminate all Overtime Caps
      • Eliminate city allowances
      • Create new job titles for the consumer and business call centers that would work on a commission based wage schedule


      • Eliminate pension accruals. For anyone currently on the payroll your pension will be frozen as of December 31, 2011 and after that, there will be no more pension plan.
      • Eliminate the Pension Cash-Out option
      • Modify the 401(k) Plan and the CPS


      • Eliminate the Sickness Death Benefit Benefits
      • Eliminate the current health care, prescription, dental, and vision plans and offer plans with high deductibles and contributions
      • Eliminate accident disability benefits
      • Cut in half the sickness disability benefits
      • Reduce sick time pay to 5 days per year for those members with 20 or more years, 4 days for those with 15-20 years, 3 days for those with 7-15 years, 2 days for those with 2-7 years and 0 days for those with less than 2 years

      • The most drastic changes are proposed in the medical plan. The company proposed to eliminate the PPOs and network plans that have been in place for decades and replace them with high deductible health plans.

      • The company has proposed to terminate the major health benefit plans that CWA has negotiated over decades.

      • The company is demanding premium contributions for both the medical plan and the dental plan.

      • In the first year, the medical plan premiums for a single employee would range from $390 a year to $1,420 a year, depending on the plan they choose.

      • For a family, the medical plan premium would range from $1,380 a year to $3,810 a year, depending on the plan they choose.

      • Premiums would increase in each year after that.

      • Before the plan would begin to pay any benefits, a single employee would have to pay $1,000 and a family would have to pay $3,000.

      • The company wants to impose premiums for retirees as well. For pre-Medicare retirees, a single retiree could pay somewhere between $290 and $1,320 depending on the plan they choose. A pre-Medicare retiree with a family could pay between $1,280 and $3,710 depending on the plan they choose.

      • Medicare retirees could pay between $145 and $960 a year depending on the plan they enroll in if they are single, and between $640 and $2,155 a year depending on the plan they choose.

      • Premiums for the dental plan would be up to $185 per year for a single employee and up to $435 per year for a family, depending on the plan they choose.

      • Retirees would also have to pay for dental coverage, the same rates as active employees.

      In other words, the company is proposing to shift thousands of dollars in health costs to our members, without offering any improvements in health care quality or any support for our members to navigate the health care system. They are saying “You’re On Your Own” to our members and their families who need quality, affordable health care.

      • Eliminate the Next Step Program
      • Eliminate the half day on Christmas Eve
      • Reduce the notice to the Union on Major technological changes from 6 months to 30 days
      • Eliminate the Dependent Care Reimbursement Fund
      • Reduce Paid Holidays to (7)


      • In 2009 Verizon made 10.2 Billion dollars.

      • Earnest

        Who do you people think you are….school teachers? I can’t teach my kid 7th grade science but I sure can figure out which wire to hook up my phone too when all you have to learn are 4 colors

      • Proud American

        You are so right. These idiots posting here probably have not worked an honest day in their lives! I’ve worked Union and non union jobs. In some situations such as the service industry, i.e. Verizon, comcast, etc, unions are still needed. Wonder if my2cents (which isn’t even worth that!) has what it takes to work outside, hanging off a telephone pole, in pouring rain, or a blizzard, for 3 or more hours? Something tells me, no, he doens’t! And I suppose he thinks for that type of work one should not be duely compensated?? These verizon workers have one of the most dangerous jobs…ocean oil riggers and fireman come before them in the danger rating…gee, wonder what type of career my2cents has?? Little does he realize it because of unions and hard workers, like those on strike from verizon, that he has any type of pay for whatever it is he does. Oh, and the verizon workers didn’t want to strike, but corporate Verizon refuses to negotiate in good faith…..
        Listen to BOTH sides, just not what corporate and media puts out, are THEY like you, middle class??

      • Anonymous

        This is pretty much what the rest of the country has to work with.

  • Non Union

    Unions are the last refuge of the lazy and the incompentant. Verizon should fire them all and hire some of the many Americans who WANT to work,

  • My2Cents

    Welcome to 2011, its a shame but that is reality in today’s day and age. Ask 75% of working americans I am sure that they have had to take some tough cuts with their jobs, BUT they still have a job. Come on to just strike, YOU SHOULD BE FIRED and there are thousands of unemployed americans that would be THANKFULL to just have a job.
    “My Evil Words” hmmmm, just a fact that the truth hurts! Just wait till homes become foreclosed, cars become repossesed, familys are displaced, kids can’t afford school meals, over what bickering and egos insted of just sucking it up like most americans do with their jobs!
    Geeeezzzzz, Thank the union for being stupid telling people to strike!

    • Mrs. No It All


      Here you are again…… Geez you spend alot of time online…. wow…..

      where do you work again? ….. Ohhhhhhhhhhh I See……

      • My2Cents

        I am not a HATER, I am a happy person who speaks the truth and my feelings. The TRUTH is that the strikers in today’s day and age should be fired and people that would be thankful to have a job be hired! Maybe years and years ago, unions and strikes might have been the answer, however not today.
        Just wait when the pay checks end, medical coverage ends, houses and cars get taken back by the bank, people loose everything, kids will need free lunch at school, ect……… Again, this is crazy that all this is going on in this day and age and you should take a long long look at the BIG picture of what this strike is going to do to so many persons involved.

  • Jon

    45,000 workers walk off the job and the only one effected is an 81 year old woman! Her grandson can give her his old cell phone and life will go on………great job KD with proving to the public that this strike is only hurting the people who aren’t being paid

  • NoUnions

    Ever think that greedy unions are why Verizon wants to outsource jobs?

    • Proud American

      Did you read the black and white figures?? Who is greedy here?? NOT the uniion workers, corportate is!!! Read the facts NoUnions!!!

  • Anonymous


    Well I would have guessed you didn’t read anything I added to this because had you read it you might have seen that Verizon wants to outsource these jobs overseas… so all these out of work Americans still don’t have a chance for a good job. And no your “evil words” as I said don’t rattle me… you can’t even spell let alone say anything worthwhile to hurt anyone. So go pound salt. And Earnest no we are not school teachers and if you think that is all these workers do is plug in a wire why aren’t you doing it then? Or did you only go as far as the 7th grade? Non Unions, I am NOT a Union worker and never have been but because of that I see both sides of the fence. If you don’t have a Union then you make little money and do the job of 3 people with little benefits.

    • My2Cents

      You got me there on spelling! Geeezzz, what can I say. Blaaa Blaaa Blaaa about hiring outside of the US, If you didn’t strike, then there wouldn’t be as may openings within the company.
      My feelings are in today’s age, you strike, you get fired PERIOD.

  • Anonymous

    Sheri from Belle Vernon

  • Sheri Battaglia

    Two weeks before the strike, my phone had no dial tone, after a storm. I called repaired and was told to uplug my phones and that did not restore the dial tone.I requested a service call. I was told it would be the following week on a Wednesday. Well, I received a text stating it was fixed. AND IT WASN”T!!! I called again to Verizon repair and they gave me another date that was another week. My phone would go out whenever it rained. for a day or two and for some reason I had a dial tone. Then another storm knocked my service out and I am again without phone service. NOW, I called again and a gentleman who had taken the service request said anothe week for Verizon to come to my home. I was furious; he said if I did not like this call the PUC. Well, I was told on August 8 th a repair man would be at my home and THE STRIKE!!! I had been without my phone now for 18 days!! NO PHONE!. and my Verizon Wireless Phone does not work in my home! I have to go outside to get service!! Now, I was told tomorrow someone would be there. My husband is home without a phone to call if something happend. I have a neighbor, that if she needs me; how, would she get a hold of me. There was a break in at a home next to me! I have been without phone service for 19 days ! Last two weeks in July before that strike, only when a storm hit my phones would go out! If those striking employees would have taken care of my problem BEFORE when I first reported the problem, I would have phone service today!!! They just don’t care about the customer! What has happened to customer service. ANYWHERE! Don’t tell me I have to sympathize with the Verizon Employee! My father was an employee of Bell Telephone/Verizon for over forty years and NEVER had you have to wait for service for over a week!!! Or had Bell Telephone/Verizon ever treated their customer, then as they do TODAY!!! Comcast is looking better as each day goes by and I do not have phone service!!!!

  • UniteAmerica

    For both sides the arguement is a little off. My2cents….keep saying this economy and this day and age…when corporations as a whole are posting record profits. Do you think it is fair that they continue to cut jobs and underpay workers so a small few can place a feww million or billion more in the bank. Unions fight not just for themselves but in hopes others who are nonunion and underpaid step up use their voice and fight for a fair share. Pro union folks…your arguement shouldn’t be I want to keep all these things because that list is made up of many things most Americans never had. Your point should be yes we are union and yes we make a great living but it is because for fifty years we have had a voice and fought for a share of the profits from a company that despite its union employees still made record profits. The economy is bad because money is “ponding”, it sits with a small percentage of Americans who feed their bank accounts with money they couldn’t spend in ten lifetimes while taking more and more from lower and middle class. Until this trend is reversed the economy as a whole will continue to fall. Walmart workers get shafted. Are they worth 60k a year no, but shouldn’t they have a right to healthcare and other benefits? Or do you feel that the Waltons (3 of th top 10 wealthiest Americans) should continue to keep this from employees. Many of these workers qualify and have government paid for benefits. So do you think its right the small few make billions while other working Americans pay taxes to support their health care. When the middle class is gone who then will pay these taxes when we are all eligible to receive them? So don’t hate what you don’t have, get a voice unionize and get what you deserve, and union folk be happy and thankful for what you have, admit its a lot more than most but realize your fight should be to make others see they are out of jobs or underpaid so the wealthy can add another billion to their bank

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