Violence in the Verizon Strike
After a month on strike, scabs are starting to attack the strikers
39,000 employees of Verizon have been walking the picket line for a month now in one of the largest strikes the U.S. has seen in years. As the strike continues, tempers have flared over the last week with allegations coming from the union that the company and scabs have begun to commit bodily harm to the striking workers.
Incidents have been reported across the Northeast of picketers who are being injured by the incompetence or malice of the scabs. In New York City, members of CWA Local 1109 and Local 1106 rallied outside of a NYC motel that was housing scabs. After several hours of the scabs attempting to incite violence from the picketers, the NYPD stepped in to break the picket line and escort the scabs. They put the scabs in unmarked company trucks and police vans and then got behind the wheel and drove them out. One of these police driven vehicles hit a striker as it sped away. In a video that was posted on Facebook, you can see the striker laying in the road with his fellow union members aiding him while they waited 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Other co-workers demanded to know why they NYPD was not protecting them and only protecting the scabs.
This has not been the only incident of picketers getting hit by cars. On Long Island, CWA 1108 member Ed Short was injured on the picket line when an inexperienced manager was unable to handle his truck and hit a metal barrier that Short was behind. The scab manager ended up dragging him along the street before he stopped. Short required medical attention and ended up going to the hospital.
Other stories of scabs behaving dangerously have come out over the last week. On Long Island a scab was working at a house when he became enraged at the mobile picketers who were following him. The scab pulled a long knife on the striking workers calling them uneducated and telling them that they don’t deserve a job. According to Frank Steffens, a CWA member who posted pictures and video of the event, the scab was arrested by the Nassau County police.
Violence on the part of the company and their scabs has not been relegated to just NY. In Delaware, a major accident occurred on the busy I-95 when a scab decided that she did not like the mobile picketers following her and decided to do a brake check while going at highway speed. As the picketers slammed on their brakes, they were hit by the car behind them and pushed into the scab. Due to the scabs dangerous driving behavior, she ended up off the road in a ditch and the mainstream media placed the blame for the accident on the mobile picketers.
According to CWA 1108 Executive Vice President Michael Gendron, Verizon has failed to do background checks on scabs that they have hired. Gendron said in a Facebook post that the local did a quick background check on some of the new hires and found a multitude of criminal convictions against the scabs. These convictions included sex crimes against both adults and minors, drug convictions, assault, theft, kidnapping and fraud.
These are the people that Verizon has decided to send into their customers’ homes and the people that the NYPD has decided to protect instead of their union brothers and sisters. With very little training and no background checks, Verizon is giving a big F-U to their customers and the community. They are literally allowing dangerous people to do dangerous work and are putting your family in danger.