Verizon management recently boasted to the news media about adding new services and new jobs in Massachusetts.
On February 28, Verizon announced it “is completing the hiring of an additional 200 union-represented customer service employees in Andover, Springfield, Taunton and Worcester,” as part of “a major capital investment of $200 million in new broadband technology for Massachusetts in 2008.”
The company enlisted support from union members for the expansion, yet less than two weeks later management informed employees that it would eliminate over a hundred jobs at thirty work locations in Massachusetts.
“This is a slap in the face to an outstanding workforce that delivers the highest quality and most reliable telephone, Internet and cable services,” said Myles Calvey, business manager for IBEW Local 2222 and chair of the T6 Council that unites Verizon workers throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. “While we have repeatedly helped this company achieve its competitive objectives – especially in the regulatory and political arena – it is trying to cut its way to profitability.”
Boston is the most adversely affected community – set to lose a total of 41 jobs at facilities in Dorchester, Hyde Park, South Boston and in the downtown area. Other impacted communities are Woburn (25 jobs), Watertown (23 jobs), and Malden (13 jobs). Because of strong job security language in the union contract, the job cuts will be implemented mostly by attrition.
“We just can’t afford to lose any more of the good paying, stable jobs that our communities need to sustain public services and keep working families together,” said William Obal, a 26-year service technician and Local 2222 member who works out of Verizon’s Woburn garage.
Separately, Verizon also said on March 5 that it would cut as many as 18 accounting jobs in Braintree due to mechanization of existing work.
At the same time that management is cutting jobs, it is forcing employees to work overtime and churning the workforce with unnecessary transfers.
“We’ll do everything possible to stop the erosion of good jobs,” said Calvey. “That’s what being united in a union is all about. It gives members a voice in the process and some recourse to make sure any changes are done fairly.”
On Thursday, March 13, union members will take to the streets in front of many Verizon facilities to engage in “practice picketing” in preparation for upcoming negotiations with Verizon management for a new labor agreement.