Verizon has issued a statement saying the company has seen 57 “suspected incidents of network sabotage” since Verizon workers went on strike April 13. According to a Verizon statement, the company has seen a 100% spike in such incidents across seven states, most of them involving the severing of key fiber optic cable lines, or damage inflicted to the terminal boxes that serve as distribution hubs for wireline communications services to entire buildings or neighborhoods.
“These are criminal activities, affecting people’s safety and putting lives at risk. We are investigating all reports and pursuing all avenues to assist law enforcement in finding and convicting the perpetrators of these acts,” said Michael Mason, Verizon’s chief security officer.
Verizon doesn’t offer any actual evidence to support the claims that the union is behind the problems, but notes that New Jersey has been among the hardest hit, with 17 instances of network vandalism since the strike began.
“Initial investigation and evidence show that all these incidents involve the deliberate and willful destruction of critical communications facilities,” said Mason. “We suspect violations of federal law, and Verizon is working with authorities to pursue criminal charges.”
Not too surprisingly, the Communications Workers of America don’t agree with Verizon’s assessment of the situation, the union issuing its own statement claiming that it’s Verizon’s replacement workers that are causing network problems. The union claims that “basic safety practices aren t being followed” as “unqualified managers and contractors hang cables, place poles and operate heavy equipment.”
What s truly frightening is these unsafe practices would become standard practice if Verizon pushed through its plan to outsource work to cut-rate contractors, said the union. We re striking to make sure Verizon has the skilled and experienced staff necessary to serve our customers safely.