Strikes continued Thursday against Verizon Communications by 45,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions. Tensions continue to run high, and yet more reports of potentially illegal activity have emerged – beyond the sabotage Verizon alleges it has endured.
Under the National Labor Relations Act, it is illegal for a picketing union to prevent non-striking employees from entering company facilities. But in the last couple days, there have been numerous apparent instances of Verizon strikers doing just that.
A judge in Allegheny County, PA, issued an order on Wednesday prohibiting picketing workers from blocking the entrances to Verizon stores, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported:
The order, signed by Judge Michael E. McCarthy, specifies that the unionized workers with the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, are enjoined from “picketing, other than peacefully, and by no more than six pickets spaced, at any entrance to any Verizon facilities . . . or at any worksite of any Verizon employee or contractor performing company work.”
In addition, the order prohibits the strikers from “interfering with business, by threatening, obstructing, intimidating or harassing” customers or other employees.
Meanwhile, video captured another picketing IBEW worker using his young daughter to prevent a Verizon truck from entering a company facility. In the video, the man instructs his daughter to stand in front of the vehicle, then verbally berates the two individuals inside (warning: extremely vulgar language).
Striking workers have even taken to the street to prevent Verizon technicians from doing their jobs. One Boston woman claims that a group of union members prevented a Verizon employee from fixing her malfunctioning phone line.
“I looked in the street and there are picketers, 10 of them or more, doing a circle around the Verizon truck,” said Karen Austin, 64, a mother of five who lives on Forest Avenue. “Every time (the repairmen) would walk up to my house they would follow them. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This is ridiculous. Why are they picketing my house?”…
“I’m not on a main street … I’m not a business. I’m a person who needed a line fixed,” she said.
A Verizon spokesperson in Pittsburgh said the situation is far worse than just these sorts of obstructions. Some non-striking employees, the spokesperson said, have been physically assaulted. “We have had some employees who have alleged that they have been kicked, been spit on, had things thrown at them, somebody’s been elbowed,” Verizon’s Lee Gierczynski told WTAE Pittsburgh.
(H/T: Labor Union Report)