Sunday, August 14, 2011

Verizon Strike

Verizon logoImage via WikipediaI have never been a big fan of unions, though I was a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 when I was working in grocery stores.  That was not by choice, as Maryland is not by choice, so once I started working in a union shop, I was forced to join the union.  At one time, unions served a valid and necessary purpose, but as government has instituted a number of laws and regulations for workplace safety, their usefulness and necessity has diminished.

My experiences as a member of the union were not positive, especially as contracts were set to expire.  There was always a bit of a nervousness on my part as the time to vote on a contract came up.  I remember one time I went to a meeting for the union to present the latest contract offer.  Their recommendation was to accept the contract.  Some of my more vocal coworkers wanted to vote for a strike, in spite of the unions recommendation.  Eventually, we voted and the contract was approved.

I was grateful that the contract was approved and we were not going to suffer a work stoppage.  I did not want to be faced with the decision on whether or not to cross the picket line.  My initial feelings were that I would cross because I was working my way through college and could not afford to be without income.  Also, my feeling, unlike those of some of my coworkers, was that I worked for the company that was issuing my checks and not the union.

So, I rarely, if ever, feel any sympathy for workers who decide to go on strike.  When I heard that the Verizon workers were going out on strike because Verizon had asked them to contribute to their health care benefits like most of the rest of us, I immediately sided with management.  This morning, I am even more supportive of Verizon's management.

Here is why.  Yesterday, we suffered an outage with our Verizon FiOS service. We lost everything; phone, internet, and television.  They set up a service call to be here between 8am and noon.  It is now nearly 1pm and no sign of the technician.  When I called to confirm our appointment time this morning, I was told that I had the correct scheduled time but that due to the work stoppage, the few technicians they had were struggling to get all the tickets completed and that they may not be able to make it.

We lost our service yesterday about 5pm during a rainstorm.  I was able to restore it a little while ago by unplugging the FiOS box inside our house and disconnecting the backup battery.  After a few minutes, I had everything back.  I still want the technician to come take a look at it, because I am afraid another heavy rain might knock it back out.  Not that I have any love for Verizon as a whole, but I have even less love for their striking workers.
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