IBEW Local 827 denounces Verizon plan to eliminate 382 wireline technician jobs in New Jersey

Jun 04, 2012, 15:48 ET from IBEW Local 827

EAST WINDSOR, N.J., June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The union representing over 5,000 New Jersey workers in the telecommunications industry today criticized a plan by Verizon to eliminate 382 wireline technician jobs in New Jersey at a time when the company's copper-based wireline service is generating increasing customer complaints about inadequate maintenance. The move is also seen as a roadblock to the goal of reliable high-speed Internet FiOS service for thousands of New Jersey consumers.

"FiOS jobs are wireline jobs and, by cutting its existing work force, Verizon is putting big paydays for its top executives above building a world-class telecommunications infrastructure," said IBEW Local 827 Business Manager Bill Huber, who represents approximately 5,000 Verizon employees throughout New Jersey. "Verizon's executives have pulled in almost $350 million in the last five years. For them to be slashing jobs and cutting needed services to consumers in these tough economic times is unacceptable." 

The company made the announcement May 30. New Jersey will lose 382 wireline technician positions, while the New England area is slated to lose 306. The proposed layoffs could go into effect as early as September.

The cutbacks threaten not only basic upkeep and improvement of the company's wireline service, but future build-out of Verizon FiOS – the only all-fiber optic commercial network in America – putting needed investment in high-speed broadband at risk.

Huber noted that this latest move by Verizon to cut service capability compounds an already existing problem in New Jersey that has caused increasing numbers of consumers and local government bodies to register complaints with the State's Board of Public Utilities.

"Complaints from consumers are on the rise," said Huber. "Verizon's failure to properly service and maintain its copper landline infrastructure and live up to its commitment to bring FiOS service to communities across New Jersey is a direct result of the company abandoning its basic responsibility to provide service to the consumers. IBEW Local 827 is taking the lead in bringing these consumer complaints to the attention of the BPU, and taxpayers are glad someone is finally looking out for their interests."

Huber said IBEW Local 827 has made the needs of consumers a "top priority" and that the union wanted to make sure that consumers were being considered when Verizon makes operational changes that diminish much-needed service like copper landlines and FiOS.

"Our members are the ones who make sure that people have a dial tone when they pick up their landline phones and access to the internet when they turn on their computers," said Huber. "We don't think these basic consumer needs should be sacrificed to corporate greed. We will continue looking out for the best interests of the consumers we serve because corporate decisions like cutting jobs in landline services show that Verizon has abandoned that duty."