Verizon fires 40 union workers for misconduct

Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) ongoing saga with its union workers took another turn this week as the telco let go 40 employees for committing what it says were acts of violence or making threats against company representatives during the two week strike this summer, the Boston Globe reports.

Verizon strikers NYC CWA

Striking union workers in New York City surround a Verizon truck in mid-August. (Photo: CWA)

This past weekend, the 40 employees received a letter saying they were being fired for violating the company's code of conduct while protesting proposed changes over pension and sick time to their labor contract.

Following the two-week standoff, Verizon's 45,000 East Coast union workers returned to work without a new contract. The two sides are still negotiating the terms of a new contract.

"We respect the rights of our employees to peacefully picket and protest during a strike. However, the actions of many individuals in the August 2011 strike violated our code of conduct and in some cases, violated the law," Verizon said in a statement to the Globe. "This has nothing to do with their rights to peacefully picket. It has everything to do with making threats of violence, engaging in physical violence, running people off the road, making outrageous profane or racist comments and more. Many of these activities were egregious and unacceptable and as a result, we've taken appropriate action."

During the course of the strike, interactions between the union and Verizon's managers became contentious with reports of broken cables.   

Paul Feeney, legislative director of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), said that while the union and Verizon had exchanged some tense interactions, he denies his members did any harm to the company's facilities or management.

 "The union is going to fight this through the court," he said. "The company couldn't prove to us that they did anything wrong."

For more:
- The Boston Globe has this article

Special Report: Verizon strike: Full coverage

Related articles:
Strike left Verizon with backlog of 100,000 FiOS orders
Verizon's union workers accuse company of delaying Hurricane Irene repairs
Verizon resumes talks with unions over healthcare, other concessions
Verizon issues apology for strike, while workers say walkout helped negotiation process

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