Verizon network sabotage claims hit 143 as strike continues

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) told The New York Times yesterday that the number of network damage incidents suspected to have been caused in the last week or so by sabotage--allegedly by striking union workers--had reached 143. Meanwhile, a New York City anti-terrorism unit reportedly was called upon to keep an eye on possible incidents of sabotage on Verizon's network, a report which drew criticism from union workers who wondered why Verizon was not providing for its own security efforts.

CWA Verizon strikers

Suffolk, Va. police cars line up near CWA picketers participating in the Verizon union workers' strike. (Photo courtesy of CWA)

Each day, the activity around the ongoing strike seems to find a new fever pitch. Several union rallies were held around the country yesterday, while Verizon continued to accuse the striking workers of illegal tactics, and alleged that the unions are overstating the value of concessions that Verizon has asked for (the unions consistently having referred to the company's demand for $1 billion in contract concessions).

However, other reports suggest that compromise could easily be within reach one several issues despite the heightening acrimony. The Boston Globe suggests that the disagreement of health care contributions is one such issue.

The clock may be ticking on the ability of the two sides to reach agreement, no matter how far apart they are. If outages related to alleged network sabotage become more rampant and leave customers disconnected for longer periods, the customers may be the ones to decide how long the strike lasts, by exercising their right to switch to another service provider. If that happens, it will leave both the corporation and its workforce with less leverage for the fight.

For more:
- here's WBST's report on anti-terror monitoring
- see The New York Times report on alleged sabotage (sub. req.)
- read this Boston Globe report on potential for compromise

Special Report: Verizon Strike: full coverage

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