Telephone Workers Outraged by Proposed Layoffs of Verizon Engineers
Despite a 31 percent third quarter increase in earnings, Verizon Communications has announced it will layoff as many as 39 engineers before the end of November. The engineers expect to get specific information about who will be laid off on Thursday, October 30.
The engineers are vulnerable because they have no collective bargaining rights or union contract. About 265 engineers work for Verizon in Massachusetts and Rhode Island designing installations for union technicians.
Inside sources indicate possibly outsourcing "entire functions" to lower cost contractors. Union leaders are calling on Verizon to give the engineers the same consideration that union members would get if management needed to reduce staff.
"No engineer should lose their job while there are outside contractors on the property," said Myles Calvey, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2222 and Chairman of the T6 Council. "If layoffs are needed, the company should provide strong financial incentives for people to leave voluntarily and follow a negotiated procedure for selecting who is laid off."
Calvey and other telephone union leaders are urging union members to protest the layoffs. The union is also assisting engineers to gain collective bargaining rights.
To coincide with the anticipated announcements on Thursday, union activists will hand out leaflets to union members, engineers and managers at 11 locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island where engineers are facing layoffs.
A 12:00 p.m. rally is also planned at Verizon's New England headquarters at 185 Franklin Street in downtown Boston.
The leafleting will take place at Verizon facilities in Braintree, Brockton, Dracut, Marlboro, New Bedford, Saugus, Springfield, Wakefield, Watertown, Woburn and Pawtucket, RI.