This first letter was written in response to a letter one of our members sent to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. I believe that Verizon's upper management knows that our members are paying attention and getting educated on the issues on the table in the Northeast. We have to...this is our future as well:
I appreciate your reply.
How much are the top executives in Verizon willing to give up in salary and benefits? What will Ivan Seidenberg give up? Why does it fall to the employees at the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder? Perhaps the managers who are now forced to do some of our jobs can convey just how difficult it is to do our jobs well within the constraints placed on us. Maybe they will give you some idea of the knowledge and skills necessary to do our jobs. Additionally, if we were empowered to satisfy the customer and given the tools to make that happen, we would not be losing customers at the rate they are leaving us.
Yes, some of the loss can be attributed to newer technology. However, we are harassed every day to produce more work (even when quality suffers) and sell, sell, sell to the point of unethical behavior by some in order to meet the numbers, keep their jobs and keep their coaches off their backs. It is embarrassing and quite honestly, more the cause of attrition than the reasons you like to cite. Satisfying the customer and saving the line does not count for much if you do not do it in the allotted time and/or with a sale. If you really want to save customers, re think your focus and allow us to do our jobs properly.
IBEW 824 Member
This next letter was emailed to me recently and further shows that our members understand the severity of the bargaining going on up North:
Many people in the United States look at us in unions as spoiled employees draining a company of their profits. Why should we be privileged or entitled to still receive a pension, good health care benefits and decent pay while other nonunion hourly American employees’ sacrifice.
After all, look at what the greedy UAW did to GM. For those anti-union supporters, I have this thought. We do not work in an industry of dated technology. We are in a progressive technological field that is evolving.
When the telephone was invented it was a great technological breakthrough in the way the world was going to communicate. As the Ma Bell companies streamlined the telephone into the public hands, it dominated the way we communicated for 100 years. In the 1980’s, another new means of communication emerged (wireless) which was funded from the profitability of our traditional landlines.
Today, we are in the middle of a third generation of mainstream telephony, fiber optics. As a FTTP technician, I know first hand that our fiber plant is superior, less expensive and faster compared to any twisted pair of copper wire that’s out there. I’ve worked on both sides of the plant and fiber will eventually put copper to its grave because it’s easier to maintain and requires a lot less repairs. We are in no way compared to the UAW because at the end of the day a car will just be a car. No matter how you package the automotive industry, until something new is invented it’s the same old technology.
We are in an industry of technological advancements and now it time for wireless (which our union brothers and sisters in landline helped funded) to support the building of our new fiber optic plant. When the fiber optic plant is completed and ONT’s are hanging on hundred of thousands of customers walls it will literally be a "flip of a switch" to activate customers in and out of service.
Verizon profits in the billions and they have been in the process of creating a fiber optic plant that will one day potentially employ less than half of its current union work force we see today. Landlines may be losing money today, but its replacement, Fios, will be profitable just like wireless today. What we, as union members, give up at the negotiation table during contact time will never return just like the thousands of union members Fios will eventually be retiring in the future.
There’s nothing wrong with a superior technology changing our profession for the better, but there is something wrong when corporate greed uses the platform of old technology as leverage to convince the American people that unions drain profit. This is my personal view and frustration of a company that’s turning their backs on union employees that financially assisted wireless while it got off the ground. Now it’s time for wireless turn to return the favor while landlines give way to the profitability of Fios.
IBEW 824 Member