The Verizon strike involves 45,000 workers. Most of them work on the Verizon land lines, a business that has been declining as more and more people use cell phones. These workers and Verizon are trying to renegotiate a contract. Both sides are pretty far apart.Gee, ya think?
The main issues include cutting back on pensions, disability and sick days, and higher costs for healthcare.
In many cases, the pickets are quiet like the one in Harlem Monday afternoon: picketers passed out flyers, encouraging a few honks on the horn.
But in the past week, we've seen some CWA union members take it a good bit further.
One group of strikers blew horns and whistles in the faces of Verizon workers.
One protestor in New Jersey appeared to instruct a girl to stand in front of an approaching Verizon truck.
Fox 5 has learned union leaders record a voice message every couple of days updating members on the status of the negotiations.
On Friday, Local 1109 Executive Vice President Chris Calabrese spoke. In one clip, he references what strikers should do to managers and Verizon workers he calls scabs.
"It is open season. Follow them safely, but when you get to a location, torture them. Torture them with chants and noise. Be so loud that they can't concentrate and wish they never got out of bed," he said on the recording. Calabrese also said Verizon doesn't want a fair deal, but instead wants to break the union. "Understand brothers and sisters, we can never let these [expletive] piece of [expletive] pigs break us."
He goes on to tell strikers to be classy to customers and not use profanity or drink on the lines. Within the colorful language, Calabrese never encourages any violence or illegal activity.
Even so, CWA union political director Bob Master said the union decided it was not a good way to communicate.
"It's vile, it's disgusting and it's disappointing. Certainly this is no way to behave during a job action like this," a Verizon spokesperson said.It's vile, disgusting and typical of these animals.
I wonder how Calabrese would feel if someone declared open season on him?