As was the case when the company experienced a major job action in 2011, Verizon has reported incidents of network sabotage in areas where wireline workers are on strike.
The company stopped short of accusing strikers of the acts, but referred to the currently unapprehended perpetrators as "criminals." It says that there have been at least 24 suspected incidents of sabotage over the past week in five states, including states where members of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have walked off their jobs to protest a lack of progress in negotiations for new labor agreements (see "Verizon wireline workers eye strike April 13").
"We will find out who's behind these highly dangerous criminal acts and we will pursue criminal charges," said Michael Mason, Verizon's chief security officer. "These reckless perpetrators are risking the lives of countless Americans by cutting access to key lines of communications, especially to local police, fire and rescue personnel. If someone has an emergency and needs to contact local authorities, these malicious actions could prevent that from happening."
The company has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone involved with the incidents, which include:
- Sliced fiber-optic cabling at a network facility box in New Jersey that cut services to customers and local emergency personnel, including police and fire departments.
- Sabotage in Massachusetts which cut off phone services for 16 hours.
- Severed fiber-optic and copper cables in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York that disrupted voice and Internet services.
Verizon put the number of customers affected by the incidents in the thousands.
The company reported similar problems in 2011 when wireline workers on the East Coast also went on strike (see "Verizon alleges sabotage while strike goes on" and "Verizon: Number of strike sabotage acts exceeds 90").
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