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PRAYER VIGIL in Support of Verizon STRIKERS
Jun 01, 2016
STEPS of CITY HALL Buffalo, N.Y.
CWA Local 1122 Membership Meeting
Jun 07, 2016
Fontana's Grove 2299 Clinton St West Seneca, N.Y.
CWA Local 1122 Stewards Meeting
Sep 08, 2016
CWA Local 1122 Union Hall 3775 Genesee St
CWA Local 1122 Stewards Meeting
Sep 08, 2016
CWA Local 1122 Union Hall 3775 Genesee St
CWA Local 1122 Membership Meeting
Oct 04, 2016
Lucarellis 1830 Abbott Rd. Lackawanna, N.Y.
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Updated: May. 27 (20:03)

In Case You Missed It
Teamsters local 570
Joint Association Update 5-27-16
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Maryland Enacts Tough Equal Pay Law
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45 DAYS ON STRIKE & THE DAY IS OURS!!!!!!!!!
CWA Local 1103
 
     

“My Friends it is solidarity of Labor we want. We do not want to find fault with each other, but to solidify our forces, and say to each other: We must be together: our masters are joined together, and we must do the same thing”.

… Mother Jones

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VERIZON STRIKING FAMILIES SOLIDARITY FUND

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CWA members on strike against Verizon Communications may be eligible for emergency financial assistance from the Verizon Striking Families Solidarity Fund.  This emergency assistance is based on availability of funds and need, and it is available to members in good standing.

Completed applications should be returned to the Local and then forwarded on to our CWA District Committee. 

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Click on the Link below to download the application.

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Verizon Striking Families Solidarity FUND app


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NEWS STATEMENT

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U.S. Department of Labor | May 27, 2016

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announces agreement in

principle on a new contract for Verizon workers

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez issued the following statement today regarding the ongoing labor dispute at Verizon:

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute between Verizon’s workers, unions, and management. The parties are now working to reduce the agreement to writing, after which the proposal will be submitted to CWA and IBEW union members for ratification.

Throughout the past 13 days of negotiations at the Department of Labor, I have observed firsthand the parties’ good faith commitment to narrowing differences and forging an agreement that helps workers and the company. The parties have a shared interest in the success of Verizon and its dedicated workforce. Indeed, these two interests are inextricably intertwined.

This tentative resolution is a testament to the power of collective bargaining. I commend the leadership of Verizon, CWA, and IBEW for their commitment to resolving these difficult issues in the spirit of constructive engagement.

I expect that workers will be back on the job next week.”

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U.S. Department of LaborMay 17, 2016

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Statement of US Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez

on the ongoing labor dispute involving Verizon workers

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today issued the following statement on the ongoing labor dispute involving Verizon workers.

“The parties involved in the Verizon labor dispute, including the senior leadership of the unions and the company and their bargaining teams, met today in Washington with Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Allison Beck, an experienced federal mediator who the parties agreed today would assist in the ongoing contract negotiations. Discussions will continue in Washington this week under the auspices of the Department of Labor. The parties further agreed that during these talks they will make no public statements, nor will there be comments from the federal officials involved. 

“I’m encouraged by the parties’ continued commitment to remain at the bargaining table and work toward a resolution,” Secretary Perez said. “We will continue to facilitate conversations to help the unions and the company reach an agreement.”

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U.S. Department of Labor | May 15, 2016

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Statement of US Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez

on the ongoing labor dispute involving Verizon workers

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WASHINGTON  – The U.S. Department of Labor today issued the following statement on the ongoing labor dispute involving Verizon workers.

“A few days ago, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez reached out to the parties in the ongoing labor dispute involving Verizon workers and invited them to meet with him in Washington in an effort to help the parties resolve a dispute that is affecting thousands of workers, their families, and the company.

Today, Secretary Perez met at the U.S. Labor Department with Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon; Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America; and Lonnie Stephenson, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The parties had an open, frank and constructive dialogue about finding a comprehensive way forward to resolve disputed issues and get people back to work. The parties agreed to return to the bargaining table on Tuesday to continue their discussion.

“The best way to resolve this labor dispute is at the bargaining table, and I am heartened by the parties’ mutual commitment to get back to immediate discussions and work toward a new contract,” said Secretary Perez. “I was singularly impressed by the parties’ appreciation that time is of the essence, and their strong commitment to use the collective bargaining process to reach a mutually beneficial resolution.”

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CWA Uncovers Massive Verizon Offshoring Operation in Philippines

VERIZON’S ATTEMPTS TO DECEIVE PUBLIC ON THE EXTENT OF ITS OFFSHORING EXPOSED; CWA DELEGATION SEEKING MEETING WITH VERIZON MANAGEMENT IN PHILIPPINES IS CONFRONTED BY ARMED VERIZON SECURITY AND SWAT TEAM CARRYING AUTOMATIC WEAPONS

Friday, May 13, 2016

NEW YORK — Over the course of a four-day visit to the Philippines this week, four representatives of Communications Workers of America who are on strike discovered that the extent to which Verizon is offshoring work is far beyond what has previously been reported and what the company publicly has claimed. Verizon is offshoring customer service calls to numerous call centers in the Philippines, where workers are paid just $1.78 an hour and forced to work overtime without compensation. Terrified that the public might find out about what has happened to the good middle-class jobs the company has shipped overseas, Verizon sent private armed security forces after peaceful CWA representatives and called in a SWAT team armed with automatic weapons.

“Executives repeatedly have claimed that Verizon offshores few jobs, and none that affect our members. Recently, our union was contacted by call center workers in the Philippines who revealed that Verizon was lying to our members and the public about the extent of the off-shoring of good American jobs, so we sent four CWA members to the Philippines to learn the truth,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “When our members uncovered how Verizon is padding its incredible profit margins by replacing good paying American jobs with poverty-wage jobs abroad, Verizon sent armed guards and a SWAT team after them.”

CWA President Shelton continued: “Worse, Verizon has doubled down on its deception, claiming workers were on a ‘vacation.’ Let’s be clear: being on strike, exposing Verizon’s lies about off-shoring and being harassed by Verizon armed security guards is no vacation. Striking men and women from Massachusetts to Virginia are standing up for their families, their customers and to save middle class jobs for all Americans.”

Appearing on a picket line in Syracuse on April 14th, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam claimed that only a small part of the business’ calls were sent to call centers in the Philippines. But CWA’s delegation this week uncovered call centers in the Philippines staffed with workers during U.S. daytime hours taking every imaginable type of customer service call related to the company’s wireline services. At one call center, the depth of Verizon’s greed was exposed when the CWA delegation discovered that the offshore workers are paid just $1.78 an hour to answer calls from frustrated customers based in the U.S.

And despite Verizon’s protestation that the strike is not affecting service, it has forced call center workers in the Philippines to work overtime hours since 40,000 highly trained U.S. employees went on strike, including about 13,000 US call center workers. Call center workers said they were forced to commit to 1-2 hours of overtime 5 days a week, plus a full 8-hour 6th day of overtime. Verizon’s subcontractors do not pay workers additional overtime compensation for these hours.

“Verizon is terrified that the public might find out about what has happened to the good middle-class jobs the company has shipped to the Philippines. The truth is that Verizon is destroying middle-class American jobs so that it can pay workers $1.78 per hour and force them to work around the clock, rather than preserve good jobs in our communities. That’s what our strike is about. Instead of profiting off of poverty abroad, Verizon should come back to the table and negotiate a fair contract that protects middle-class jobs,” said Dennis Trainor, President of CWA District One.

One of Verizon’s key demands in the strike is the ability to close several call centers based on the East Coast, which are staffed by union members who earn a living wage with decent benefits. The company also wants to reduce the percentage of call center work that must be handled within the state that it originates from, another ploy that enables it to shift work to low-wage, non-union domestic contractors, or to Filipino or Mexican call centers.

“Talking about poverty pay does not warrant a response from armed guards, but it seems Verizon is going to great lengths to try to hide their strategy of outsourcing middle-class American jobs in favor of poverty wages abroad,” said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Edward Mooney.

When confronted about these issues at their corporate headquarters in the Philippines on Wednesday, May 11, Verizon officials refused to speak to the representatives. Presumably, it is difficult to justify paying workers $1.78 an hour when the company’s CEO made $18 million last year, and the company has piled up $1.5 billion a month in profits for the past 15 months. When the CWA delegation left peacefully, Verizon had their armed private security team pull over the departing van on a public street. The Verizon security team then called in a SWAT team, who surrounded the car, bearing automatic weapons. One police officer with his face covered in a balaclava pounded on the van window with his automatic rifle, demanding that the labor representatives leave the vehicle.

The union representatives, including CWA staff, a representative of UNI (global labor federation) and representatives of KMU (a Filipino union), were allowed to leave without further issue, as they had done nothing illegal and the police had no cause to detain them.

DOWNLOAD article


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Regional Bargaining Report # 54

Saturday May 7, 2016

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Following our meeting with Verizon on Monday, the CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met with the Company in off record discussions over call sharing, The union committee continued to meet throughout the week to discuss our next steps.

On May 5, CWA members and allies brought the Verizon strike to the company’s shareholder meeting in Albuquerque, NM. Dozens of strikers flew out from the East Coast and were met by their sisters and brothers in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Over 250 people protested outside the meeting. Inside, CWA activists spoke on shareholder resolutions and presented more than 300,000 petitions from customers to CEO Lowell McAdam.

Later, 15 union members and community supporters were arrested, after they draped a 70-foot banner reading "Verizon: Good Jobs, No Greed" across Rio Grande Blvd and then sat down under the banner to block traffic.

"As long as corporate executives put short-term profits ahead of the workers who make those profits possible and the communities they promised to serve, the calls for a change of course at Verizon will only grow stronger," said protestor Bianca Cunningham before she was arrested alongside fourteen other protestors for civil disobedience. Cunningham is a former Verizon Wireless worker who was fired in September while helping her fellow employees form a union.

National Day of Action

CWA members, activists and allies held a National Day of Action to focus attention on Verizon's corporate greed. The 39,000 CWA and IBEW members remain on strike, pushing the company to stop offshoring jobs and to keep good jobs in our communities, so customers can get the quality service they deserve.

More than 400 protests were held nationwide, at Verizon Wireless stores and other locations in dozens of cities. In New York City, some 2,000 workers, supporters and elected leaders marched to a Verizon Wireless store on Wall Street.

Read more about the Day of Action and all the latest on the Verizon strike at

www.facebook.com/standuptoverizon and www.standuptoverizon.com.

Keep the picket lines at Wireless strong, and keep following the scabs. The company will get the message--they will not break us.

We will win

Stay strong

Solidarity forever!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 53

Monday May 2, 2016

Your Bargaining Team met with the company in Rye this afternoon for approximately 2 1/2 hours.

We made some compromise proposals in a number of areas, designed to kick-start the bargaining process. One of these proposals included a plan that would give the company greater flexibility in routing customer service calls, while at the same time limiting the amount of contracting out of that work overall.

The company completely dismissed our proposals without even asking clarifying questions. They told us that when we start to move on their major demands, they would address our proposals more seriously.

They continue to insist that we cave in on all of their major proposals that would destroy our jobs and job security. These job-killing proposals include:

· Insisting on closing 5 call centers, which could lead to subcontracting and offshoring of our work.

· Slashing the percentage of call center work handled by our members.

· Insisting on expanded contracting out of field technicians work, including replacing, maintaining and moving hardware on poles.

· Eliminating the job security unless we agree to transfers and retirement incentives out of seniority order.

· Reduction of disability benefits.

· Freezing pension accruals at 30 years.

· And there is still not one word about improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of Verizon Wireless retail store employees or a fair contract for the VZW techs.

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The company is testing us. They think the combination of cutting off health benefits and spending something like $500,000 sending every member a FedEx package with their so-called "last, best and final offer" will break the strike. They think we are not prepared to fight. They think we are about to fold.

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They are wrong!

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The strike grows stronger by the day. It becomes clearer every day that the replacement workers don't have a clue about what they're doing and the company is falling further and further behind on FiOS installs and dealing with troubles. The picketing of wireless stores is expanding, and on Thursday, there will be a National Day of Action to spread the Wireless picketing across the country, with the help of other CWA Districts and our allies like Jobs with Justice and the AFL-CIO. On Thursday, we will challenge the company at their Annual Shareholders' Meeting in Albuquerque.

The key is to keep the picket lines at Wireless strong, and to keep following the scabs. Pretty soon, the company will get the message--they will not break us.

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SOLIDARITY WINS

We will win … Stand Strong!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 52

Thursday, April 28, 2016

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Today, Verizon presented what it described as its “last, best, and final offer” to your bargaining teams in Philadelphia and Westchester.

Unfortunately, their “last and best” was little more than the “same old bullshit.”

Here’s what they offered that was new: an additional 1% in wages, one year of corporate profit-sharing, and at last, they backed off at least part of their demand to be able to transfer workers for two months anywhere in the footprint. (They are however, still insisting on the right to transfer workers out of state for two months if the worker can commute home in the evening).

We of course welcome higher wages and these other changes.  But what good is a wage increase if we cannot ensure that our jobs will be around a year or two from now?

The company’s latest offer fails to address the union’s commitment to preserve job security and good jobs for our members in our communities.

  • There was no movement on the closing of call centers, which could lead to subcontracting and offshoring of our work.
  • They barely budged on the issue of protecting our share of the call center work.
  • They gave us an insulting proposal on contracting out plant work that does not return any contracted work to the bargaining unit, but might possibly slow down further contracting in the future.
  • Preservation of the “job security letter” is still linked to declaring surpluses by organization and eliminating seniority protections for transfers.
  • They are still looking to reduce our disability benefits.
  • They are still proposing to freeze pension accruals at 30 years.
  • There is still not one word about improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of Verizon Wireless retail store employees or a fair contract for the VZW techs.

Even before the company finished up this insulting presentation, it posted videos on its website designed to persuade our members that this was a reasonable offer and that we should end our strike.

Your bargaining committee was infuriated by this move in particular, and blasted the company for its arrogance and unwillingness after 10 months of bargaining to address the concerns of 39,000 CWA and IBEW members from Massachusetts to Virginia.

As usual, we are prepared to continue bargaining towards a fair contract.  The company can call  their proposals whatever they want: “last, best, final”; “first and worst”; “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”  Calling it the “last, best and final” is just a tired way of trying to intimidate our members into accepting a contract that we can’t live with.  It hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work now.

We will continue bargaining and striking until we get the contract that you deserve.  The strike is incredibly effective.  Picket lines are strong across the footprint. Business in Wireless stores has plummeted.  The scabs are making mistakes right and left, endangering themselves and the public with their unsafe practices—two of them nearly electrocuted themselves cutting a LIPA electric line in Garden City yesterday, and others dropped a telephone pole on a customer’s house in New Jersey—and they are failing to get any work accomplished.  A restaurant in New Brunswick featured a sign in the window that their online reservations system has been down because Verizon couldn’t fix their internet for 8 days, and that Verizon was being very unhelpful.

We are continuing to escalate the strike.  We are spreading picketing at Wireless stores across the country.  We are headed to the shareholders meeting in Albuquerque a week from today.

Meanwhile, your bargaining committee is working on next steps and will keep you posted on any new developments in bargaining. 

Stay strong, stay united, stay militant.  We are winning.

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RALLY TIME

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STAND UP and MARCH with VERIZON

STRIKERS

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Saturday May 7, 2016

Verizon Communications

65 Franklin St

Buffalo

10:00am

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We will meet, congregate, RALLY, and MARCH to express our SOLIDARITY for the working class here in WNY. 

Beginning at 10:00am we will march as ONE from 65 Franklin St to 548 South Elmwood and join our friends in the LABOR and POLITICAL COMMUNITY as we COLLECTIVELY STAND UP and SPEAK OUT against VERIZON CORPORATE GREED and the CONTEMPT they have for their highly skilled workforce.

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UAW 55-91

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DOWNLOAD RALLY FLYER


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CWA Statement on Verizon CEO's Attack on Working People

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

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The following statement can be attributed to Dennis Trainor, Vice President, CWA District 1and Edward Mooney, Vice President, CWA District 2-13:

Lowell McAdam's economic and moral theories are completely hollow, and his name-calling of Senator Sanders is another example of Verizon's boundless arrogance and greed. Mr. McAdam is directing his company to dodge taxes, separate families, shift work overseas and dismantle middle class jobs, and Senator Sanders is not only correct in his factual statements, he is boldly calling out Verizon's corporate greed. The CEO's attacks on the working people who build Verizon's massive profits and their supporters are meant to distract the public from multi-million dollar executive salaries and record profits.

CWA and IBEW were told by the company that health care cost savings was their top priority in negotiations. We have addressed this in bargaining, yet they still demand the destruction of good jobs while they book spectacular profits of $1.8 billion per month. Additionally, company executives refuse to offer any raises or other improvements to Verizon Wireless retail workers.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam makes over $18 million per year, which is over 200 times the pay of average Verizon workers. He even has access to a corporate jet for his personal needs. Mr. McAdam is attempting to smear Senator Sanders and the working people who built the company that enables his exorbitant pay package.

Verizon workers thank Senator Sanders for his extraordinary support. Like Senator Sanders told our striking members today: we will win.

Senator Sanders is also correct that Verizon is refusing to invest in high-speed Internet infrastructure. Verizon has left millions of households and businesses without access to FiOS. In New York City alone, Verizon broke its franchise agreement signed in 2008 to make FiOS available to all of the city's households by September 2014.

Verizon also refuses to build FiOS in cities from Massachusetts to Virginia, including Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, Binghamton, Utica, Springfield, Reading, Allentown, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Bethlehem, Wilmington, Roanoke, Baltimore and countless other towns in the region. Verizon's broken promises to build FiOS are destroying jobs and the future of regional economies.

Verizon has been rigging the tax system for years. From 2008 to 2013, Verizon had $42.5 billion in profits but the company utilized tax code trickery to manage an effective federal tax rate of negative 2.5%.To be clear, the company had a negative tax rate and actually got money back from the government. Now, Verizon is paying some taxes, but much less than what the majority of Americans are paying. In the last two years, Verizon did pay federal taxes — on $27.5 billion in profits — but its federal tax rate was 20%, less than most Verizon workers pay.

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PRESS CONTACT:

Bob Master

(917) 657-6483

rmaster@cwa-union.org

CWA Mid-Atlantic District Office

(215) 546-5574

Candice Johnson

(202) 434-1168

cjohnson@cwa-union.org

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Contact: Candice Johnson, CWA Communications, 202-415-6566, cjohnson@cwa-union.org, and Robert Master, CWA, 917-657-6483, rmaster@cwa-union.org

For release April 12, 2016

Verizon Strike Update

With Verizon executives refusing to give up demands on offshoring jobs and other devastating cuts, nearly 40,000 Verizon workers are preparing to go on strike on Wednesday at 6:00 am.  

The Communications Workers of America made this statement:

“The 39,000 hard-working families at Verizon have made the company successful. Given Verizon’s enormous profitability there is no justification for the company’s continuing demands to destroy good middle-class jobs and offshore work. Workers have negotiated in good faith for ten months and addressed the company’s primary concern, which they told us was limiting health care costs. Workers and the customers who depend on us would be much better served if Verizon returned to the bargaining table and negotiated a fair agreement that fairly addressed the concerns of their workforce.

“Marc Reed and other Verizon executives are trying to rig the system against working families. The question of federal mediation is a distraction to the real problem: Verizon's corporate greed.  Historically, federal mediators only get involved in collective bargaining situations with the agreement of both parties.  CWA did not authorize anyone at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to approach Verizon about extending the strike date. Either the FMCS acted without authorization or Verizon executive vice president Marc Reed is lying.

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“All day today, CWA and IBEW bargaining teams have been available to meet, ready, willing and able to bargain. Where’s Verizon?”

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 CWA and IBEW Set to Go On Strike at Verizon

Wednesday, April 13, 6 a.m.

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After ten months of intensive negotiations to reach a fair contract with Verizon, the CWA and IBEW have announced a strike deadline of 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13.  We will set up picket lines and shut this company down if a fair agreement is not reached by then.

Verizon made $39 billion in profits over the last three years — and $1.8 billion a month in profits over the first three months of 2016 — but the company is still insisting on givebacks that would devastate our jobs.

The company wants to gut job security protections, contract out more of our work, freeze our pensions at 30 years of service, shutter call centers and offshore the jobs to Mexico and the Philippines. If we don’t accept all of these changes, they will require technicians to work away from home for as long as two months at a time, anywhere in the Verizon footprint, without seeing their families. Verizon has also totally refused to negotiate any improvements in wages, benefits or working conditions for Verizon Wireless retail workers who formed a union in 2014.

The company’s greed is disgusting.  Lowell McAdam made $18 million last year—more than 200 times the compensation of the average Verizon employee. Verizon’s top five executives made $233 million over the last five years.  Last year alone, Verizon paid out $13.5 billion in dividends and stock buybacks to shareholders.  But they claim they can’t afford a fair contract. 

And it’s not just workers who are getting screwed.  Verizon has $35 billion to invest in the failing internet company, Yahoo, but refuses to maintain its copper network,  let alone build FiOS in underserved communities across the region.  And even where it’s legally committed to building FiOS out for every customer, Verizon refuses to hire enough workers to get the job done right or on time.

It’s time for Verizon to acknowledge that working families also have a right to do well in America. It’s time for a contract that’s fair to Verizon’s working people and the customers we serve.

Going on strike is a decision that is not made lightly.  Your bargaining team has worked countless hours to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement.  We have indicated a willingness to help the company cut its health care costs by hundreds of millions of dollars.  But our good faith has not been reciprocated.  It has been met by an arrogant disrespect for both workers and consumers.  That is why we have made the decision to hit the streets two days from now.  We are counting on every member to dig in, be prepared, join picket lines, picket Verizon Wireless Stores, and demonstrate the commitment and solidarity that have been the values we’ve lived by throughout CWA’s proud history.  If the company changes course and shows a willingness to bargain in good faith, your bargaining team stands ready.  In the meantime, we will do whatever we have to do to win a fair contract for 39,000 Verizon workers from Massachusetts to Virginia.  Solidarity forever!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 51

Tuesday April 19, 2016

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The CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met today at the Rye town Hilton.

We informed the Company bargaining committee members that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam had been out to a few picket lines talking to striking members. 

We advised them that McAdam made the following incorrect statements to our members:

  1. The stuff about taking job security away is “B.S.”
  2. Medical benefits and wages are settled.
  3. Only DSL calls are being routed to the Philippines 

At first the Company said that they heard that McAdam had been to picket lines but they were unfamiliar with what he actually said. (CEO goes to picket line, articulates company bargaining position to striking workers, but the company bargaining team is unaware of what he is saying?)  Then they argued that what McAdam said didn’t matter anyway because their proposal speaks for itself. (CEO’s bargaining position doesn’t matter; he’s only the CEO).  Since the Company had not seen the tape of the Syracuse encounter, we showed it to them so they could hear their CEO making these statements.  The Company had no explanation to offer after viewing the tape.

We then had a heated discussion regarding transfers.

The Union gave examples that show that the company already has a great deal of flexibility on in-state transfers and that the Company routinely misuses that flexibility at the expense of our members. The Union pointed out that over the term of the last contract the Company permanently transferred thousands of workers and also temporarily transferred thousands more workers throughout New York State. When the Union asked the Company for information on the numbers of temporary transfers they told us that they don’t keep track of that. (Verizon doesn’t know where their employees are working - Really?)

We also discussed the Company’s Article 8 proposal and the Company was unsure on how this proposal would affect their employees.

We asked the Company if they had anything to address our needs – they said No.

The Company has not moved off of any of their retrogressive proposals.

Sooner or later the company will get the message: Our members are united in the fight for good jobs. We are NOT backing down. If they didn’t know it before yesterday, 8000 strikers and their allies marching in the streets of Manhattan should have convinced them.  Yesterday was incredible—a terrific job done by all the locals.  Many members are saying it was the best rally they could ever remember!

Picket lines are strong everywhere.  We are hitting the Wireless stores hard.  We are getting internal, reliable reports from Wireless stores that sales are plummeting.  We are keeping customers out.  Keep up the good work.

CWA and IBEW are showing the way for the country.  As Bernie Sanders told 8500 supporters in Queens last night: “These men and women on strike at Verizon are fighting for every working person in America!”  Keep up the great work!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 50

Thursday April 7, 2016

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The CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met yesterday at the Rye town Hilton.

Last week during off the record discussions the Union laid out to the Company a path to a contract by addressing the Company’s critical needs. We also made it clear to them that in order to reach an agreement they would have to address the Union’s critical needs and drop all of the remaining retrogressive demands.

Yesterday the Company gave us a proposal that contained no movement from their previous proposal to address our critical needs. There was no movement in wages, it continues to freeze pensions at 30 years and still allows them to increase contracting and off-shoring of our work.

The Company’s proposal still contains retrogressive demands that include:

  • Job Security- Eliminate the no-layoff protections for workers hired before 2003 unless the Unions agree to other concessions
  • Disability- a diminishment of our disability plans for members who get injured on the job
  • Call Sharing- the elimination of home based routing, a reduction in the percentage of calls and the ability to route all calls for new products or services to contractors for 9 months
  • Corporate Profit Sharing- Eliminate
  • Closing call centers- the closing of centers that would result in transferring members up to 80 miles from their current work location
  • Force Adjustment Plan- the ability to declare surpluses and offer IPP by organization which would circumvent seniority within your title
  • Article 8- the ability to transfer members with little regard to seniority effectively destroying the Article 8 provision in the Plant contract
  • Work/Family- reduce the funding by $600,000 over the life of the contract
  • Tuition Assistance Plan- major changes that would drastically limit the courses a member could take
  • Dependent Eligibility for benefits- Eliminate sponsored children and Class II dependents effective 1-1-18

In their proposal, the Company also had the audacity to threaten our members that if a contract isn’t ratified by May 20th  they would have the right to temporarily transfer technicians from Massachusetts to Virginia for up to 60 days while allowing technicians to be transferred into your state to do your work and make Sunday part of your regular workweek.

The Company’s proposal also shifts more healthcare costs on to our retirees even though the Union had agreed to allow the Company to implement a Medicare Advantage Plan that would save them tens of millions of dollars.

Verizon is a hugely profitable and greedy corporation that is intent on driving down the living standards of the workers who make their profits possible - not because they “need” the savings, but because they “want” the savings and they believe they have the power to do so.

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At this point, every member should be ready to strike at a moments notice!

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CWA PRESIDENT CHRIS SHELTON WILL BE ANNOUNCING A STRIKE DATE WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

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Download Regional Bargaing Report #50

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VERIZON WORKERS BLAST COMPANY’S

CORPORATE GREED IN NEW TV AD

Verizon workers call company “the poster child of corporate greed”

as they prepare to go on strike, if necessary

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NEW YORK -- Frustrated with the unproductive pace of negotiations towards a new contract for 39,000 Verizon workers from Massachusetts to Virginia, the Communications Workers of America has launched a regional TV and digital ad buy calling the nation’s 16th largest company “the poster child for corporate greed.”  The ad can be viewed here: http://standuptoverizon.com/poster-child/.

Verizon made $1.5 billion a month in profits in 2015—and $39 billion in profits over the last three years—while insisting at the bargaining table that workers accept major cutbacks in health care coverage, job security, pension protections, and benefits for injured workers.  Verizon also adamantly refuses to bargain a fair first contract for wireless retail store workers in NY and Massachusetts.  Continued management intransigence on these issues, which has left workers without a contract since August 1st of 2015, could lead to a strike that would affect consumers from Massachusetts to Virginia.

In the new advertisement, which will start running this weekend, retired Verizon worker Ernie Hammel – 29-year former field technician - tells customers,“This company is the poster child for corporate greed.”

Following clips of national TV reports about growing economic inequality in the country, the advertisement shows that Verizon’s CEO makes more than 200 times as much as the company’s average worker.

“For a communications company, Verizon executives seem to have trouble hearing their customers and their workers,” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President for CWA District One, which covers Verizon workers from New Jersey to Massachusetts.  “A company this profitable should not be making the wealth gap in America even worse by cutting benefits and destroying job security, while a handful of executives line their pockets with $50 million a year in compensation.”

“Americans are outraged by what the corporate elite has done to working people in this country over the last 30 years,” said Ed Mooney, Vice President for CWA District 2-13, which covers the workforce from Pennsylvania to Virginia.  “And Verizon typifies everything that people in this country are angry about.  If we have to walk, Verizon will be a national target for anger at corporate greed.”

Verizon workers, represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), have been working without a contract since August and are growing increasingly frustrated that the company is still attempting to make devastating changes, including:

·      Eliminating job security and allowing the company to force transfer workers anywhere in the company’s footprint, away from their families, for up to two months at a time.

·      Refusing to negotiate a fair first contract for 100 Verizon Wireless workers who organized into CWA in 2014.  No raises, no benefit increases, no improvements to working conditions.

·      Freezing pension accruals at 30 years of service.

·      Vastly expanding contracting out and offshoring of union jobs. This comes on top of Verizon’s outsourcing of thousands of call center jobs to Mexico, the Philippines and other overseas locations in recent years.

·      Gutting the Family Leave Care plan, which provides paid leave to care for sick family members or care for a newborn.

·      Gutting the Sickness and Accident Disability Plan, which provides benefits to workers injured on the job.

·      And continuing their oppressive, bullying tactics of harassment and intimidation every day on the job.

“Verizon workers are the backbone of this company, and executives have lost sight of what makes this company so profitable,” said national CWA President Chris Shelton.  “Verizon workers have helped executives pocket $249 million in the last five years while their own families are worrying about job security. We’re all tired of waiting for Verizon executives to agree to a fair contract.  It’s time to let customers know what is going on, and why we’ll be on strike if the situation doesn’t change soon.”

Verizon is falling short on commitments to its customers as well. The company refuses to build out FiOS in many underserved communities up and down the East Coast, and has abandoned upkeep of the traditional landline network, leading to extensive service problems for consumers.  Even in New York City, where Verizon pledged to make FiOS available to every customer by the end of 2014, the City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications issued a report finding that the company was evading the buildout commitments it made under its 2008 video franchise agreement.

In a strike vote conducted last summer, 86% of Verizon workers supported walking off the job if a fair agreement could not be reached.

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         CWA Local 1122…..2016 Meeting Dates

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          Stewards Meeting                                  Thursday, January 7, 2016

         Membership Meeting                            Tuesday, February 2, 2016

         Stewards Meeting                                  Tuesday, March 1, 2016

         Membership Meeting                            Tuesday, April 5, 2016

         Stewards Meeting                                  Tuesday, May 3, 2016

         Membership Meeting                            Tuesday, June 7, 2016

         Stewards Meeting                                  Thursday, September 8, 2016

         Membership Meeting                            Tuesday, October 4, 2016

         Stewards Meeting                                  Tuesday, November 1, 2016

         Membership Meeting                            Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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** Our June 7, 2016 membership meeting will be a picnic style meeting at Fontana's Grove 2299 Clinton St in West Seneca.

Steward Meetings are held at the CWA Local 1122 Union Hall 3775 Genesee St. 

Food is served at 5pm the meeting begins at 6pm.

Membership Meetings are held at Lucarelli’s, 1830 Abbott Rd, Lackawanna. 

Dinner is served at 5pm the meeting begins at 6pm.

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If you have any interest in the change or resolution of our workplace issues, then it is your responsibility to attend these meetings.

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Website:  cwa1122.org                                                       Tape: 716.633.2345

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UAW 55-91

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Download Meeting Schedule



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Sign the petition! Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam: Bring Back Bianca

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Sisters and Brothers,

Bianca organized her coworkers at Verizon Wireless. Now the company has fired her.

In 2014, Bianca and her coworkers in Brooklyn, NY started a movement for their rights at work, which culminated on May 14, 2014 when workers at all six Brooklyn Verizon Wireless stores voted overwhelmingly to join the Communications Workers of America. Another retail store in Everett, Massachusetts quickly followed suit.

Bianca tore down management’s wall between unionized Verizon landline and mostly non-union Verizon Wireless - where, out of a workforce of 79,000, 155 workers are unionized. And for that, the company wanted Bianca gone.

Can you join me and take action?

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Click here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/bring-back-bianca-2?source=email&

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Thanks!

Stand Up to Verizon
standuptoverizon.com


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CWA Launches TV Ad Slamming Verizon’s Broken Promises

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Ad Highlights City Audit Finding Verizon is Failing to Meet Terms of Its Franchise Agreement, Refusing to Build High-Speed Internet

Pressure Grows on Verizon to Stop Stalling as City Council Hearing Scheduled for Wednesday 

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New York – The Communications Workers of America (CWA) announced today a new TV ad that will air on local broadcast and cable channels slamming Verizon’s failure to build out its high-speed FiOS network in New York. The 30-second ad highlights a New York City audit of Verizon’s FiOS rollout in New York City that found that Verizon has failed to meet its promise to deliver high-speed fiber optic internet and television to everyone in the city who wanted it [script below and video file can be viewed here].  In a sign of growing concerns about Verizon, the City Council is holding a hearing Wednesday to hear from the Administration, customers who have been unable to get FiOS and the company.

“Verizon should stop breaking promises to its employees and its customers,” said Bob Master, Assistant to the President for CWA District One. “Customers want FiOS and our members want a contract that maintains family-supporting jobs.  Verizon should stop stalling on both issues.”

New York City is not the only city frustrated with Verizon’s broken promises.  Last week, 13 Northeastern Mayors and the Democratic candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia sent a letter to Verizon expressing anger at Verizon’s refusal to build its high-speed FiOS network at all in some cities while in others the company fails to meet contractual and legal requirements to complete universal build-outs.  The Mayors also expressed concern about Verizon’s treatment of its workforce in ongoing contract negotiations.

The anger has been growing across the East Coast as Verizon systematically refuses to invest in its infrastructure.  In a letter to the FCC it admitted that it had only spent $200 million or $3.50 per customer over the last seven years to maintain its copper landline network in eleven states and the District of Columbia.  The Communications Workers of America filed letters in six states and Washington, DC calling on them to investigate whether Verizon was neglecting its responsibility.

In August, it was the only major U.S. telecommunications company to turn down federal funding to build broadband in unserved, primarily rural, communities, leaving many residents in eight states and the District of Columbia without access to vital communications options.  The company was offered $568 million over six years by the Federal government to bring broadband to 270,000 locations in Washington, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

In New York State, the company refuses to avail itself of Governor Cuomo’s $500 million New York Broadband Fund, which offers up to 50% subsidies to companies willing to build high-speed service in underserved areas.  For years, Verizon has steadfastly refused to bring its high-speed internet service (or FiOS) to areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Rome, Utica and numerous other upstate New York cities, as well as much of Eastern Suffolk.  At a series of hearings held by New York State, elected officials from BuffaloSyracuseAlbany, the North Country, the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley decried the lack of FiOS in their communities.

Campaigns in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have also called for FiOS to be built in their communities.

Background

39,000 workers are currently negotiating new contracts at Verizon. Fortune Magazine ranked Verizon the 15thlargest corporation in America in 2014, with revenues of $127 billion, profits of $9.6 billion, and market capitalization of $198.4 billion. Verizon had profits of $28 billion over the last five years, and paid its top five executives $249 million during that time. 

CWA Verizon FiOS Television Script Text

Script

NARRATOR: Verizon made a lot of promises to New Yorkers, but did it keep them?

In Bed-Stuy, the Bronx and neighborhoods in between, New Yorkers have been asking for FiOS, the high-speed internet and TV service Verizon promised, and getting the runaround.

TV Reporter: “Verizon failed to honor a 2008 contract it signed with the city promising high speeds to anyone who asks within a year.”

More broken promises.  Communities left behind.

NARRATOR: “New Yorkers just can’t trust Verizon.”

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Click On the LINK below to view the ad

http://files.cwa-union.org/District1/BR01615_CWAV_Broken%20Promises_20151009_YT.mp4

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EAST COAST MAYORS REPRESENTING OVER 12 MILLION PEOPLE BLAST VERIZON

Oct 05, 2015

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East Coast Mayors Representing Over 12 Million People Blast Verizon: Stop Stalling, Start Building High-Speed Internet – and Guarantee Good Phone Service to All Consumers

In Some Cities, Verizon Ignores Legislative and Contractual Buildout Requirements; In Others, Refuses to Build FiOS at all, While Letting Traditional Landline Network Deteriorate Everywhere

Washington - Mayors of 14 cities with over 12 million residents are fed up with Verizon.  The Mayors expressed anger at Verizon’s refusal to build its high-speed FiOS network at all in some cities while in others the company fails, to meet contractual and legal requirements to complete universal build-outs.  The Mayors also expressed concern about Verizon’s treatment of its workforce in ongoing contract negotiations.

In a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, the Mayors called on the company to sit down to discuss ways the company can better serve customers and resolve disputes with the Verizon workers who are in the midst of a contract negotiation.

”As Mayors, we understand firsthand how vital Broadband is to the growth of our local economies and to nurturing a healthy, competitive marketplace in our state. Our residents use the Internet to search for jobs, build home-based businesses, educate their children and engage in the civic life of our cities.

“But consistently and increasingly, our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them. These are not isolated complaints – there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution,” wrote the Mayors.

“At the same time, we are hearing concerns that both in cities covered by a FiOS franchise or in which FiOS is still completely unavailable, Verizon has been abandoning the copper network and traditional landline customers are experiencing frequent service outages, delays in repairs and installations, and forced migration to the inferior Voice Link product. As you know, the New York Public Service Commission stated in its recent Staff Assessment of Telecommunications in NY: ‘In many areas of New York City, the legacy copper infrastructure is in such poor condition that copper failures due to weather conditions can cause long delays for service restoration and Commission service quality standards are missed,’” the letter continued.

In a sign of the growing frustration with Verizon’s refusal to invest in its wired network, the letter was signed by the

The anger has been growing across the East Coast as Verizon systematically refuses to invest in its infrastructure.  In August, it was the only major U.S. telecommunications company to turn down federal funding to build broadband in unserved, primarily rural, communities, leaving many residents in eight states and the District of Columbia without access to vital communications options.  The company was offered $568 million over six years by the Federal government to bring broadband to 270,000 locations in Washington, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

In New York State, the company refuses to avail itself of Governor Cuomo’s $500 million New New York Broadband Fund, which offers up to 50% subsidies to companies willing to build high-speed service in underserved areas.  For years, Verizon has steadfastly refused to bring its high-speed internet service (or FiOS) to areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Rome, Utica and numerous other upstate New York cities, as well as much of Eastern Suffolk.  At a series of hearings held by New York State, elected officials from Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, the North Country, the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley decried the lack of FiOS in their communities.

Campaigns in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have also called for FiOS to be built in their communities.

A damning audit of Verizon’s FiOS rollout in New York City found that Verizon has failed to meet its promise to deliver high-speed fiber optic internet and television to everyone in the city who wanted it.  During its negotiations for a city franchise, Verizon promised that the entire city would be wired with fiber optic cables by June 2014 and that after that date, everyone who wanted FiOS would get it within six months to a year.  The audit found that despite claiming that it had wired the whole city by November 2014, Verizon systematically continues to refuse orders for service.  The audit also found that Verizon stonewalled the audit process.

At the same time, Verizon has been letting its traditional phone network deteriorate.  In a letter to the FCC it admitted that it had only spent $200 million or $3.50 per customer over the last seven years to maintain its copper landline network in eleven states and the District of Columbia.  The Communications Workers of America filed letters in six states and Washington, DC calling on them to investigate whether Verizon was neglecting its responsibility.

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CWA Verizon Letter Coverage Report:

Thirteen mayors blast Verizon for slow FiOS rollouts

Russell Brandom, The Verge, 10.05.15

Verizon (VZ) Chastised For ‘Poor Service Record’ By Northeast Mayors, Including Bill De Blasio In NYC

Christopher Zara, International Business Times,10.05.15

13 Mayors (And One Almost-Mayor) Ask Verizon To Stop Dragging Its Feet On FiOS

Chris Morran, Consumerist, 10.05.15

Verizon faces call to expand FiOS from 14 East Coast mayors

Sean Buckley, Fiercetelecom, 10.05.15

Also Posted: Press Release

East Coast Mayors Representing Over 12 Million People Blast Verizon Read more at East Coast Mayors Representing Over 12 Million People Blast Verizon

Joshua Henne, PolitickerNJ, 10.05.15

MAYORS ON THE EAST COAST CALL ON VERIZON TO IMPROVE BROADBAND SERVICE

Bailey McCann, CivSource, 10.05.15

Peduto urges Verizon CEO to continue rolling out high-speed Internet

Paul J.Gough, Pittsburgh Business Times, 10.05.15

City Hall Notebook

Nick Kotsopoulos, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 10.05.15

Full Text: 

Thirteen mayors blast Verizon for slow FiOS rollouts

Russell Brandom, The Verge, 10.05.15

Thirteen northeastern mayors are taking Verizon to task for its lackluster approach to building out FiOS, including mayors from New York, Pittsburgh, and Newark, as well as the democratic candidate for mayor in Philadelphia. In a newly published letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, the mayors complain that Verizon's FiOS's buildout has been slow, current copper networks are under-maintained, and raise concerns about current contract negotiations with the Communications Workers of America union. "Consistently and increasingly, our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them," the letter reads. "We are deeply concerned that you have not acted like a good corporate citizen."

It's the strongest FioS-related rebuke Verizon has faced so far, although Verizon has faced local objections in both New York and several towns in northern New Jersey, where franchise agreements require Verizon to provide FioS access to every property. Nearly a fifth of properties in Jersey City have been exempted from that agreement, and a New York City audit in June found more than 40,000 outstanding building requests. A 2013 audit found 51 percent of New York City households had no access to the FiOS network.

"WE ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED..."

Reached for comment, Verizon dismissed the objections as a political ploy. "There is absolutely no news in this letter," said Verizon spokesperson Rich Young. "In all areas where Verizon has franchises and agreed to deploy FiOS, we have met or surpassed our deployment obligations. Since Verizon started bargaining this year with the CWA, we’ve seen numerous half-baked and inaccurate letters and statements from union leaders regarding Verizon’s FiOS commitments and more. It’s all nonsense."

Verizon (VZ) Chastised For ‘Poor Service Record’ By Northeast Mayors, Including Bill De Blasio In NYC

Christopher Zara, International Business Times,10.05.15

If you’ve been frustrated with your Verizon FiOS service lately, take heart -- at least you’re in good company. More than a dozen U.S. mayors last week sent a scathing letter to Lowell McAdam, chairman and chief executive of Verizon Communications Inc., accusing the telecom giant of failing on multiple fronts to provide residents with adequate fiber optic cable service.

The letter, dated Oct. 1 and posted online the same day, states that millions of city dwellers are being left without FiOS service, either because Verizon has refused to build new fiber optic networks or because it has failed to meet contractual and legislative deadlines for new buildout. In the meantime, the mayors charge, Verizon has let its traditional copper network deteriorate, causing frequent service outages for customers that still rely on it. As an example, the letter cites a recent staff assessment of telecommunications infrastructure from the New York Public Service Commission, which found subpar copper networks are the norm in many areas.

“Based on irrefutable evidence of your company’s poor service record, lack of transparency and accountability, or demands for exclusive agreements with landlords throughout the region, we are deeply concerned that you have not acted like a good corporate citizen and that an incomplete FiOS rollout will result in decreased competition and the reduction of benefits to consumers throughout the Verizon footprint. As elected officials, it is our obligation and our responsibility to bring these complaints to your attention.”

In all, the letter was signed by 13 mayors, including Bill de Blasio of New York, William Peduto of Pittsburgh, Ras Baraka of Newark, New Jersey, Eric Jackson of Trenton, New Jersey, and mayors other prominent Northeast cities. James Kenney, the Democratic candidate for mayor of Philadelphia, also signed the letter, although the incumbent, Michael Nutter, did not. The cities are home to more than 12 million residents combined, the letter states.

A Verizon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The letter comes at a critical time for Verizon, whose FiOS service could face fortified competition from Cablevision, its key rival in many areas, which was recently acquired by the European telecom giant Altice.

FatCatVerizon workers protest alongside a giant inflatable "fat pig" in Lower Manhattan while CEO Lowell McAdam was giving a talk in September.  Christopher Zara/International Business Times

In addition to criticizing Verizon’s service record, the mayors called out the company’s protracted labor dispute with the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Thousands of Verizon employees have been working without a contract as the two sides battle over pension and health benefits. Last month, workers erected a giant “fat pig” balloon and staged a protest outside a Lower Manhattan hotel where McAdam was giving a talk.

“We want to partner with Verizon in the future so that all of our cities can thrive and grow in the digital economy of the 21st century,” the mayors wrote. “This includes clear steps to better serving consumers and resolving disputes with your workforce.”

Read the full letter here.

13 Mayors (And One Almost-Mayor) Ask Verizon To Stop Dragging Its Feet On FiOS

Chris Morran, Consumerist, 10.05.15

Earlier this year, Verizon made clear what many industry watchers had known for years — that it was reaching the end of its first major buildout phase of Verizon FiOS service and that the company was going to focus on getting customers onto that network. But more than a dozen mayors, including the presumed future mayor of Comcast’s home city, have written the company to ask that it bring much-needed competition to their markets.
 

The letter [PDF] was sent late last week by the mayors of cities representing around 12 million people in Verizon’s existing telephone service footprint from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts.
 

“[W]e are writing to voice our concern at your company’s failure to meet the needs of our constituents for access to state-of-the-art fiber optic cable service,” reads the note to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.
 

“Our residents use the Internet to search for jobs, build home-based businesses, educate their children and engage in the civic life of our cities,” continue the mayors. “But consistently and increasingly, our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them. These are not isolated complaints – there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution.”
 

The mayors point to the ongoing war of words in New York City and various parts of New Jersey where some leaders contend that Verizon has failed to meet its contractual obligation to provide high-speed Internet service.
 

“In New York City, as elsewhere in the Northeast, the FiOS build-out has clear franchise deadlines and availability requirements for residents who would like to purchase FiOS,” reads the letter. “As New York City thoroughly documented in its recent audit, Verizon has failed to meet its contractual deadlines for rollout and service installation.”
 

The letter also addresses Verizon’s refusal thus far to offer FiOS at all in markets like Albany, Syracuse, or Lowell and Worcester in Massachusetts.
 

In addition to calling out Verizon’s apparent reluctance to invest in FiOS construction, the mayors question some of the company’s business practices.
 

“Based on irrefutable evidence of your company’s poor service record, lack of transparency and accountability, or demands for exclusive agreements with landlords throughout the region, we are deeply concerned that you have not acted like a good corporate citizen,” reads the letter, “and that an incomplete FiOS rollout will result in decreased competition and the reduction of benefits to consumers throughout the Verizon footprint.”
 

The mayors say they all agree on a goal of having “Vigorous competition to provide the most advanced services at the lowest prices” and in “closing the digital divide and ensuring that our city residents have the same choices of providers as the affluent suburbs.”
 

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UPDATE:
A spokesperson for Verizon tells Consumerist that “There is absolutely ‘no news’ in this letter,” and maintains that, “In all areas where Verizon has franchises and agreed to deploy FiOS, we have met or surpassed our deployment obligations.”

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Below is the full list of mayors that signed on to the letter. Of interest is the inclusion of Philadelphia’s James Kenney. As the Democratic candidate for mayor, he’s the presumed winner in the upcoming election. Signing his name to a letter that calls for Verizon to bring more FiOS to his city (which has partial FiOS access) could be seen as a slap in the face of Comcast, whose tower looms large over Philadelphia City Hall.
 

Kenney’s inclusion is a marked departure from current Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter who has been such a cheerleader for Comcast that he led a mayoral coalition pushing for approval of the company’s doomed acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
 

The Nutter administration has also been involved in such Comcast-friendly moves as giving the cable company an advance look at a long-delayed, heavily critical customer survey. Not to mention thecity’s efforts to effectively outlaw satellite dishes on the front of buildings.


Anyway, here are the mayors that signed on to the letter sent to Verizon:


MASSACHUSETTS
• Joseph M. Petty; Worcester
• Rodney M. Elliot; Lowell
• Bill Carpenter; Brockton
• Daniel Rizzo; Revere


PENNSYLVANIA
• William Peduto; Pittsburgh
• Democratic candidate James Kenney; Philadelphia


NEW JERSEY
• Ras Baraka; Newark
• Steven M. Fulop; Jersey City
• Jose Torres; Paterson
• Eric E. Jackson; Trenton


NEW YORK
• Bill de Blasio; New York City
• Byron Brown; Buffalo
• Stephanie Miner; Syracuse
• Kathy Sheehan; Albany

 

Verizon faces call to expand FiOS from 14 East Coast mayors

Sean Buckley, Fiercetelecom, 10.05.15

Also Posted: Press Release

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is facing a call from 14 city mayors on the East Coast to expand its FiOS FTTH network into more areas that have limited access to high speed services.

This group asked Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam in a letter to talk about ways the telco can more effectively serve its wireline customers and resolve disputes with the Verizon workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) who are in the midst of negotiating a new labor contract.

This letter was signed by the mayors of New York, Pittsburgh, Newark, N.J., Jersey City, N.J., Buffalo, N.Y., Worcester, Mass., Paterson, N.J., Syracuse, N.Y., Lowell, Mass., Albany, N.Y., Brockton, Mass., Trenton, N.J., and Revere, Mass., and the Democratic candidate for mayor in Philadelphia.

The mayors said in their joint letter that "our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them" and that "there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution."

In addition to FiOS, the mayors addressed growing complaints that traditional wireline consumers are facing downtime due to claims that the telco has not been conducting necessary maintenance on its copper network.

"At the same time, we are hearing concerns that both in cities covered by a FiOS franchise or in which FiOS is still completely unavailable, Verizon has been abandoning the copper network and traditional landline customers are experiencing frequent service outages, delays in repairs and installations, and forced migration to the inferior VoiceLink product," the mayors said. "As you know, the New York Public Service Commission stated in its recent Staff Assessment of Telecommunications in NY: "In many areas of New York City, the legacy copper infrastructure is in such poor condition that copper failures due to weather conditions can cause long delays for service restoration and Commission service quality standards are missed.'"

Arguments about its copper network have continued to rise. The Communications Workers of America filed letters in six states and Washington, D.C., asking them to investigate whether Verizon was neglecting its copper network.  

Verizon immediately refuted the CWA's claims. In an FCC filing, Verizon said that the CWA misinterpreted a statement it made in a July letter to the FCC about how much it invests on its copper network.

Verizon said that the "more than $200 million" investment it referenced in an earlier filing about its copper does not relate to all of the capital dollars the telco has made in maintaining its copper network.

Unlike its peers AT&T and CenturyLink, Verizon refused to take the proffered $568 million in funds from the second phase of the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF-II). Over a six year period, these funds could have been used to extend broadband to 270,000 locations in D.C., Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

In New York State, a series of hearings held by New York State, elected officials from Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, the North Country, the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley called out how Verizon continues to refuse to bring FiOS to their communities.

Similar calls for FiOS have been made in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Mayors from Peabody and Salem, Mass., recently sent Verizon letters asking the telco to connect homes and businesses in their cities with fiber, for example.

For more: see the release

East Coast Mayors Representing Over 12 Million People Blast Verizon Read more at East Coast Mayors Representing Over 12 Million People Blast Verizon

Joshua Henne, PolitickerNJ, 10.05.15

In Some Cities, Verizon Ignores Legislative and Contractual Buildout Requirements; In Others, Refuses to Build FiOS at all, While Letting Traditional Landline Network Deteriorate Everywhere

WASHINGTON- Mayors of 14 cities with over 12 million residents are fed up with Verizon.  The Mayors expressed anger at Verizon’s refusal to build its high-speed FiOS network at all in some cities while in others the company fails, to meet contractual and legal requirements to complete universal build-outs.  The Mayors also expressed concern about Verizon’s treatment of its workforce in ongoing contract negotiations.

In a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, the Mayors called on the company to sit down to discuss ways the company can better serve customers and resolve disputes with the Verizon workers who are in the midst of a contract negotiation.

”As Mayors, we understand firsthand how vital Broadband is to the growth of our local economies and to nurturing a healthy, competitive marketplace in our state. Our residents use the Internet to search for jobs, build home-based businesses, educate their children and engage in the civic life of our cities.

“But consistently and increasingly, our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them. These are not isolated complaints – there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution,” wrote the Mayors.

“At the same time, we are hearing concerns that both in cities covered by a FiOS franchise or in which FiOS is still completely unavailable, Verizon has been abandoning the copper network and traditional landline customers are experiencing frequent service outages, delays in repairs and installations, and forced migration to the inferior VoiceLink product. As you know, the New York Public Service Commission stated in its recent Staff Assessment of Telecommunications in NY: ‘In many areas of New York City, the legacy copper infrastructure is in such poor condition that copper failures due to weather conditions can cause long delays for service restoration and Commission service quality standards are missed,’” the letter continued.

In a sign of the growing frustration with Verizon’s refusal to invest in its wired network, the letter was signed by the Mayors of New York, Pittsburgh, Newark, Jersey City, Buffalo, Worcester, Paterson, Syracuse, Lowell, Albany, Brockton, Trenton and Revere and the Democratic candidate for Mayor in Philadelphia.

The anger has been growing across the East Coast as Verizon systematically refuses to invest in its infrastructure.  In August, it was the only major U.S. telecommunications company to turn down federal funding to build broadband in unserved, primarily rural, communities, leaving many residents in eight states and the District of Columbia without access to vital communications options.  The company was offered $568 million over six years by the Federal government to bring broadband to 270,000 locations in Washington, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

In New York State, the company refuses to avail itself of Governor Cuomo’s $500 million New New York Broadband Fund, which offers up to 50% subsidies to companies willing to build high-speed service in underserved areas.  For years, Verizon has steadfastly refused to bring its high-speed internet service (or FiOS) to areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Rome, Utica and numerous other upstate New York cities, as well as much of Eastern Suffolk.  At a series of hearings held by New York State, elected officials from BuffaloSyracuse,Albany, the North Country, the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley decried the lack of FiOS in their communities.

Campaigns in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have also called for FiOS to be built in their communities.

A damning audit of Verizon’s FiOS rollout in New York City found that Verizon has failed to meet its promise to deliver high-speed fiber optic internet and television to everyone in the city who wanted it.  During its negotiations for a city franchise, Verizon promised that the entire city would be wired with fiber optic cables by June 2014 and that after that date, everyone who wanted FiOS would get it within six months to a year.  The audit found that despite claiming that it had wired the whole city by November 2014, Verizon systematically continues to refuse orders for service.  The audit also found that Verizon stonewalled the audit process.

At the same time, Verizon has been letting its traditional phone network deteriorate.  In a letter to the FCC it admitted that it had only spent $200 million or $3.50 per customer over the last seven years to maintain its copper landline network in eleven states and the District of Columbia.  The Communications Workers of America filedletters in six states and Washington, DC calling on them to investigate whether Verizon was neglecting its responsibility.

MAYORS ON THE EAST COAST CALL ON VERIZON TO IMPROVE BROADBAND SERVICE

Bailey McCann, CivSource, 10.05.15

Mayors in 14 cities across the East Coast have written a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam calling on him to make good on promises for both basic and better services. The mayors represent some 12 million residents and include some of the biggest cities on the East Coast like New York and Philadelphia.

In the letter, the mayors called on the company to sit down to discuss ways to better serve customers and resolve disputes with the Verizon workers who are in the midst of a contract negotiation. The letter does have the backing of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union involved with the Verizon workers dispute.

“Based on irrefutable evidence of your company’s poor service record, lack of transparency and accountability, or demands for exclusive agreements with landlords throughout the region, we are deeply concerned that you have not acted like a good corporate citizen and that an incomplete FiOS rollout will result in decreased competition and the reduction of benefits to consumers throughout the Verizon footprint. As elected officials, it is our obligation and our responsibility to bring these complaints to your attention,” – the letter reads.

The letter was signed by the mayors of New York, Pittsburgh, Newark, Jersey City, Buffalo, Worcester, Paterson, Syracuse, Lowell, Albany, Brockton, Trenton and Revere and the Democratic candidate for mayor in Philadelphia.

In an emailed statement to CivSource, Rich Young, Verizon spokesman said – “There is absolutely “no news” in this letter. In all areas where Verizon has franchises and agreed to deploy FiOS, we have met or surpassed our deployment obligations. Since Verizon started bargaining this year with the CWA, we’ve seen numerous half-baked and inaccurate letters and statements from Union leaders regarding Verizon’s FiOS commitments and more. It’s all nonsense. The reality is that all of these misguided PR stunts are an attempt by Union leaders to try and force to company to hire more union-represented employees which will, in turn, increase dues and revenues for the union. It won’t work.

If Union leaders truly want to positively represent their members, we suggest that they engage in constructive negotiations with the company with a goal of reaching a new contract that reflective of today’s communications marketplace and is fair to our employees and our customers.”

To date, however, Verizon does have a record of turning down money from governments to build. Verizon and AT&T turned down money in 2012and more recently this summer.

New York City recently released a lengthy audit of the company’s service record which shows that little has been done. According to the audit, field inspections confirm that blocks claimed by Verizon as completed in fact have not had installed the necessary equipment to deliver service. Further, Verizon’s own records indicate that service is “unavailable” at certain residential addresses, despite company claims that it can deliver service to all New Yorkers who want FiOS.

Verizon staff also admitted to city officials that they did not record or track inquiries from prospective customers who requested service before fall 2014. This is in direct violation of the franchise agreement, which requires Verizon to track requests for cable service. Many service requests had been outstanding for at least a year the city says. Verizon for its part, contends that it has filed the necessary agreement extensions and is fulfilling its end of the deal.  The full audit is available here.

Some municipalities like Leverett, Massachusetts have simply opted to take matters into their own hands andlaunch a municipally backed network. The network is the first ‘Last Mile’ project built off of MassBroadband 123, the 1,200 mile fiber-optic ‘Middle Mile’ network jointly funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program.As DSL Reports noted today, Leverett had previously asked Verizon to provide service as far back as 2005.

Prior to the network’s launch, residents relied on non-broadband technologies such as dial-up, satellite, or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) to access the internet, but are now served by a fiber-optic network capable of delivering speeds of 1 gigabit per second.

Peduto urges Verizon CEO to continue rolling out high-speed Internet

Paul J.Gough, Pittsburgh Business Times, 10.05.15

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and 12 other mayors are calling on Verizon Communications to continue building its fiber-optic cable network in some of the East Coast’s bigger cities.

Peduto joined New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and the mayors of Buffalo, N.Y., Jersey City and Newark, N.J., and Lowell, Mass., among others in a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam seeking him to meet what they said were “contractual and legal requirements” to offer its high-speed Internet service, called FiOS, universally.

“Our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them,” the mayors wrote. “These are not isolated complaints - there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution.”
 

In Pittsburgh and New York City, the letter said, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) didn’t meet contractual obligations.

Pittsburgh spokesman Timothy McNulty said via email that Verizon’s franchise agreement called for the full rollout of FiOS service by mid-September.

“That was not completed, which led Mayor Peduto to join with other mayors in the letter,” McNulty said.

Verizon in a statement disagreed and blamed ongoing labor negotiations with the Communications Workers of America for the allegations.

“In all areas where Verizon has franchises and agreed to deploy FiOS, we have met or surpassed the deployment obligations. Since Verizon started bargaining this year with the CWA, we’ve seen numerous half-baked and inaccurate letters and statements from Union leaders regarding Verizon’s FiOS commitments and more,” said Verizon spokesman Rich Young in an emailed statement. “It’s all nonsense. The reality is that all of these misguided PR stunts are an attempt by Union leaders to try and force to company to hire more union-represented employees which will, in turn, increase dues and revenues for the union. It won’t work.”

The mayors’ two-page letter also addresses, near the end, the contract negotiations, adding that with Verizon’s workforce reductions over the past 10 years “we have serious reason to be concerned that Verizon is not committed to job security.”

“Our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them,” the mayors wrote. “These are not isolated complaints - there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution.”

In Pittsburgh and New York City, the letter said, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) didn’t meet contractual obligations.

Pittsburgh spokesman Timothy McNulty said via email that Verizon’s franchise agreement called for the full rollout of FiOS service by mid-September.

“That was not completed, which led Mayor Peduto to join with other mayors in the letter,” McNulty said.

Verizon in a statement disagreed and blamed ongoing labor negotiations with the Communications Workers of America for the allegations.

“In all areas where Verizon has franchises and agreed to deploy FiOS, we have met or surpassed the deployment obligations. Since Verizon started bargaining this year with the CWA, we’ve seen numerous half-baked and inaccurate letters and statements from Union leaders regarding Verizon’s FiOS commitments and more,” said Verizon spokesman Rich Young in an emailed statement. “It’s all nonsense. The reality is that all of these misguided PR stunts are an attempt by Union leaders to try and force to company to hire more union-represented employees which will, in turn, increase dues and revenues for the union. It won’t work.”

The mayors’ two-page letter also addresses, near the end, the contract negotiations, adding that with Verizon’s workforce reductions over the past 10 years “we have serious reason to be concerned that Verizon is not committed to job security.”

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Verizon, Boston, Bernie, Fiber and the Facts

 04/17/2016 10:50 pm ET |

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·         Bruce KushnickExecutive Director, New Networks Institute

Here is an excerpt from Verizon’s original Massachusetts fiber optic plan that was filed with the State, (then called the Massachusetts Department of Broadband and Cable) — and was finalized in 1995. I particularly like “immediately begin deploying... fiber-based broadband technologies” and it included Boston. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Is Verizon also going to pay back to everyone who lives in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth and couldn’t get service, the $4,000.00-$5,000.00 per household that was already collected to do this work, starting in 1995, not counting interest and ‘various taxes, fees and surcharges’ collected for 21 years?

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NOTE: Verizon was then called New England Telephone, then NYNEX, then Bell Atlantic.

In a rebuttal opinion piece dated April 13, 2016 titled “Feeling the Bern of Reality — The Facts about Verizon and the ‘Moral Economy’” Verizon’s CEO, Lowell McAdam goes after the Bernie Sanders’ campaign info about Verizon and claims that the company is building out the networks and does it to benefit America. In fact, Verizon claims it is going to be spending $300 million over six years to finally bring fiber optics infrastructure to Boston, Massachusetts.

And yet, 21 years after the original agreement, Verizon’s CEO, Lowell McAdam explains that Verizon is now getting around to doing fiber optics in Boston — with no mention of the rest of the state.

“Just yesterday we announced a $300 million investment to bring fiber to the city of Boston, which will make it one of the most technologically advanced cities in the nation and expand broadband access for its residents. Boston’s Mayor Walsh is partnering with us on this initiative, calling it crucial for providing the foundation for future technology growth. We’re making significant investments in New York City, Philadelphia and other metro areas throughout our wireline footprint.”

That’s nice, but 21 years ago, the corporation now named Verizon started collecting money to build out the state. And New York City, Philadelphia and other cities claim that Verizon never finished the fiber optic build outs under the franchise agreements.

In 1999, a group of us filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Broadband and Cable (DBC), claiming that Verizon (then Bell Atlantic) had overcharged customers by over a billion dollars from 1995-1999, including taking a massive one-time tax deduction to bring ‘fiber optic’ broadband to the entire state - including Boston.

But, like every other Verizon state, there was sub-plot to this tale. Verizon just wanted to get rid of any regulations, having to file any information about their business activities, or have them investigated or examined. This was included in the original proposed new regulations and laws; don’t know whether parts of this ever got added.

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And we wrote the following in our complaint, which was ignored by the DBC.

“(Verizon) Bell Atlantic misled Massachusetts consumers and regulators with promises of advanced network deployments for the purpose of removing important pro-consumer regulation.

“In statement after statement, before consumers, advocates, regulators and the press, employees and executives at the top echelon of New England Telephone made repeated and unambiguous representations that NYNEX would spend over $500 million to build the fiber optic network in Massachusetts, commencing in 1995. On July 15, 1994, New England Telephone Chairman Paul O’Brien announced that NYNEX was ‘...putting its money behind its beliefs. We recently announced plans to build what is essentially a new....state-of-the-art broadband network.... capable of providing video-on-demand and interactive information services.’ O’Brien went on to promise that construction would begin late that year, 1994, in eastern Massachusetts.

“A few months later, the Patriot Ledger quoted NYNEX spokesman Kenneth Horne describing a very specific plan: ‘In Massachusetts, NYNEX plans to begin the new service in Somerville, Revere and Winthrop, then move to Brookline, Cambridge and neighborhoods in Boston, including Roxbury, Brighton, Beacon Hill and the Back Bay...’

“In its testimony before the Department as it considered the alternate regulation plan, NYNEX agreed to ‘deploy a fiber-based broadband network, with initial deployment to approximately 330,000 access lines, by year-end 1995’.”

“NYNEX made essentially the same promise to the FCC in 1994:

‘On July 8, 1994, NYNEX filed two (Section 214) applications for authority to provide video dialtone service in certain areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The application to provide video dialtone service in Massachusetts proposes a system that will pass approximately 334,000 homes and businesses.’ [FCC 95-50 Order and Authorization, released 3/6/95]

“NYNEX put forward a very specific technological definition of what it would offer if granted relief. As the FCC understood the NYNEX proposal;

‘NYNEX proposes to deploy hybrid fiber optic and coaxial (HFC) broadband networks that will provide advanced voice, data, and video services, including interactive video entertainment, multimedia education and health care services.’ [FCC 95-50 Order and Authorization, released 3/6/95]

“The State never went back and redid the changes to state law that allowed the company to essentially charge customers for broadband services - that they never got. I.e.; like most states, built into the local phone rates and services have been a defacto payment to Verizon - extra, above and beyond what the service should have cost, to pay for these upgrades.”

Verizon announced FiOS in 2004, with deployment starting around 2006, so essentially for one full decade Verizon did not do the wiring “immediately” to homes, much less schools or healthcare facilities. In fact, Verizon pulled a ‘bait and switch’ and rolled out DSL over the old copper, around 1998.

In Massachusetts, Verizon didn’t come to Boston but to scattered municipalities in Eastern part of the state — and left most of the towns and cities of the Commonwealth without upgrades.

And, around 2010-2011, Verizon announced it had stopped its FiOS deployments - which left most of the East Coast (and Massachusetts) with the aging copper infrastructure, that they now want to rip out in Boston or shut off in the state. And since around 2012, the company’s plan has been to not properly even maintain the networks, claiming they are unprofitable — while there have been no audits or investigations by the MA state regulators about any of these claims.

And this ‘Trust us; We’re the phone company and we’ll do the right thing...’ is not “FACTS”.

Click to read the original complaint.

In a previous article we detailed that what happened in the Commonwealth happened up and down the East Coast as the companies (then NYNEX and Bell Atlantic) had teams that went state-to-state to change the laws, with little regard to what was being promised - and paid for - and it cost customers billions upon billions per state; it left them with a skateboard on a dirt road, even though they paid for a Ferrari on the Information Superhighway.

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CLICK on the LINK to the article

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Verizon's Memo to Staff About FiOS: "Trust the Facts."

What About the Truth?

Executive Director, New Networks Institute

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Click for Verizon's "Trust the Facts".

Verizon created "Trust the Facts", a fact sheet and talking points for the Verizon staff. It appears to be based on statements made by senior management, including Verizon's testimony presented at a recent New York City Council meeting which is investigating Verizon's NYC FiOS cable deployment and franchise agreement.

The memo attempts to supply information that sounds almost plausible, but it is just filled with faux-facts and partial truths. Moreover, in the memo, Verizon tells the staff to accuse the press of being inaccurate.

"Recently, there have been inaccurate statements in the press about our FiOS build. The information below will help you understand the reality of our success and ongoing commitment to FiOS."

Let's address some of these 'faux-facts' with actual facts.

2015-10-19-1445228296-233379-VerizonchartfauxFiOSshort.png

Quoting Verizon's Faux-Facts:

·         "Over 2 million customers can get FiOS service now (in New York City) and that number grows every day."

·         "We completed our prems (premises) passed requirement in October of 2014."

·         "We passed all prems, in all five boroughs of NYC."

·         "In New York City, we've invested $3.5 billion in FiOS."

·         "Our commitment to other cities such as Philadelphia, Newark, Paterson, Pittsburgh and Washington DC is equally strong."

Note: "Prems" is slang for 'premises', i.e. the home or business that is supposed to be upgraded.

Our Talking Points

  • Verizon has completed only 46-65 percent of their FiOS cable franchise commitment in New York City.
  • No. Verizon did not complete anything. The requirement, written into the agreement, is to have 100 percent -- "available to ALL residential dwelling units".
  • Verizon never invested an additional $3.5 billion on FiOS. The fiber optic deployments came out of normal utility construction and maintenance budgets -- and paid for, in a large part, by local phone customers via multiple rate increases.
  • Verizon failed to upgrade Pennsylvania and New Jersey based on previous commitments to fiber-ize the states. By 2010, 100% of Verizon New Jersey should have had a fiber optic service capable of 45Mbps in both directions, and in Pennsylvania, Verizon was to have 100% completed by 2015. In both states, laws were changed to fund these networks via rate increases and tax perks.

Let's go through some of the details.

·         VERIZON: "Over 2 million customers can get FiOS service now and that number grows every day."

  • FACT: By the end of July 2014, Verizon NY was supposed to have completed 100 percent coverage of New York City's residential dwelling units, based on a franchise agreement signed in 2008.

This is a chart built from US Census data pertaining to New York City.

2015-10-19-1445228496-6878992-VerizonFioScensus.png

First some terminology:

The Census has specific meanings for the words 'households', and 'residential housing (dwelling) units', and there are a few different definitions that slice up the common term 'business', as well.

(Please note that in the above quote, Verizon claims that there are 2 million 'customers' that can get FiOS. The problem with this is -- a 'customer' would be someone who is already a Verizon subscriber, and doesn't represent all residential dwelling units.)

Turning to another quote, Verizon's Leecia Eve, vice president (State Government Affairs for the NJ, NY & CT region), testified in front of the New York City Council, and Ms. Eve used the term 'households'.

According to Metro, Leecia Eve stated:

"We have 2 million households than can request FiOS today and get installed tomorrow."

Notice the word 'household' because another term, 'residential dwelling units', is used in the NYC FiOS franchise agreement and the accounting is actually different based on the Census definitions.

PUBLIC FACT: Only 46-65 Percent of New York City's Residential Housing Units and Businesses Can Get FiOS.

Using this last quote, if Verizon claims it has 2 million households covered, there's a serious problem. Returning to the chart, the Census data shows there are 3.1 million households (homes) in New York City. However, there are 3.4 million 'residential dwelling units' and 4.3 million 'housing units and businesses' in the Big Apple.

PUBLIC FACT: Verizon's FiOS Cable Franchise Is for All Residential (Housing) Dwelling Units.

The numbers to use in evaluating Verizon's coverage should be based on the actual New York City FiOS franchise agreement language which focuses on 'residential dwelling units'.

2015-10-19-1445228672-2862314-nyfrandwelling.png

Thus, Verizon's NYC FiOS deployments should cover 3.4 million residential dwelling units, not 2 million households in order to be 'completed'.

PUBLIC FACT: Businesses Not Included

We need to also stress that Verizon was able to get out of doing commercial spaces in New York City, so businesses are not properly serviced. This means that if we examine "residential dwelling units and businesses", the actual coverage drops to around 46 percent of the City. Most people are unaware of this important caveat.

PUBLIC FACT: Verizon Claims That They Have Passed All "Prems": They Have Not.

Verizon writes:

·         "We completed our prems passed requirement in October of 2014."

·         "Verizon: We passed all prems, in all five boroughs of NYC."

The term of the contract is for 100 percent of "all residential dwelling units" to have the service 'available'. Period. "Prems-passed" is hand waiving to obfuscate the primary issue -- Verizon has only 46-65 percent done, depending on which metric you rely on, and therefore Verizon isn't even close to finishing New York City.

PUBLIC FACT: Verizon New York Did Not Invest $3.5 Billion in New York City.

Verizon claims:

"In New York City, we've invested $3.5 billion in FiOS."

PUBLIC FACT: There are at Least Five Things Wrong with this Statement.

  1. In 2005, Verizon convinced the NY State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) that the fiber optic wires that the FiOS services ride over are part of the state telecommunications utility, which gave them the utility rights-of-way and the ability to use the local utility construction budgets.
  2. Starting in 2006, Verizon got the NYPSC to agree to a series of rate increases on basic local service for the "massive deployment of fiber optics".
  3. From 2006 through 2014, local phone customers paid over $760.00, total, per line extra for basic service based on the changes in state regulation for this deployment.
  4. Customers who paid these rate increases, including low income families, seniors, or just basic residential customers, may never get upgraded.
  5. There is no sign of this $3.5 billion investment in the construction budgets. There was no extra 'bump' in new construction.

PUBLIC FACT: Verizon Investors Didn't Invest Most of the Money. Customers Were Charged Rate Increases of Over $760.00.

In 2006, Verizon cut a deal with the NY State Public Service Commission to raise local phone rates, and this was repeated multiple times. By the 2009, local phone customers had been hit with 84 percent rate increases to fund a "massive deployment of fiber optics".

These increases on just basic phone service added about $760 per line, (including taxes, fees and surcharges) in New York City if the customer had service since 2006, or a fraction of this excess as everyone who had service during 2006-2015 got hit with these rate increases. Also, each add-on service, from inside wire maintenance to nonpublished numbers, all had increases of 100-300 percent, adding hundred of dollars extra per additional service.

PUBLIC FACT: There Is No Sign of This $3.5 Billion Investment in the Construction Budgets.

Spending $3.5 billion for FiOS in New York City sounds great in the aggregate but it doesn't exist; it came out of the utility construction budgets that low income families, grandma, business and all phone customers paid for if they had basic local phone service.

This next chart supplies Verizon NY's construction expenditures for the FiOS years, 2008-2014, taken from Verizon NY's own financial reports. As that old commercial goes: "Where's the Beef?"

Verizon claims to have spent $3.5 billion over seven years, about $½ billion a year. However, if you look at this chart, there is NO extra financial spending. The "FiOS Bump Missing" is what should have been added to the Verizon New York construction expenses if this was new, additional funding for FiOS.

The fact is, the construction budgets for the NYC FiOS franchise were just pulled directly out of the normal 'business as usual' construction budgets for the state utility's upgrade and maintenance.

2015-10-19-1445228791-5231506-fiosbumpny.png

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For the record, the revenues for Verizon NY were about $40-50 billion in just New York State over this 7 year period. In terms of population, New York City is a little less than half, but in terms of revenues, Verizon's New York's NYC operations should have generated at least $25-$30 billion over this period, $27.5 billion on average, not counting the Verizon Wireless revenues. (Note: The variables of the revenues are because Verizon New York is not required to show all of the revenues coming into the company.)

The $3.5 billion spent against the average, $27.5 billion in revenues, is only 12.7 percent or chump change for a major build out. In the previous decades from 1984-2000, construction expenses would average 18-22 percent of revenues.

We are not arguing that Verizon didn't spend money on FiOS in New York City. The problem is--it's not 'new' or additional investment, just a restatement of monies that would have already been spent on network upgrades and maintenance.

And we are not arguing that the aging copper networks shouldn't be replaced with fiber optics. The problem is -- you can't charge utility phone customers hundreds of dollars for the creation of a cable service or charge them for fiber optic upgrades when they may never get upgraded.

Verizon:

"Our commitment to other cities such as Philadelphia, Newark, Paterson, Pittsburgh and Washington DC is equally strong."

PUBLIC FACT: This Is a Joke, Right?

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were supposed to have fiber optic broadband starting in 1996, as then-Bell Atlantic went to the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission and made an agreement to wire the entire Verizon state territory by 2015.

And this was happening, in varying degrees, in every Verizon East Coast state. This 1996 Bell Atlantic (Verizon) press release claims that it was going to wire 12 million homes and small businesses with fiber optics, starting in Philly--starting almost 20 years ago.

"Later this year, Bell Atlantic will begin installing fiber-optic facilities and electronics to replace the predominantly copper cables between its telephone switching offices and customers...Bell Atlantic plans to begin its network upgrade in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania later this year. The company plans to expand this Full Service Network deployment to other key markets over the next three years. Ultimately, Bell Atlantic expects to serve most of the 12 million homes and small businesses across the mid-Atlantic region with switched broadband networks."

Almost a decade before FiOS deployment, state laws were changed in the 1990's to fund the replacement of the aging copper wiring with fiber optics -- and, of course, charge customers. (New York had fiber optic plans but there was never a specific state requirement at this time.)

In New Jersey, Newark and Patterson should have already been wired with fiber optics based on the changes in New Jersey state law, way back in 1993. It required Verizon New Jersey's territory (about 95 percent of the Garden State), to have 100 percent of completed by 2010,

To update this, in 2014, Verizon was able to get the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to erase the laws and commitments via a stipulation agreement so that Verizon would be able to stop the fiber optic build out, and instead replace the commitment with wireless at slower DSL speeds. DSL is a limited broadband-Internet service that uses the old copper wires.

Verizon New Jersey's commitment is for 45Mbps in both directions and as of 2015, the NJ consumer advocate's office (Rate Counsel) has filed an appeal to stop the stipulation agreement and return to the commitments.

But the kicker--in both states, laws were changed to raise rates and give the company tax perks to fund this new construction, and neither State government went back to either get a refund or do the actual build outs. Instead, the increases were built into rates and we estimate that starting around 1993-1994 through 2014, customers paid an estimated $4,000-$5,000 per household, extra.

We estimate that Verizon, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, respectively, received $15-$18 billion extra for these build outs -- and counting.

And the irony is -- Verizon's claims a strong commitment to a few cities -- but the previous fiber optic deployment commitments were for the entire state territory, including rural areas.

Can you imagine if Verizon had actually been held accountable for this fiber optic future over the last two decades -- or told the truth about their deployment plans?

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Click to download article

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How the Pundits and FCC Commissioner Pai Got It Wrong -- Fiber Optics Are 'Title II'; Customers Are the Investors.


Executive Director, New Networks Institute

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I challenge Hal Singer, Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to a rousing debate, sponsored by the Internet Society, New York Chapter, who has agreed to host it.

Why? There has been a serious rewrite of history and the 'facts' have a different interpretation when all of the data is examined. (And I use the word 'pundits' as there is a whole class of 'experts' that have not bothered to examine the facts we are about to present, though I note much of their research contains phrases like "This report was prepared for Verizon", or "Thanks to AT&T for research funding".)

Commissioner Pai spoke at an American Enterprise Institute forum on September 9th, 2015. He said:

"When I first saw Hal Singer's research revealing the decline in U.S. broadband providers' capital expenditures, a statement by John Adams came to mind: Facts are stubborn things. And here are some of the stubborn facts that Hal uncovered. Capital expenditures by major wireline broadband providers plunged 12% in the first half of 2015 compared to the first half of 2014..."

"What's responsible for the recent drop in infrastructure investment? There's no disruption in the overall economy to blame. Instead, it's the FCC's decision to capitulate to the President's demands and impose Title II public utility regulation upon the Internet that is playing a large role. Numerous broadband providers told the FCC earlier this year under penalty of perjury that Title II regulation was leading them to cut back on infrastructure investment and broadband deployment."

Click: What is Title II?

And it appears that the goal of their examination is to make the phone and cable companies' case that the FCC's Open Internet Order, (Net Neutrality) which others have dubbed "Obamanet", is evil.

Let me uncover some facts about Verizon's use of Title II and broadband deployments that appear to have been miss-diagnosed -- and I'll quote the source, in this case, Verizon.

However, it is astonishing that Mr. Singer and Commissioner Pai have not bothered to mention the most obvious fact about the slow down of investment:

VERIZON HAS STOPPED UPGRADING THE NETWORKS OR MAINTAINING THE COPPER WIRES--AND HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT IT FOR 6 YEARS!

I'll return to this in a moment.

1) Verizon's Entire FiOS Fiber Optic Deployment Is Based on "Title II".

First, Verizon's entire "FTTP", "Fiber-to-the-Premises" network that is used for FiOS services has been and continues to be classified as 'Title II', common carriage and a telecommunications service. (NOTE: FiOS is a brand name for a group of services that ride on this fiber optic network; it is NOT the wire itself.)

In 2005, Verizon was able to convince the New York State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) that FiOS was just an extension of the state utility networks. Here it is, in writing, by Verizon.

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Verizon has used this exact same tactic -- i.e., making the fiber networks an extension of the regular state-based utility, in every state. Here's an excerpt from Verizon's District of Columbia proposed franchise agreement, circa 2007; it details that the fiber network is Title II and the deployment is based on the existing telecommunications networks.

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Thus, claiming that Title II harms investment when Title II is the investment strategy is, well, wrong, or even deceptive.

2) Title II Didn't Harm Investment in Deploying Fiber Optics - It Is the Investment Mechanism.

In New York State, Verizon went back to the State after the 2005 decision and was able to get multiple rate increases to pay for fiber optic construction because as Title II, the company could use the state utility's maintenance and construction budgets, as well as charge local phone customers for the network upgrades.

In June 2009, the NYPSC granted Verizon NY the third rate increase on residential basic, copper-based phone service since 2006. The NYPSC press release explains that the rate increase was due to "massive deployment of fiber optics". (Elsewhere the State also pointed out that Verizon NY was "in need of financial relief" due to major losses.)

"'We are always concerned about the impacts on ratepayers of any rate increase, especially in times of economic stress,' said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. 'Nevertheless, there are certain increases in Verizon's costs that have to be recognized. This is especially important given the magnitude of the company's capital investment program, including its massive deployment of fiber optics in New York. We encourage Verizon to make appropriate investments in New York, and these minor rate increases will allow those investments to continue'."

In New York State, these rate increases on basic service added $750.00+ since 2006 per line, not counting the additional costs to add-on services like non-listed numbers. The release calls this 'minor' because it never audited Verizon's financial books, or even added up the increases that added 84% to just basic service.

The losses were based, in part, on Verizon Corporate dumping billions of dollars of expenses into local service, having other Verizon subsidiaries not pay market prices for services, or giving them access to part, some, or most of the utility construction budgets. (And these losses are NOT based on expenses related to offering the copper-based phone service -- there's no more advertising, marketing, no new construction and the staff has been slashed.)

3) Verizon Never Told the FCC that Title II was the Method of Investment

Funny, but Commissioner Pai claims that the companies, under penalty of perjury, told the FCC that the Open Internet Order and Title II would harm investment.

We filed a Petition for Investigation for perjury against Verizon as, truth be told, Verizon never mentioned to the FCC that their network investment plans were based on Title II.

4) The Re-Write of Broadband History

This ability to charge customers to fund broadband is NOT new, just ignored in the history laid out by Singer. And, unfortunately, more money was collected in the name of broadband than was ever actually put into construction.

For example, "Opportunity New Jersey", the Verizon NJ plan, was to have 100% of their state territory upgraded to fiber optics, with speeds capable of 45 Mbps in both directions -- starting around 1992 and completed in 2010.

The state laws were changed in 1992 (and finalized in 1993) to replace the existing copper wires with fiber optic wires, and in New Jersey there was even a timeline of when these networks were to be completed. We estimate that by the end of 2014, about $15 billion dollars was collected in just New Jersey.

Click to see Opportunity New Jersey Time Line

And though it varies by state as to the commitments and customer investment, this same plan played out in every Verizon, AT&T and Centurylink state -- formerly, the incumbent Bell phone companies.

Worse, these excess charges are still being collected today and built into rates as no state ever went back to stop the customer overcharging that was supposed to be used to build out the networks -- that were never built.

See: The Book of Broken Promises for details.

Verizon's FiOS, which was announced in 2004, came a decade after these laws were changed to build out the states' infrastructure. And yet, there is no mention of this on Singer's timeline of events -- and it happened in almost every state in the Union.

5) Verizon Stopped Upgrading and Maintaining the Wired Networks Starting in 2009.

And as mentioned, it is remarkable that Mr. Singer and Commissioner Pai have not bothered to mention the most obvious fact about the slow down of investment:

VERIZON HAS STOPPED UPGRADING THE NETWORKS OR MAINTAINING THE COPPER WIRES

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I.e., Verizon's expenditures on the wireline networks have been in decline for years and were set to slow down long before the Net Neutrality decision.

2009: In September, 2009, then-CEO of Verizon, Ivan Seidenberg, spoke at a Goldman Sachs investment meeting. According to the New York Times, the plan was to 'hang up' on the landline business.

"Verizon Boss Hangs Up on Landline Phone Business.

"Speaking to a Goldman Sachs investor conference, Mr. Seidenberg said Verizon was simply no longer concerned with telephones that are connected with wires. ...Not only does Verizon control the largest mobile phone company in the country, it has also largely moved away from copper wires. Verizon is selling off most of its operations in rural areas and is spending billions to wire most of the rest of its territory with its fiber optic network, or FiOS."

2010: Then, in 2010, this headline by the Wall Street Journal announced: "Verizon to End Rollout of FiOS".

2012: The halting of FiOS deployment has continued as a story over the last five years. For example, this headline from 2012 by Stop the Cap, states: "Verizon Won't Expand FiOS Beyond Current Franchise Obligations, CFO Tells Investors", Sept 25th, 2012

And in 2015,DSLReports summed up the current situation where recent calls to bring wired broadband deployment to cities throughout America's East Coast has fallen on deaf ears.

"With the exception of major city franchise obligations (and even those have lots of wiggle room), Verizon all but ended their FiOS expansion plans around five years ago. With so many un-served cities still begging to be upgraded Verizon continually has to remind folks that they're simply not interested in upgrading their fixed line networks any more. If you live in one of those un-upgraded cities like Buffalo, Boston or Alexandria, that's a tough pill to swallow."

And let us be clear; Verizon announced that it has been spending more on wireless than on the wireline networks, as of late. Quoting Fran Shammo, Verizon's CFO discussing the company's financials, January 22, 2015:

"I have been pretty consistent with this in the fact that we will spend more CapEx in the Wireless side and we will continue to curtail CapEx on the Wireline side... Some of that is because we are getting to the end of our committed build around FiOS, penetration is getting higher."

The entire East Coast of America is only partially upgraded, with an average of less than 50% coverage, regardless of the accounting being presented by Verizon, (which has not been audited).

2015-09-15-1442289609-5380969-verizoneastcoast2015.png

And we know that simply taking Verizon's word for their deployments is very problematic. Verizon claimed it had fulfilled its obligations to wire all of New York City's residential dwellings.

Yet, the Consumerist headline, June 19, 2015, says it all:

"New York City Audit Calls Out Verizon for Failure to Build Out FiOS Network As Promised."

In short, the plan was already in place to slow down the investments of the wired networks long before the Net Neutrality Order passed.

6) The Other Companies' Investments are in Decline?

And, I'm surprised that Singer and Commissioner Pai didn't read the trade news.

AT&T: According to Lightwave, November 10, 2014, discussing AT&T's capex for 2015, the company was planning a decline in spending.

"Project VIP capex has peaked says AT&T.

"AT&T has said that investment in its Project VIP network enhancement program has peaked, and that capex for 2015 will therefore shrink from current levels. The pronouncement, tacked at the end of its announcement that it has acquired Mexican wireless network operator Iusacell for $2.5 billion, sent shares of optical technology stocks tumbling today."

And let us remember that "VIP" is based mostly on AT&T's copper-to-the-home service, U-Verse, where the company keeps telling everyone it is "fiber optic-based", but the reality is -- there is a fiber optic wire attached to a big box somewhere within ½ mile from the customer.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable? Their merger deal didn't happen so they are no longer on the hook to show that they are good corporate citizens and can drop the façade that they would invest heavily once the merger passed.

And if AT&T and Verizon, the wired competitors, aren't upgrading, why should they? In fact, they even have an agreement with Verizon to bundle their Triple Play with Verizon Wireless's service in areas that Verizon has not upgraded to fiber.

Gentlemen, why don't we let the public decide who has the 'facts'? The Internet Society, New York Chapter (Contact: ISOC-NY) has agreed to a host the debate; they are known for their live-streamed events as well. I look forward to an open discussion -- and just the facts -- just the facts.

NOTE: Hal Singer's bio at the Department of Justice includes "prepared several white papers and written testimony for clients, including (edited) AT&T, BellSouth, CTIA, Internet Innovation Alliance, Qwest, SBC, and Verizon. And a paper, "Unintended Consequences of Net Neutrality Regulation" from 2007 thanks "AT&T for research funding". It claims that "an FCC mandate on network neutrality would be detrimental to the objectives that all Americans seemingly should want--namely, the accelerated construction of next-generation networks, and benefits of lower prices, broader consumer choices, and innovations these networks would bring."

This article was written by Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director of New Networks Institute

A wireless phone is really a wired phone with an invisible extension cord. Every time you make a wireless call walking down the street, within a few hundred feet there's a 'cell site' that is attached to a wire. Almost every wireless 'hot spot' is connected to a wire and every time you use a device at home, it most likely connects to the wired broadband connection.

Verizon, AT&T and Centurylink have monopoly controls over most of these wires to the cell sites (sometimes called 'backhaul' or 'special access') in their own territories which gives these companies control over your wireless service prices, even speed, as well as control over the wireless service offered by competitors who use these wires.

And the wires used to connect the wireless sites, which can be copper or fiber optics, are part of a larger network of wires, the state-based telecommunications utility, which are the wires that go to homes and offices, not just for voice calling but for everything from alarm services to the wires used for FiOS services or DSL.

Verizon has a very simple but very calculated plan -- go wireless (mobile) at the expense of the wired networks. Fran Shammo, Verizon's CFO, discussing the second quarter 2015 earnings, made it clear that the focus of Verizon is wireless, advertising and digital media.

"As always, we continue to invest in our networks and platforms to position us for future growth. We are very focused on developing new products and services in mobile video and the Internet of Things. We are excited about the potential for revenues from these new products and services to grow quickly and become more meaningful in the future. Our acquisition of AOL will be a key piece in our over-the-top mobile video strategy, accelerating our capabilities in digital media and advertising."

Verizon will point out that wireless is much more profitable than the wired networks, that the wired networks are, in fact, unprofitable and that the plan is to stop doing any upgrades and just shut off the copper wires in large areas of the company's state holdings and force-migrate customers to wireless.

But Verizon (et al.) control most of the critical wired infrastructure throughout America -- If they are not upgrading and maintaining the networks, who will? (Municipalities? Google? I'll get to that.)

And there are others that will say that none of this matters as the companies are deregulated, that the price of service is not related to the expenses. Or that Verizon should be able to move money to the wireless side of the business; it's their money. -- The facts tell a different story.

Let me expose the underbelly of this plan. To summarize:

1) Make the wires look unprofitable through the manipulation of the financial accounting.

2) Dump the expenses for the wires to the cell towers into the wired local service network costs, which makes them look 'unprofitable'.

3) Pump and inflate the profits of wireless and the other businesses by moving the majority of expenses into the local service networks.

4) Give the other Verizon subsidiaries financial advantages, from not paying market prices, moving expenses into local service, or handing over wired customers to the wireless company.

5) Stop maintaining the copper, even in areas where the networks are not going to be upgraded.

6) Continually raise wired phone raise rates by using this claim of 'unprofitability'.

7) "Shut off the copper" in large areas and make wireless the only choice.

8) Stop upgrading the fiber, claiming it, too, is unprofitable.

9) In areas that are upgraded, shut off the copper and move customers onto the fiber optic service or wireless.

10) Don't shut off the wires to the cell towers and keep the monopoly on these wires.

11) Charge competitors inflated rates to use these networks and make money off of every wireless call, etc.

12) Cut a deal with the cable companies to bundle wireless with the cable Triple Play in areas not upgraded.

13) Continue the turning of the screw: Continue this process for years until completed.

Almost all state and federal broadband and infrastructure build out discussions and public policy issues are tied to this plan.

14) This is about the FCC's "IP Transition"-- which claims that "Internet Protocols" are replacing telecommunications and the hype is that it is about going from copper to fiber optics. That's just a 'con'; this transition is using the technology as a 'carrot' to shut off the copper wires and force customers onto wireless.

15) Case in point -- In AT&T's Carbon Hill, Alabama, IP Transition trial, 60% of working phone lines will be shut off and replaced with a wireless phone service that can't even do Internet service or handle alarm services.

16) The migration of the 'copper' is really, then, more about shutting off the copper and forcing customers onto wireless (or the upgraded service where it exists).

17) There's also the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) "IP Transition" which is based on "model" state-based legislation targeted at removing regulations on the wires to get rid of the obligations so that the ALEC members, AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink, can shut off the networks.

The Impacts

18) This plan helps Verizon get rid of the union staff as their fate is tied to the wires.

19) This plan shuts down wired competitors' ability to compete as they are restricted from using the fiber optic wires and must use only the copper wires.

20) Verizon's control of the wires controls the price of 'special access' service to the wireless competitors, such as Sprint and T-mobile.

21) This controls the final price to customers for all services, wireline or wireless.

22) This even controls the price of cable service and the Triple Play as there is no competition coming from Verizon et al. to lower prices on all services. Nor is there serious competition to fix industry-wide abusive behavior, like the deceptive advertising that offers prices a customer can never get for the Triple Play, or that the overall costs goes up 100%+ after the promotion ends.

23) Bait and Switch -- In some states where there were/are commitments to have territories wired with fiber optics, such as Verizon New Jersey or Pennsylvania, the plan now is to not finish any requirements for fiber optics and replace it wireless broadband.

24) Cities Left Unupgraded -- It has harmed the cities, including those in upstate NY, where the monies to build out fiber to residential and business customers turned into construction budgets for the fiber to the cell towers.

25) The plan is used to claim that Net Neutrality is harming investment and is increasing the slow down of wired construction, even though the companies' investments have been made via rate increases and making the customer a defacto investor.

Some of the Details

First:

26) Verizon Wireless (VW) is a separate company from the wired business and VW's business plan is based on building out wireless coverage that requires cell towers that are connected to the high speed wired networks.

27) Most of these wires to the cell towers are part of the state utility, (though Verizon will claim it is not true).

28) Verizon's wired business are the state-based utilities, such as Verizon New York, which control the "PSTN", Public Switched Telephone Networks, that includes the aging copper wires as well as the fiber optic upgrades that have been replacing some of the copper wires.

The Fiber Optic Upgrades and Wires are classified as Telecommunications, "Title II", and Part of the State Utility.

29) In 2004, Verizon announced a fiber optic-based wired service called FiOS.

30) "FiOS" is not the fiber optic wire but uses these wires; FiOS is a group of services -- cable TV, digital phone, Internet and broadband, commonly known as the "Triple Play".

31) In 2005, Verizon went to the NY Public Service Commission ("NYPSC") and claimed that the fiber optic wires to be used by FiOS TV were just an extension and upgrade and part of the state utility networks.

32) This means that the fiber optic networks are being put in as "Title II", common carriage, telecommunications networks. 

Phone Customers Are Charged for the Fiber Optic Construction.

33) Starting in 2005, Verizon went to the NYPSC and was able to secure what would the first of multiple rate increases in 2006 on basic copper-based phone service and add-ons, like nonlisted numbers, to pay for -- "investment in the state telecom infrastructure", and 'losses'.

34) Verizon New York received additional rate increases in 2008 and 2009 on basic service and increases to add-on services for "massive deployment of fiber optics" and 'losses'.

35) The NYPSC allowed Verizon to 'harvest' customers by continually raising rates which helped to force many to drop their lines and use wireless for voice service.

In New York State there have been continuous increases to local rates. Since 2006, basic local service has been raised multiple times, 84 percent, and local phone customers have paid an additional $750.00, not to mention about $300.00 extra for each added item, like nonlisted numbers.

And customers have been 'harvested'-- i.e., the plan has been to continually raise rates until the customer screams 'uncle' and leaves (for wireless) or are gouged.


Policy Shift to Wireless Starts Around 2010

36) Around 2010, Verizon Communications decided it would focus its attention on wireless services and promotes Lowell McAdam, former CEO of Verizon Wireless, to be the new head of Verizon Communications.

37) In 2010, Verizon also announces it will halt any further deployments of FiOS, except based on existing contracts.

38) 'Cut the Copper' in 2012 -- To speed up this process, after the Sandy Storm in 2012, Verizon states it will 'cut the copper' wherever possible.

39) In Pennsylvania, Verizon was able to erase the original agreement to have 100% of their territory covered with fiber optic services by 2015, with speeds of 45 Mbps in both directions. Instead, the company is being allowed to offer wireless as a substitute at DSL speeds.


Divert the Wireline Budgets to Wireless and Other Fiber Deployments.

40) Verizon has taken the budgets for maintaining and upgrading the utility and diverted the money to build out the fiber optic wires to the cell towers.

41) Basic phone customers end up paying for some/most of the construction expenses.
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This diversion of the utility construction expenditures stops the maintenance of the networks, allowing them to slowly deteriorate (though this has been going on since at least the year 2001).

43) Verizon's refocus of the construction to do wireless leaves areas in major cities in New York State unfinished.

Fran Shammo, Verizon's Chief Financial Officer stated to investor representatives that the wireline construction budgets have been diverted to charge regulated wireline budgets for the less regulated wireless affiliate's construction needs.

"The fact of the matter is Wireline capital -- and I won't get the number but it's pretty substantial -- is being spent on the Wireline side of the house to support the Wireless growth. So the IP backbone, the data transmission, fiber to the cell that is all on the Wireline books but it's all being built for the Wireless Company."

In 2011, the New York State Attorney General's Office noted that while there was a billion+ budget for construction, 75% of it had been diverted to wireless and fiber optics.

Dump Most Expenses into Local Service

44) Place as many expenses as you can into the state utility, including the costs of the upgrades for wireless and all other lines of business that use fiber optic wires, like special access.

45) Place most of the "Corporate Operations" expense into local service to help make it look unprofitable.

In 2014, Verizon New York's financials showed an expense item called "Corporate Operations" , which came to a whopping $2.6 billion dollars -- that's just in one state and in one year. However, the majority of this expense, 60 percent, has been dumped into the "Local Service" category. This comes to about $1.5 billion in 2014. Problem is -- "Local Service" only brought in $1.4 billion and this one line item alone made local service unprofitable. 

Make Local Service Look Unprofitable; Make Wireless Be Very Profitable.

46) Make sure that the wireless company pays a fraction of what the competitors pay.

47) Have the monies from various subsidiary companies that use of the wired networks go into different financial buckets that do not pay for the upgrades of the wires, making the local networks look even more unprofitable and help the revenues continue to decline.

In our previous report we found that AT&T and Sprint paid 2-3 times more than Verizon Wireless paid to the incumbent utility, Verizon NY, for access fees and related expenses for the years, 2009-2010. This was based on Verizon NY's own SEC-filed financial statements.

Moreover, we found "black hole" revenues when comparing different Verizon NY financials. In 2009, there was an additional $2.7 billion dollars in revenues in the SEC books vs the annual reports filed with NY State, but the construction budgets were identical, indicating that a large chunk of revenues was accruing off the regulated books and not paying for the network upgrades.

Manipulate the Accounting of Access Lines

48) Only supply an accounting of copper-based 'basic phone service' access lines andleave out almost all other access lines in service, including any data lines, like special access, or FiOS broadband, or the wires to the cell towers or...

49) Verizon, the FCC and the NYPSC do not have or provide an accurate accounting of all wired lines in service, copper or fiber.V

Get Control of the State Commission and FCC or even the State Legislature; No Audits, No investigations, and No Rate Cases.

50) Make sure that the State doesn't audit the books in a 'rate proceeding' over the decade and never investigates the cross-subsidies.

51) Make sure that the FCC erases the requirement to file financial books by state.

52) Make sure there is never a check of the affiliate transactions between and among the state utility and the Verizon affiliate subsidiaries.

53) Make sure that the public has no clue about any of this and thinks that the wires have nothing to do with their wireless phone service.

54) Get the State to issue a report that claims that there is plenty of competition and that ignores or fluffs off any major problems.

55) Get ALEC-like bills to be continually pitched by politicians, and even attempt to stick language in the budget appropriations bills

There has never been an audit of the incumbent phone utilities and the cross-subsidies with the affiliate companies for at least 15 years in any state we could find. In New York, while the NYPSC granted multiple rate increases, there was never any rate case to examine the expenses being claimed.

Cut Business Deals to Solidify the Wireless Plan

56) Cut a deal with the cable companies to bundle the wireless service with the cable Triple Play in areas that are not upgraded (or the wires are shut off).

57) Consolidate -- Pay $130 billion to buy out Vodaphone.

In 2014, Verizon paid approximately $130 billion dollars to buy out the Vodafone group, which had a 45 percent interest in 'Cellco Partnership', (which had a D/B/A as Verizon Wireless).

58) When questioned about the holes in broadband fiber optic deployment...punt.
In June 2015, the City of New York released an audit of the status of Verizon's fulfillment of their commitment to have FiOS cable TV available to 100% of New York City's residences by July 2014.

The New York Times wrote:

"The city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications released a scathing audit report in June concluding that Verizon 'systematically refused to accept orders for residential service.' By the company's admission, nearly one-fourth of the blocks in the city have no buildings wired for FiOS, the report said."

Verizon has stated that it has finished the deployment and the rest is just clean up.

And upstate New York, Verizon has left massive broadband gaps in cities and has stopped deploying FiOS and doing fiber optic upgrades, only covering 186 communities with a FiOS cable franchise out of 932 towns and 62 cities. 

WAMC

"Despite what you may have heard from civic leaders, upstate New York areas currently not served by Verizon FiOS won't be getting the high-speed internet service soon. And maybe, not at all.

"From Central New York to the Catskills and the Southern Tier to the Capital Region, people are clamoring for high-speed internet, and they've heard good things about broadband, especially when it comes to Verizon's fiber optic FiOS service. But Verizon says it has no plans to bring that service to places where residents currently make do with less than desirable or no service at all, such as large parts of cities like Kingston and Albany along with Delaware, Sullivan and Schoharie Counties."

59) Municipalities are not going to rise up.

There are some who believe that Google Fiber is the savior of municipality gigabit speed broadband. While inspiring, even with all the hype, Google Fiber only has about 30,000 customers, total.

Bloomberg writes:

"Google Fiber, which started in 2012, has 27,000 video subscribers combined in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, and less than 3,000 in the other cities, according to U.S. Copyright Office data collected by MoffettNathanson."

The cities and towns aren't going to rise up to do bypass of the incumbent companies.

We will be discussing other options in the next few weeks as leaving everything on this course harms America, except for maybe Verizon's executives.

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Verizon's 'Local Service' and Wired Networks Are Profitable Once the Slush Fund of Corporate Expenses Is Removed

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This article was written by Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director of New Networks Institute, and appeared in the Huffington Post on June 14, 2015

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Did you know that -- if you have been or are a Verizon residential or business customer, it would appear that you are paying extra for Verizon's lawyers to take legal actions to block Net Neutrality or to create laws to raise your rates or to remove your right of having the wires fixed if they break? Did you know that you pay for "corporate governance and external affairs", (whatever that means) not to mention the company's advertising and media relations, which is used to promote the company's agenda over your own interests? In fact, without audits, it is impossible to say whether Verizon Foundation's grants that Verizon gives to non-profits, (sometimes in exchange for backing the company's proposals), or even executive pay, are part of this garbage pail accounting. And while we will present information from Verizon New York's 2014 annual report to prove this point, this is happening, we suspect, in all Verizon and AT&T state holdings.

Now, AT&T and Verizon have continuously said that it is 'uneconomical' to upgrade most areas and that the solution is to force customers onto their wireless services, (which also gets a number of financial perks, but that analysis is for another story).

But, it has all been a financial shell game. There has been massive dumping of corporate expenses, which has been going on for a while, but is now out of control and in high gear -- and this is one (of many) reasons "Local Service" and the wired networks are 'unprofitable'.

In 2014 Verizon New York showed a loss of $2.58 billion, while Verizon's "Corporate Operations" dumped a whopping $2.6 billion of Verizon corporate expenses into the Verizon NY State utility books. More troubling, in 2014, Verizon New York's 'Local Service' bucket of revenues, (which includes the copper-based residential and business phone services), came to $1.44 billion, but the expenses for Corporate Operations came to $1.57 billion -- i.e.; Local Service would be profitable if the excessive corporate subsidies weren't being dumped into the expenses.

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And, as we will show, if Verizon's other lines of business were paying their fair share of this expense, Local Service would be profitable. I'll get to that in a moment.

"Corporate Operations": Verizon Services

The opening includes a description of a Verizon affiliate company called "Verizon Services", which is an umbrella for the corporate-expense slush fund that ends up in the accounting of the state utility. Almost identical language appeared in every Verizon state-based SEC report for the year 2010, from Massachusetts down through Virginia, (with the exception of most of Connecticut), and even in the SEC-filed reports for the former GTE territories, including California and Florida, which are now being sold off.)

These different corporate expenses appear to be part of a collection of affiliate companies with names that sound like someone just started shuffling small pieces of paper with the words 'corporation', 'group', 'Verizon' and 'services' into different configurations to form the names of a collection of business entities.

Here is what it looks like. This is a partial collection of affiliate companies where "purchases from affiliates" are services bought (or dumped) into Verizon New York's financials. Unfortunately, there are no descriptions of these companies in the financial books or any coherent description anywhere else online.

(NOTE: We can't even get the numbers to exactly match the summary information provided, and we are not even sure if all of these companies are part of Verizon Services or are there affiliates missing. We just know that they sound similar, were part of a long list of companies, and they all charge Verizon New York for services.)

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Local Service Paid 109% of Corporate Expenses as Compared to Revenues.

The first obvious question should be -- how the hell did they get away with this as it is happening in every state; we can only document New York because the State requires Verizon to file their financials annually and we could find no other state that requires and publishes this financial detail. (And, the FCC is useless and stopped collecting and publishing basic data in 2007.)

But that's only a slight wrinkle.

Verizon dumped the majority of these expenses into the Local Service category; the category that is dedicated to regular phone service that uses the existing copper wires. The company isn't focused on even advertising these services anymore, much less doing upgrades of the existing infrastructure. So, why is it paying the majority of this expense?

Local Service had $1.44 billion of revenues but was charged $1.57 billion in Corporate Operations in 2014, meaning -- Local Service losses were generated, in a large part, by these corporate expenses.

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Also, the Local Service category didn't pay just its fair share. It turns out that Local Service paid the majority of Corporate Operations, 60% of the total amount that was charged to Verizon New York. However, the Local Service financial bucket only comprises about 28% of the total revenues these days.

Now there are some that might say... but these are Verizon's companies; they can do what they want, right?

Well, not in this case. Local phone customers were charged extra -- in the form of rate increases for "massive deployment of fiber optics" and "losses".

Local Phone Rate Increases Are Directly Tied to Losses Created by 'Corporate Operations'.

In June 2009, the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) granted Verizon NY the third rate increase for residential POTS customers since 2005. The NYPSC press release explained that the rate increase was due to "massive deployment of fiber optics" and because VNY was "in need of financial relief" due to major losses.

"'We are always concerned about the impacts on ratepayers of any rate increase, especially in times of economic stress,' said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. 'Nevertheless, there are certain increases in Verizon's costs that have to be recognized. This is especially important given the magnitude of the company's capital investment program, including its massive deployment of fiber optics in New York. We encourage Verizon to make appropriate investments in New York, and these minor rate increases will allow those investments to continue'."

The NYPSC Order also indicated that the Commission granted the rate request because VNY was experiencing major financial losses. 

"Verizon's financial condition is 'relevant' when the Commission considers pricing changes because the state has an interest in a viable company.... there seems to be little question that the company is in need of financial relief; Verizon reported an overall intrastate return of a negative 4.89% in 2006 and its reported intrastate return on common equity was a negative 73.6%."

And in granting the second rate increase in 2008, the NYPSC said there were the same 'dual financial pressures' as found in the first increase in 2006 -- fiber optic investments and financial losses of basic service. ("Intrastate" service is where the calls never cross state boundaries or the service has been classified as 'in-state'.)

"This is especially important given the magnitude of the company's capital investment program, including its massive deployment of fiber... There seems to be little question that the company is in need of financial relief; Verizon reported an overall intrastate return of a negative 4.89% in 2006 and its reported intrastate return on common equity was a negative 73.6%."

And then there are those who will argue that local phone service is not based on the old 'rate-of-return' where expenses and revenues were taken into account. Unfortunately, the State and Verizon tied the increases to specifics --'massive deployment of fiber optics' and 'losses', so the expenses do matter.

In going through the total rate increases, and just examining basic residential phone service and a few 'ancillary' service increases, (such as inside wiring or non-published numbers), the consequence of this pile-on of additional costs to Local Service financials is that:

  • Verizon charged local service customers -- including seniors and low income families,752.00 EXTRA per line on just basic local service (counting taxes, fees and surcharges). (This is based using actual Verizon NY phone bills as the primary source.)
  • The price of local phone service went up 84%, based on these multiple increases.
  • Verizon also has been continuously raising the rates on all ancillary services, such as inside wiring. Inside wiring, which is popular among seniors, for example, had a 190% increase since 2006, and customers paid an additional430.00 extra, counting taxes, fees, and surcharges. NOTE: Lifeline costs do not cover inside wiring or other related calling features.
  • This comes to about4.9 billion collected from local phone customers for basic service and one ancillary service (and taxes, some of which are also revenue to the company).
  • Many of the various phone services and ancillary services had increases. The chart at the end of this article lists the increases and changes to everything from the "Essentials" package to Directory Assistance, for the year 2013.


Re-engineering Expenses: Local Service Is Profitable.

The losses appear to be manipulated so that Local Service would pay an unfair share -- not a 'fair and reasonable' share.

There are four major financial areas -- buckets -- of revenues and expenses in the state-based financial books.

  • "Local Service" -- are the revenues from the local phone services based mostly on the copper networks, (also defined as "Intrastate" or "In-state").
  • "Access" -- (which includes 'Special Access', sometimes called 'backhaul'), are revenues related to services using broadband business networks that have been classified as 'inter-state', (cross-state boundaries) and carry everything from wireless calls, video and data for Verizon as well as for competitors, from T-Mobile to Netflix.
  • "Non Regulated" -- are services that were once regulated but are now 'deregulated', 'forebeared', or the regulations were erased. There are a host of issues surrounding this category. (In future articles I will explain all the details.)
  • "Black Hole" -- When examining two different sets of Verizon New York's financials, one set being the SEC-filed reports for Verizon New York, (which stopped being published in 2010) and the other, the Verizon NY State filed financial reports, we found that in 2009 there was an additional2.7 billion dollars of revenues that was in the SEC books but was not included in the State annual reports. (We do not have any data about 2014 for this category. We will address this in future articles.)

Simply Put: What would happen if the other two financial buckets of revenues, Access and Non Regulated, paid their fair share for just "Corporate Operations" expenses based on the revenues they bring in? In 2014, Access revenues were $2.38 billion, while Non Regulated revenues were $1.4 billion and this financial bucket is about the same size as Local Service.

However, the Non-Regulated financial bucket only paid 10% of the Corporate Operation expenses and this calculation had nothing to do with the total revenues it brought in.

Low and behold, if we re-engineer the expenses based on revenues, Local Service overpaid Corporate Operations expenses by $855 million while the Non Regulated side underpaid by about $448 million and Access underpaid by $407 million.

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Moreover, Local Service should have only paid about $718 million for just this one massive expense item. Rebalance this expense and Local Service was profitable in 2014. And even that should be contested because of the myriad of expenses being added that have nothing to do with provisioning phone service.

Is it legitimate to reverse engineer the expenses based on revenues? With $2.5 billion in losses a year for the last five years and losses extending over the entire last decade while the 'massive investment in fiber optics' is not happening for the majority of New York State -- you bet it's legitimate and should be demanded by every customer who had rate increases, especially those who can't get the high-speed or cable services.

But there are deeper issues that require investigation. If Local Service is really profitable, especially if Verizon's other subsidiary businesses are not paying their fair share of the expenses, the premise that Verizon's failure to properly upgrade and maintain the network because they are 'uneconomical' is suddenly in question. Worse, forcing customers onto inferior wireless services using this manipulated mathematics -- requires immediate audits and investigations.

As we go through the rest of Verizon New York's financials, feel secure in the knowledge that every Verizon state and most likely every AT&T state is using the same corrupted slush fund shell game.

And this analysis also calls into question all of the previous rate increases, and there have been many over the last decade. I leave you with a chart of rate increases and changes to service in New York for just the year 2013. And remember, each service is taxed, fee-ed and surcharged multiple times.

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Stand Up to Verizon

Unity is the key to victory - nothing in our contract came for free. 2015 bargaining will be no different. We will all need to stand up to Verizon in unity to win a fair and just contract.

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like “Stand Up To Verizon” on Facebook for pictures, updates, and to join the conversation.

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Click here for pictures from the rally.

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Now, with expiration just hours away, we see no urgency on the part of the Company to reach an agreement with us. That means mobilizing is critical, including preparations for a possible strike. Every member needs to join the fight.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that Verizon has no regard for our members—the working women and men who built this Company and have made it unbelievably profitable: $1 billion a month in profits for the last 18 months straight!

As the clock ticks down to midnight on August 1st, company bargainers have still not replied to our proposals. Instead, they continue to demand:

  • Complete elimination of job security.
  • Major reductions to medical benefits including higher deductibles, co-pays, premiums, and co-insurance.
  • Elimination of family care leave.
  • No COLA.
  • Elimination of Saturday and Sunday differentials.
  • Elimination of the lump sum pension. Employees would have to choose between a pension which would be frozen at 30 years or an enhanced 401k.
  • Elimination of the Accident Disability Plan. Establish a rolling 5 years period for 100% payment on Sickness Disability. Once 100% is used – members are paid 50% (currently full pay benefits recycle after being back at work for 13 weeks).

Click here for the entire list.

This afternoon, the Union team presented a comprehensive proposal to management which made substantial movement on several issues. Now the ball is in the company’s court. The clock is ticking—it’s past time for the Company to get serious and agree to our demands. It’s not like they can’t afford a fair contract—their sale of the Wireline properties in California, Texas and Florida netted them $10.5 billion in income. They should use that money to expand FiOS in the Northeast, upgrade the crumbling network where they are not building FiOS, and reward their employees with a fair contract.

Yesterday, we told the company that our members’ interest in jobs and job security is directly linked to the public interest because maintaining the legacy network, and building and installing FiOS, is what our members do and what the public needs. That’s why the Mayors of Syracuse and Kingston, backed up by four other letters of support from elected leaders,  came to the table with us yesterday to argue for FiOS builds in their communities.

Not to mention that Governor Cuomo has created a $500 million New York Broadband Program that is available to subsidize Verizon’s buildout of high-speed internet in underserved communities. That money would provide a 50% subsidy to the cost of building out FiOS.

Verizon’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Marc Reed, suggests in his recent emails to employees that he is concerned for you and your family. But if he really cared about you and your family, why is he proposing to gut the contract that provides for you and your family? Why is the company unwilling to build-out FiOS and properly maintain the copper network to protect jobs as well as ensure good service for customers?

August 1 is almost here. Are you ready to fight back?

In solidarity, 

Dennis Trainor  

District 1 Vice President

Verizon's union busting law firm's manipulative and coercive attempt to divide and conquer our solidarity.

Their plan will FAIL as this letter is full of bull... our members are much smarter and tougher than to fall for this...

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Now for the TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH

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When it comes to calling out and breaking down the Republican Party’s calculated “war on the poor and working families,” nobody does it quite like former US Labor Secretary, Robert Reich.

In this powerful video courtesy of MoveOn.org, Reich neatly summarizes the Republican Party’s 7-prongued approach to exacerbating socioeconomic inequality and relegating America’s poor and working families to a life of poverty. Think he’s exaggerating? Watch the 135-second video and you will agree that the ‘War on the poor and working families” isn’t a figment of his imagination, it is real and impacting Americans all across the nation.

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Weingarten RIGHTS

Members of CWA Local 1122 have Weingarten rights during investigatory interviews. An investigatory interview occurs when a Company representative questions a member to obtain information that could lead to discipline OR asks a member to defend his or her conduct. If you reasonably believe that discipline or other adverse consequences may result from a meeting with a Company representative, you have a right to Union representation at that meeting. But, you must request it.
Read More...

Responsibilty of Attendance

As a member of the Local, you are the reason the Union exists. The Unions responsibility is to protect your rights as a worker and see to it that the steady flow of changes in our workplace does not violate our contract with our employer, other non-contractual issues can be dealt with accordingly when the group of members come together and support each other as equals rather than a ME FIRST ATTITUDE....
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Why We WEAR RED

... This all started some years ago at a CWA District One Conference in NY City. The Local Presidents passed a motion to put forth a Resolution at the CWA National Convention that year. This resolution was first to honor our fallen brother Gerry, and second to show our SOLIDARITY and strength ....
Read More...


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