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Verizon strikers go to CEO’s home

Striking Verizon workers held a candlelight vigil yesterday at the home of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in Mendham, N.J. Striking Verizon workers held a candlelight vigil yesterday at the home of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in Mendham, N.J. (Rich Schultz/Associated Press)
By Associated Press
August 19, 2011

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MENDHAM, N.J. - Hundreds of striking Verizon workers held a candlelight vigil outside their chief executive’s mansion yesterday, hoping to draw a contrast between the contract demands of blue-collar workers and the quality of life enjoyed by the company’s executives.

Wearing red shirts, singing union songs, and chanting “What’s disgusting? Union busting,’’ union members lit candles outside Lowell McAdam’s home.

About 45,000 Verizon landline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia have been striking since Aug. 7, fighting demands for contract givebacks. About 7,000 of those workers are in New Jersey, and some of them were bused yesterday to the wealthy town where their top executive owns a home, intending to underscore that their benefits should not be cut while the company takes in billions in revenue.

The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have been fighting Verizon’s call for a pension freeze and for contributions to health insurance premiums.

The company has obtained court injunctions limiting picketing in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, but Verizon has said that hundreds of acts of sabotage have been carried out during the strike.

Union leaders have publicly denounced acts of sabotage or violations of the law. Police said the vigil was peaceful.

Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski said the workers would be better served if their union leaders would focus on good-faith bargaining to end the strike.

“Union bosses surely can find more constructive things for their membership to do than waste taxpayer dollars, public safety resources, and their membership’s time with these cheap theatrics,’’ Gierczynski said.