Verizon reports cases of sabotage, warns of delays in customer service

Verizon Communications Inc. reported a dozen cases of sabotaged cable lines and warned of delays in repairs and customer service on the second day of a strike involving 45,000 employees.

The telecommunications company said there have been 12 acts of sabotage to telephone lines, Internet and television services in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York since the strike began.

Fiber-optic lines were intentionally cut in Tewksbury and several other cities on the East Coast, the company said. Stolen equipment in Cedar Grove, N.J. affected service to a local police department and a heat system was tampered with at a central office in Manhattan.


“This could be a dangerous situation if people need to reach fire, police, or emergency responders and can’t use their phone,’’ said Phil Santoro, a spokesman for Verizon.

Verizon is offering a $50,000 reward “for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of individuals that intentionally damage Verizon cables or facilities or cause or attempt to cause physical injury to any Verizon employee or contractor.’’

Myles Calvey, a business manager with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workerswho is representing New England workers in the negotiation, said the union has no knowledge of its members committing any acts of sabotage.

“We don’t do that, and nobody in the union leadership supports any of that,’’ he said. The striking workers are members of the IBEW and the Communications Workers of America.

Verizon said the company met the demands of 75 percent of their customer repair orders on Sunday. The company warned of longer hold times on their customer service lines and longer waits for repair service.

Verizon officials and leaders from the unions that represent the striking workers continued negotiations . About 6,000 Verizon workers in Massachusetts and about 800 in Rhode Island are on strike. Workers continued to picket outside Verizon offices and stores in the region.


“We have to get these people back to work,’’ said Calvey. “Nobody wants all of these people out in the street.’’


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