Skip to main content

Feb 25, 2016 - Pennsylvania Investigating Verizon

Sign Up for E-News

Send tips to or @CWANews.

Pennsylvania Regulators to Hold Hearings on Verizon's Neglect of Telephone System

Share This Article:

Last fall, CWA activists presented the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) with hundreds of examples of dangerous Verizon telephone line and work locations across 13 Pennsylvania counties. Now, the PUC has announced that it will hold hearings into Verizon's systemic neglect of the telephone infrastructure.

Verizon not only is neglecting the copper network in this part of the state, but it refuses to build out its fiber network in that region, CWA charged.

CWA documented the multiple broken poles, sagging cables, ungrounded conduit and abandoned equipment caused by Verizon's neglect of the copper wire network, and also pointed that this negligence was a danger to customers, as well. The PUC has received thousands of complaints of inadequate service, and customers even have been unable to receive medical calls or call 911 for an emergency.

"Pennsylvania families are paying top dollar every month for reliable telephone service and safe neighborhoods and streets. They deserve better than Verizon's reckless disregard for public safety and service," said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney. "CWA members across the state are climbing poles and fixing equipment every day to make sure that communities get the service they deserve and the service they pay for. Despite its billions of dollars in profits, Verizon knowingly is leaving its infrastructure in a state of disrepair, risking the safety of telephone workers and Pennsylvania residents."

CWA also asked the PUC to order Verizon to take immediate action to correct these dangerous conditions and to fine Verizon for what appears to be willful failures to safely maintain its equipment. According to CWA's petition, the PUC has the authority to fine Verizon up to $1,000 per day for each safety violation.

Read more here:

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. to look into complaints about Verizon copper lines

ArsTechnica: Verizon faces probe of falling poles, sagging cables and infested cabinets

FierceTelecom: Verizon's Pennsylvania network conditions face PUC investigation

Left: In Newport Township, in Luzerne County, PA, this partial pole is just dangling mid-air, with its connection attached to the new pole by a single cable. The cables that send signals to customers' homes still are mounted on the old pole; if it goes down, so does telephone service. Right: On Mountain Road in Montoursville, near Wilkes-Barre, this cross-connect cabinet is severely damaged, yet Verizon hasn't replaced it. Inside the cabinets are hundreds of pairs of individual conductors that serve customers. These cables are completely exposed to weather and animals that will affect customers' service.

Standing Up for Call Center Workers

Share This Article:

U.S. Representative Gene Green (D-TX-29th District) was joined by CWA call center workers and union activists at a news conference in Houston. Green talked about the legislation he is introducing to safeguard the jobs of U.S. call center workers.

CWA Local 6222 member Nancy Barrios, an AT&T retention representative with 13 years' experience, said, "It gives me comfort to know someone is fighting to keep my job here in the United States. Congressman Green has always stood by working families and we need more champions like him in Washington!"

Val Givens, an AT&T customer assistant for nine years and a CWA Local 6222 member said, "I'm really impressed and pleased that someone is looking out for our call center jobs. I have colleagues for whom this is the first job they've ever had that pays well and offers benefits. Taking that away from them would be detrimental. I'm grateful to Gene Green for introducing this bill!"

CWA supporters and District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings, second left, join U.S. Rep. Gene Green at a news conference to outline the call center bill Green is introducing in the House of Representatives.

TPP Update

Share This Article:

The ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee said he will not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Representative Sander Levin (D-Mich.) said, "The TPP as negotiated is short of an acceptable outcome, and I do not support it." Read more of his comments here.

Levin cited four key areas of the TPP – worker rights, currency manipulation, the rules of origin, and investment – where the "results are wholly inadequate."

CWA activists and allies are continuing to push back against this disastrous trade deal and to hold members of Congress accountable for their votes on bad trade policy.

Members of CWA Local 1103, Food & Water Watch, Hudson River Presbytery, Yonkers Federation of Teachers and the Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body meet with ally Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) to discuss the continued fight against the TPP. This coalition has been working together for more than two years to stop the TPP.

Super Tuesday

Share This Article:

CWA activists have been gearing up for Super Tuesday, the primaries that will be held in 12 states and one territory on March 1. These locations are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and American Samoa. There will also be a caucus in Wyoming.

CWAers and National Nurses Union activists on the Bernie Bus made several stops in Atlanta, meeting with members of CWA Local 3204, university students and others who are supporting Bernie Sanders for President.


Rita Scott, president of CWA Local 3204's Retired Members Council, talks with CWAers about Sanders' support for working families.


CWA Local 3204 President Ed Barlow "Feels the Bern!"

AFL-CIO Executive Council Meets on Workplace, Politics, Democracy

Share This Article:

Among the actions at the AFL-CIO winter meeting this week in San Diego:

  • CWA President Chris Shelton was named head of the International Committee.
  • The Council endorsed the call for Democracy Awakening, a mass movement of thousands of people demanding that our democracy be restored. Shelton told the council that unless we fix our democracy, we won't be able to negotiate good contracts, organize and or gain legislation that we support. He said that CWA is committed to having 200 CWAers join in the protests from April 16-18 and encouraged other unions to participate.

Read the full statement here.

  • The Executive Council expressed strong support for the "Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act," to protect and expand workers' ability to organize without employer interference. The bill has been introduced by Representative Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Read other AFL-CIO Executive Council statements here.

Democracy Awakening Hits Congress for Failing Our Democracy

Share This Article:

Thousands of people from at least 170 organizations, including CWA, will mobilize in Washington, DC, this spring for Democracy Awakening. We will demand a democracy where every vote is heard and counted and all Americans have an equal voice.

From April 16-18, Democracy Awakening events will include a "Rally for Democracy" protest and march, a "Congress of Conscience" sit-in, advocacy at the U.S. Capitol, and teach-ins over the three days.

This landmark mobilization will press for reforms and ways to build a stronger democracy that works for all Americans. That means fighting obstruction of President Obama's constitutional obligation to nominate the next Supreme Court justice, restoring and expanding essential voting rights protections, and curbing the power of wealthy special interests and corporations in elections.

By refusing to hold a hearing on a Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, failing to even hold a hearing on voting rights, and failing to move forward on getting big money out of politics, Congress is failing our democracy. Congress needs to hear our voice loud and clear in April. Get more information at

Check out this short video on why the Senate should do its job on a nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, and not declare, as the Senate Republicans did, that they will refuse to consider any nominee President Obama puts forward.

We're Showing America What Democracy Looks Like

Share This Article:

On March 1, you'll want to join the Democracy town hall call and hear the latest in plans and information about Democracy Awakening, three days of education and action on voting rights, getting money out of politics and more. On April 16-18, thousands of activists will converge on our nation's capital, as part of an unprecedented movement to demand a democracy that works for all Americans, one in which everyone has an equal voice and elected officials are accountable to the people, not the wealthy.

CWA President Chris Shelton, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, NAACP President Cornell Brooks, former U.S. Civil Rights Commission Chair and People for the American Way board member Mary Frances Berry, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune and Greenpeace U.S.A. Executive Director Annie Leonard will discuss the actions set for April 16-18. The mobilization already has been endorsed by more than 170 organizations.

Click here to register for the call.

Organizing Update

Share This Article:

GP Mobile Workers Vote Union Yes

Workers at GP Mobile, a T-Mobile authorized retail store in Lawrence, Kan., voted unanimously Feb. 19 to join CWA and the new TU organizing Local 6457. GP Mobile is one of the largest T-Mobile Premier retailers with 39 stores in four states.

CWA District 6 organizing coordinator Tammy Chaffee worked with activists who overcame an intense and aggressive anti-union campaign, including two-hour individual captive meetings in which the company implied that the organizing drive would destroy the career of the well-liked store manager. Two supporters quit before the vote, but the group held strong.

Wichita TU activist Angela Melvin met with Lawrence workers and attended the vote count. She said she came away even more inspired to build TU at her own T-Mobile call center.

Retail store workers in Lawrence, Kans., vote for a CWA voice.