Well-trained union members make a difference in a crisis. After Hurricane Michael hit Florida and Georgia last year, Verizon Wireless struggled to restore service, leaving customers and first responders without a way to communicate and hampering recovery efforts. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott praised AT&T for its quick response.
To figure out why Verizon's response to Hurricane Michael was considered poor in comparison to AT&T's response, CWA conducted a survey of its AT&T wireline technicians who worked on the recovery in Panama City. The findings, which CWA included in an FCC filing this week, show that Verizon failed Floridians and Georgians affected by the hurricane by relying on non-union contractors to respond to the damage. In contrast, AT&T used union-represented employees, allowing the company to immediately deploy a well-trained workforce large enough for the critical task at hand.
A piece in Ars Technica this week examined how Verizon's non-union contractors struggled to handle the big task of rebuilding, from not having the proper credentials to access Verizon's equipment to not showing up fast enough to restore critical service. The piece also highlights how the FCC's reliance on useless, weak, voluntary commitments from carriers instead of instituting strong regulations for disaster recovery made tens of thousands wireless customers have to wait days, unnecessarily, for their mobile phone service to be restored.