On Friday, October 9, 2009, Verizon laid off 200 technicians in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In the current economy, that number may not seem newsworthy - unless you’re one of the 200 employees who are suddenly out of work - and of course their families. The IBEW states that there are contract violations and they will be seeking independent arbitration. Despite being a strong union supporter, in this instance there is another thread of this story which is of equal interest to me.
Back on September 17, 2009, according to Saul Hansell of the New York Times, Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg reportedly said Verizon “was simply no longer concerned with telephones that are connected with wires.” He also said “We can begin to look at eliminating central offices, call centers and garages.”
Back in May it was reported that Verizon was working to sell its land lines in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin to Frontier Communications of Stamford, Connecticut. But there have been plenty of problems up in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont ever since FairPoint Communications bought those states’ land lines from Verizon back in 2007. One big one is FairPoint coming to the brink of bankruptcy. As David Brooks of the Nashua Telegraph reported “The possibility of bankruptcy has caused enough concern that legislative officials from the three states are scheduled to meet in Concord on November 12th to discuss what this might mean for Northern New England's telecommunications.”
So, back in May, Verizon stated “jurisdictions that will not be part of the [Frontier] transaction: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia, plus most of California.” But because last month Verizon Communications CEO Seidenberg clearly described his feeling of being “liberated” from a focus on land lines, shouldn’t Massachusetts Governor Patrick, Rhode Island Governor Carcieri and Connecticut Governor Rell see if the Northern New England Governors have room for three more at their November 12th meeting?