Verizon Union Members Stuck In 20th Century – OB Rag Recycles Press Release

Bradley J. Fikes Bradley J. Fikes 5 Comments

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“Everybody needs to be wired and we’re the people who do that.”
— Vinnie Galvin, striking Verizon worker, quoted by the Associated Press.

With all respect to Mr. Galvin, everybody doesn’t need to be wired. And by not realizing that fact, he’s ruining his future.

I dropped my landline many years ago because with my wireless phone, I didn’t need it. Earlier this summer, I cancelled my cable modem service, because with my wireless Internet card, I didn’t need it.

In both cases, I’m using Verizon Wireless, which unlike Verizon’s wired service, is not unionized. While Verizon’s landline voice and data customers back East are experiencing disruption, Verizon Wireless customers aren’t affected. That sends a message to customers: avoid services provided by strike-prone union workers.

(The Verizon strike doesn’t extend to California, but if it does, there are going to be plenty of customers unhappy that they went with landline and FIOS instead of wireless).

That’s not the lesson the union Verizon’s striking workers belong to want us to get. The Communications Workers of America says they’re defending “middle-class” jobs.

(Where have we heard that union talking point before? Yes, the “Middle Class Taxpayers Association,” where “middle class” is a euphemism for “labor union.” As to why the unions think they need a euphemism, that would be an interesting story.)

Is this MIddle Class Taxpayers piece an OB Rag article?

Is this Middle Class Taxpayers piece an OB Rag article?

The OB Rag played stenographer for the MCTPA without mentioning its union and Democratic ties. Downplaying the union/Democratic control must be in the unspoken talking points. (Actually, the stenography is more literal than I thought. The OB Rag story, presented as being written by “staff,”  is a nearly verbatim press release from the group.)

... Or is it a press release? … Or is it a press release?And what’s the difference?

But no amount of clumsily orchestrated propaganda and deflection can hide the momentous shift in telecommunications away from wired and toward wireless. I’m one example of that, and my choices were based purely out of convenience, not of ideology.

I like having my Internet and phone with me wherever I go. And as wireless data gets faster, from 3G to 4G and beyond, others will make the same decision. Wireless is the future, and Verizon is feeling the forces like every other company in telecom. From an article on the Atlantic’s Web site:

“As much as this story represents the long erosion of labor’s power and the corresponding rise of health care costs, it also represents a secular collapse inside telecom. Between 2006 and 2011, Verizon landlines have declined from 47 million to 25 million — nearly a 50% collapse in five years.”

Judging by Verizon worker Galvin, the strikers’ mindset is firmly planted in the world of three decades ago — when Galvin said he entered the telecom industry. Instead of preserving their middle class jobs, the strikers have just hit the accelerator on the road to obsolescence.

Unions don’t have to end up this way. An enlightened union and enlightened company can outcompete rivals, Southwest Airlines being the classic example. I fly Southwest whenever feasible, even if their prices aren’t the absolute lowest, because the airline provides good quality service at a consistently reasonable price. Of course, air travel isn’t going to become outmoded anytime soon, unless scientists make fairly drastic progress with improved technology.

Some friendly advice for the striking Verizon workers: Stop your counterproductive strike, do your job as best as you can for the present, and train as much as possible in new technology and look for new opportunities. You’ll have a much more secure future than by pretending that your jobs are as important as they used to be.

Employees are not entitled to benefits from Verizon any more than Verizon (or any other company)  is entitled to have customers. Both must be earned on the merits.

As a journalist, I know very well that the only way to survival is by mastering technology. No union, company or government can protect you when your skills become outdated. Just ask the Middle-Class Buggywhip-Makers Association.

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(DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion, not necessarily that of the North County Times, my employer).

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Comments 5

  1. Brad:

    That’s very interesting: about wireless internet access.
    If you have the time and inclination, can you explain
    how that works? Is it easily usable with laptop and
    larger desktop computers? Do you recommend
    any particular provider? Thanks.

  2. Post
    Author

    Sure. I use a Verizon MiFi 2200 card, made by San Diego-based Novatel Wireless, that works off Verizon’s 3G data network. This card provides a mobile WiFi hotspot, usable by up to five computers at once. Its range is 30 feet. It can run about three hours on the battery, or it can run off an AC adapter.

    The card can also be plugged directly into a computer’s USB port, acting in that case like a regular modem (only the connected computer can use it).

    I use the card with my laptop all the time, and now with my home desktop computer – as with this message and my SD Rostra posts. Any computer that receives WiFi signals can use it, included Mac and Linux-powered computers.

    Verizon now sells a 4G version of the card, which is even faster.

    As for providers, I recommend Verizon Wireless, which has the most extensive reach of high-speed connections, and which I’ve used for years for wireless Internet. (AT&T says its high-speed network covers 97 percent of the people, but it covers a geographically smaller area than Verizon). Cricket Wireless also provides wireless Internet through a mobile hotspot, but it appears to me from my own tests that it’s somewhat slower (although somewhat less pricy).

    There are other WiFi cards besides the MiFi; and you can also get a WiFi hotspot with Android and iPhone mobile phones. But I like have a dedicated Internet connection.

    A few years ago, Verizon Wireless forbade using their Internet as your primary Internet connection, for fear of overloading the network. But Verizon has removed that prohibition.

    As for pricing: I use Verizon’s top-tier plan, which charges $80 a month for 10 gigabytes. I’ve found that to be quite sufficient. (Extremely heavy data downloaders, such as those who get movies from Netflix would find this inadequate).

    I also pay $20 a month extra on my cell phone plan to get an additional 2 gigabytes by using my cell phone as a modem. So that’s $100 a month. That’s not especially pricy, considering that I no longer need to pay for a wired Internet connection.

  3. Brad,

    While I wish all groups that were involved in politics were more transparent as to who they are and what their goals are, I don’t think it is fair to single out unions for using names that are more politically popular. Wasn’t it just last election that Valero Energy Corporation, Tesoro Corporation and Flint Hills Resources formed the “Americans for Prosperity for California” in order to support Proposition 23 and attempt to overturn AB 32?

  4. Post
    Author

    Alger,
    The Middle Class Taxpayers Association came to my attention because it’s located in San Diego. I read about it on the SD Readers’ blog. Its rhetoric sounded to me like that of a group with a (not so well) hidden agenda, and I was right. And the same thought came to me when I heard the union-backed commercials with their mendacious scare against signing petitions. That was even worse; the group not only used a deceptive name, but flatly lied.

    Of course, your larger point is absolutely correct: that corporate groups also use deceptive names to hide the identity of their backers. However, there are plenty of journalists and left-leaning groups to expose those deceptions, and I don’t feel obliged to duplicate their work.

  5. Post
    Author

    Jim, the other day I used my wireless Internet to help reporters and editors get online in my newspaper’s Temecula office, when the data lines were down. With the WiFi from my card, they were able to log into the corporate network and do their work.

    Anyone thinking of buying a laptop modem should buy a WiFi hotspot card instead; the cost is a bit greater, but you can bring the Internet to those around you.

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