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May
2016
19

In Verizon Strike Twist, CWA Discovers Extent of Co’s Underhanded Filipino Offshoring Operation

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Amidst an extended contract dispute with Verizon in the U.S., the Communications Workers of America (CWA) has uncovered a massive Filipino offshoring operation being run by the company. CWA was previously aware of the operation’s existence, but a four-day tour of the Philippines by Verizon representatives who are on strike showed that the level of offshoring is higher than Verizon has previously acknowledged.  

Just how badly did Verizon want to keep this information from the public?  Let’s just say the four CWA representatives who visited Verizon’s corporate offices in the Philippines were greeted by a private security force who then called in a SWAT team armed with automatic weapons.  They were eventually allowed to leave.

In a statement, CWA President Chris Shelton said:

“Executives repeatedly have claimed that Verizon offshores few jobs, and none that affect our members. Recently, our union was contacted by call center workers in the Philippines who revealed that Verizon was lying to our members and the public about the extent of the off-shoring of good American jobs, so we sent four CWA members to the Philippines to learn the truth.  When our members uncovered how Verizon is padding its incredible profit margins by replacing good paying American jobs with poverty-wage jobs abroad, Verizon sent armed guards and a SWAT team after them.  

Worse, Verizon has doubled down on its deception, claiming workers were on a ‘vacation.’ Let’s be clear: being on strike, exposing Verizon’s lies about off-shoring and being harassed by Verizon armed security guards is no vacation. Striking men and women from Massachusetts to Virginia are standing up for their families, their customers and to save middle class jobs for all Americans.”

The findings are in direct contrast to the words of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, who claimed that “only a small part of calls were sent to the Philippines” while appearing at a picket line in Syracuse on April 14th. The group of CWA representatives said that several call centers in the Philippines are staffed heavily during American business hours. These workers earn around $1.78 an hour.  

Verizon’s claims that the U.S. strike hasn’t affected business is untrue, the union has discovered.  Of the nearly 40,000 workers currently on strike, roughly 13,000 work in call centers.  To make up for their absence, workers in the Philippines have been forced to work 1-2 hours of overtime each day and come in for an additional 8-hour shift of overtime.  Since they are employed by subcontractors they are not given overtime compensation for these hours.  

Dennis Trainor, President of CWA District One, said:

“Verizon is terrified that the public might find out about what has happened to the good middle-class jobs the company has shipped to the Philippines. The truth is that Verizon is destroying middle-class American jobs so that it can pay workers $1.78 per hour and force them to work around the clock, rather than preserve good jobs in our communities. That’s what our strike is about. Instead of profiting off of poverty abroad, Verizon should come back to the table and negotiate a fair contract that protects middle-class jobs.”

Call centers and their future role in the company are at the heart of contract talks between CWA and Verizon. Among the many demands being made by management is the ability to close several East Coast call centers staffed by union workers who make a living wage. If closed, the jobs would go to workers working for non-union subcontractors or be sent to countries such as the Philippines or Mexico. 

“Talking about poverty pay does not warrant a response from armed guards,” CWA District 2-13 Vice President Edward Mooney said. “But it seems Verizon is going to great lengths to try to hide their strategy of outsourcing middle-class American jobs in favor of poverty wages abroad.”

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One Comment on “In Verizon Strike Twist, CWA Discovers Extent of Co’s Underhanded Filipino Offshoring Operation”

  1. If these CWA reps discovered the extent of the offshoring, and can demonstrate that is is way more than expected – why don’t they tell us the details?
    Why don’t they tell us how many Filipinos are employed by Verizon? If they have proof of the wages and abuses why not produce any evidence of them whatsoever? Unpaid Overtime is illegal in the Philippines – if it really going on why not assist those employees by helping them bring the case before DOLE? Because they didn’t find out anything new but just wanted a sensational story to tell is my guess.

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