Verizon reports local property damage as strike continues

Chesterfield County police are investigating two incidents since last week in which Verizon Communications Inc. equipment was damaged, in one case disrupting parts of the company’s local FIOS service.

A Verizon spokesman Wednesday described it as “sabotage,” a word the telecommunications company has used to describe numerous incidents of damage to its equipment since more than 45,000 Verizon workers from Massachusetts to Virginia went on strike Aug. 7.

About 1,200 Verizon employees in the Richmond region are on strike, according to the Communications Workers of America, the union that represents them.

A local union officer said Wednesday that the union has told striking employees not to damage any equipment.

“The last thing we want our people to do is mess up any equipment or break any law,” said Richard Hatch, executive vice president of the Communications Workers Local 2201.

Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell said there have been 202 incidents of deliberate damage to the company’s property in the nine states where workers are on strike. In comparison, there were 46 incidents of deliberate damage to Verizon property in the six months before the strike in those states, he said.

“These acts are reprehensible,” Mitchell said. “They are unpatriotic. They are a federal offense. The FBI is looking into it for that reason.”

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