IBEW Local 827 testifies before New Jersey Senate Budget Committee on telecom
industry recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy; Union calls for cooperation
to secure more government funding
EAST WINDSOR, N.J., Dec. 5, 2012
EAST WINDSOR, N.J., Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The union
representing workers in the telecommunications industry today testified on
Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts before the New Jersey State Senate Budget and
Appropriations Committee in Trenton, New Jersey.
Bill Huber, the President and Business Manager of the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 827, called on the State
Legislature to pressure Verizon to rebuild the telecommunications grid
devastated by Hurricane Sandy in a way that was more technologically advanced
and better able to meet the challenges of future catastrophes, a process known
as "building smart," by tapping into the billions of dollars of federal
recovery funding flowing into the state.
"The devastation caused by this storm was, in the opinion of our Union,
greatly aggravated by the historic and continuing actions of power and
communications utilities to ignore the importance of 'building smart' and then
properly maintaining the power and communications grid in this region," said
Huber. "The cumulative result of this business philosophy was revealed in the
aftermath of Hurricane Sandy by the long time periods involved in restoring
service due to the lack of adequate manpower resulting from consistent
downsizing, causing the need to import service techs from other states."
Huber was also critical of Verizon's efforts to move away from being the
company that provides a reliable telephone dial tone service in favor of a
wireless services provider. He called on the Legislature to live up to its
traditional obligations to consumers, especially senior citizens and rural
"We believe that Verizon needs to be forced to live up to its obligation as
the last provider of dial tone service, to spend what is necessary to provide
alternatives for senior citizens who do not want to migrate to Fiber or
provide a reliable back-up power source that will keep dial tone working in
power failures," said Huber. "Verizon has technology available that would
allow them to take care of seniors and rural customers ... They haven't built
out this valuable technological backup system simply because they don't want
to absorb the cost and also because they don't have enough trained outside
techs to do the work in a timely fashion."
Huber went on to state that, in spite of past conflicts with the company over
contractual matters, IBEW Local 827 was still willing to work with Verizon and
the State Legislature to secure a fair share of federal recovery funding.
"Our IBEW Local 827 members are ready, willing and more than able to work
cooperatively with Verizon and the Legislature to both lobby for our fair
share of federal and state disaster relief for the telecommunications
infrastructure and to rebuild and reconnect a telecommunications
infrastructure that will be the envy of the rest of the Nation," Huber
IBEW Local 827 represents 5,500 union members working in the
telecommunications field who form the bulk of the outside technical workforce
for Verizon in New Jersey. Some IBEW Local 827 members also work for divisions
of Comcast Communications, and a small group works for AT&T & Avaya.
SOURCE IBEW Local 827
Contact: William Huber, President/Business Manager, +1-609-443-4100
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