New Networks Institute

Contact: Bruce Kushnick, 212-777-5418

Bruce@newnetworks.com

To read this filing, the original CWA report, or related material see:

http://newnetworks.com/cwacomplaint.htm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 21, 2001

 

REPORT: VERIZON HARMS PHONE CUSTOMERS, COMPETITORS, NEW YORK STATE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ITS OWN STAFFERS

New Networks Institute Files with New York State and Federal Officials to Investigate Communications Workers of America (CWA) Report Findings

NEW YORK, NY -- New Networks Institute (NNI) today filed a series of complaints with the New York Attorney General's Office, the New York Public Service Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to investigate claims made by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) that affect all Verizon phone customers, competitors, and CWA workers.

In November 2000, the CWA released a report, "Service Quality & Service Quality Reporting at Verizon - NY." This report, requested by the New York Public Service Commission to examine service quality issues, is part of the ongoing Alternate Regulation plan that governs Verizon's local phone services.

"These findings require an immediate and public investigation," said Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director of New Networks Institute. "This report illustrates express harm to all New York phone customers and competitors. The harm to customers includes services for everything from a phone line installation to fixing a phone outage; it illustrates a deterioration of the entire telephone network that is supposed to be New York's digital lifeblood, a direct and severe impact into the entire economic development of New York state's economy, and even an effect on the cost of all phone services."

The report's claims against Verizon include the falsification of company service quality data, inaccurate information, possible consumer fraud for inside wire maintenance plans, deterioration of the current phone networks, lack of experienced management, lack of proper training, and harm to company whistleblowers trying to call attention to the problems.

In the CWA's own words:

"CWA Service Quality Program has identified a number of management practices that result in the inaccurate reporting of service quality data to the PSC. Specifically, survey results, hotline reports and case studies verify inaccurate reporting of data for Customer Trouble Reports, Out of Service over 24 hours, Missed Repair and Installation Appointments, Installations Within Five Days, and Answer Time Performance. The misreporting of this data allows the company to artificially improve its service quality performance and reduce its exposure to PRP penalties and PSC sanctions."

There is a litany of documented harm. Here is some information taken directly from the report:

  • The Direct Falsification Of Company Service Quality Data By Management Over 30% of those surveyed have directly seen management change the status of trouble reports.
  • Management Directing Workers To Close Out Troubles Before They Are Actually Completed Over 60% of those surveyed have been directed by management to code a trouble as completed before it is really cleared of the trouble.
  • Management Directing Workers To Backtime Over 54% of those surveyed have been asked by management to backtime -- to alter records identifying the date and time a trouble was completed.
  • Passing Installations Before Completion 91% of surveyed field technicians reported that they were dispatched on repairs of recent installations only to find that dial tone had never been provided.

The report also highlights a series of very serious problems that affect quality of service:

  • Deteriorating Plant Equipment Due to a lack of investment in equipment, workers do not have the tools or materials needed to complete their jobs adequately and timely. Instead, the company directs workers to fix problems with "band-aid" approaches.
  • Lack of Experienced Managers New York Telephone eliminated thousands of experienced managers and lowered the benefits of those remaining. Consequently, few skilled workers apply for management positions. New managers have few if any technical skills and are therefore unable to properly respond to technical problems, coordinate the work force or train new workers.

"The problems highlighted in this report are very serious. Unfortunately, we believe they are not isolated to New York state, but are common throughout the entire Bell system. It affects the entire economic development of the state and the country at large, not to mention hundreds of millions of dollars in business costs, customer costs, penalties and fines that Verizon would be assessed if these charges are verified by state and federal authorities," stated Kushnick.

"We consider the Communications Workers of America courageous to present the truth about their horrendous working conditions. These workers are being asked to perform illegal acts, and they realize the harm that Verizon's illegal decisions have been causing. We stand behind the worker's requests to remedy these problems immediately," added Kushnick.

For more information, contact Bruce Kushnick at 212-777-5418, or by email at action@newnetworks.com go to http://www.newnetworks.com to read more material.