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Striking Verizon Workers Can Continue To Picket

Verizon worker Steven Simard, of Danvers, right, holds a placard and chants slogans from a picket line outside a Verizon office in Boston Aug. 12. (AP)
Verizon worker Steven Simard, of Danvers, right, holds a placard and chants slogans from a picket line outside a Verizon office in Boston Aug. 12. (AP)

Striking Verizon workers in Massachusetts are under court order not to block access to any Verizon offices, garages or work sites in the state.

A panel of three Suffolk Superior Court judges issued an injunction Friday against four locals of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, but the court refused to establish some other restrictions requested by Verizon.

It did not grant a request to limit picketing at Verizon locations to only two union members. The judges also refused to order striking workers to stay at least 100 feet away from Verizon trucks.

Both sides welcomed the decision that had been anticipated for days.

“It allows us to enter and exit our buildings and our customers’ homes and our garages without harassment. We think this will help,” said Verizon spokesman Phil Santoro.

“We're going to continue to picket lawfully, as we always have. Nothing that came from the court would prohibit that,” said Paul Feeney of IBEW Local 2222. “We’re just going to be cognizant of the actions of all our picketers and instruct them to follow the law and obey all orders from the police."

Union leaders deny encouraging any harassment of replacement workers, but the company insists the safety of some employees has been threatened.

“This is a clear indication that what they were doing is illegal and it has to stop,” Santoro said.

IBEW counters that the company has created tensions for replacement workers. The union indicated it believed it could still lawfully try to discourage those workers doing union jobs.

“We can't block commerce. We can't stop the company from doing work. That's illegal, and we can't do it. But we can send a clear message that it's going to be uncomfortable,” Feeney said.

This program aired on August 20, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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