By Helaina Hovitz
At Community Board 1’s full board meeting last week, hundreds of Verizon workers showed up to make an appeal for the board to take action and call on Verizon to stay in Lower Manhattan. Their 140 West Street building has been vacant since Sandy hit, and now the company is trying to move its 1,100 on-site workers into Brooklyn. Verizon claims that because so much damage has been done from Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, the move would be a cautionary measure to protect from future displacement.
“It’s like they’re saying if you’ve been displaced by Sandy, you should not bother to rebuild,” said Brad Sussman, Labor Relations Specialist and attorney for the Communication Workers of America’s Local 1101 Union. “This seems like a step toward what they’ve done with other buildings downtown, converting them into some other form of real estate and selling or repurposing them.”
Verizon employees say they don’t want to move because they’ve developed lives and routines rooted in the downtown community, and the community doesn’t want to see them go because of the devastating impact such a large loss of businesses will have.
In an attempt to fight the move, workers are going to bring the issue to CB1’s Financial District Committee meeting on Wednesday, April 3rd, and ask for a resolution to be passed insisting that Verizon stay put.
A letter writing campaign to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has already been launched.
“Verizon is turning their back on a commitment they made to downtown,“ said Sussman.
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