CABLE CUTTING EPIDEMIC IN HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY - Radioactivity

11/30/04

Private contractors working to lay hundreds of miles of optical fiber cable for Verizon have cut into local natural gas lines more than 44 times in recent months. They've also caused breaks in sewer and water lines. The problem is so bad that Hillsborough County ordered a temporary stop to the work. Our guest this segment was Danny Johnson, Business Agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Johnson said all of the disruptions of gas, water and sewer lines were caused by non-union contractors and it's just a matter of time before there is a serious accident. He says layoffs at Verizon have left the company's unionized work force with too few workers to handle the job of laying the cable. And he says that when union workers did perform that job there were much fewer problems. He adds that he understands why the company would be reluctant to hire enough union members for what is a temporary job.

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