My name is Betsy Derr, and I’m a customer service representative at Verizon’s Customer Sales and Service office in Bloomsburg, PA.

I’m been with Verizon for 16 and a half years.

Verizon says it plans to close our center and have us relocate to the Scranton, PA office. That’s more than 75 miles away – which means about three hours of time commuting every day. That’s a lot of time in the car, and a lot of time away from our families.

About seven years ago I married, and my husband has two sons. I love my step sons, they’re ages 11 and 15. They’re a big part of our lives; we go to their swim meets and school events. They spend lots of time with us. We’re a family.

Verizon wants to close the Bloomsburg center altogether and shift our jobs to Scranton, about 75 miles away. Commuting to Scranton means I’d be gone before the kids got up and maybe home for an hour before they go to bed.

We already work overtime, as much as 10 hours per week. We sometimes work weekends. With an additional three hour commute would mean basically we’d have no home life at all.

My husband also looks after his mother, who had open heart surgery and doesn’t drive, and needs his help to get to doctor appointments or the grocery story. My mother, who is a Verizon retiree, needs my help too. And isn’t that what family does? Look after each other?

Currently my center is located in Verizon’s Central Office in Bloomsburg. That means it’s the Verizon-owned building that contains on the first floor all the switching equipment that makes that network run. It also means that building isn’t going away.

It just doesn’t make sense to move our jobs to Scranton, and we don’t understand why Verizon is trying to force this change onto our families.

If we do go on strike, it will be financially very difficult. We’d be going from a decent paycheck to nothing. Already, we’ve been very careful about what we spend, getting ready just in case. It’s tough not knowing, and if you have kids, you’ll understand when I say the kids get frustrated about the things we can’t do.

But we know we have to take a stand. We work hard, we do a good job for this company and this company is very profitable. In return, we want to have a decent standard of living. We want to enjoy our off-time and spend it with our families.

That shouldn’t be too hard for Verizon to understand.

To speak with Betsy or other Verizon workers about why they are trying to create a better future for themselves and their families please contact Eliza Bates, (646) 285.8491,