I'm surprised no one has mentioned this. It shows how much the world has changed. Today, Vz's unionized employees represent only a small part of its workforce, and everything today is highly automated.
In my own humble opinion, as a Vz customer, I think Vz has cut back service quality too much in its landline operations and that is a factor in their loss of landline subscribers. Some installation has been outsourced to independent people. Business, repair, and traffic (operator) offices have been consolidated and it's difficult to get a hold of a human. When I have gotten a landline employee (that is, a traditional "Bell Telephone" person), the quality of service is far higher than what I get from Vz's more modern units, such as wireless or their sales departments.
article:History note: In 1947 there was a phone strike and it was disruptive. The post office and Western Union both had to add people to handle extra volume. In NYC, while 90% of the phones were dial, 10% were still manual*--that meant an operator was required to complete _every_ call. Likewise, all toll calls required an operator, even city- suburban calls. Subscribers in manual areas were asked to make emergency calls only. (In the early 1950s dial was added to quite a few places and calls could be dialed between city and suburb.)
- All of Staten Island, outer edges of Queens and the Bronx. Also almost all of suburban Long Island. The city's manual exchanges could be dialed from dial phones with the Panel Switch PCI interface to manual "B" boards, except of course during the strike. Suburban towns had old style manual numbers, ie "Babylon 354".
I shudder to think of the massive clerical cost for such 10-15c short haul toll calls. An operator had to write up a toll ticket and time the call. Then a clerk had to calculate the charge, then post it to the customer's phone bill. Sitting there going through a pile of toll tickets calculating charges by hand all day long, under the watchful high of a strict supervisor, isn't my idea of a fun job.
I wonder when they first got a real electronic computer and what kind it was.