Nearly 40,000 wireline employees of Verizon Communications are on strike after failing to reach an agreement with management on a new labor contract. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Nearly 40,000 Verizon employees from Massachusetts to Virginia walked off the job after failing to reach a new labor contract with management. Verizon and the unions have been in talks since last June over the company's plans to cut healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period. (SOUNDBITE) PROTESTER JOHN STRACQUADANIO, SAYING: "Basically what they want to do is take our contract away. They want to take away our job security, they want to freeze our pensions, they want to move us to any state, any time." Issues still on the table include healthcare, pensions, work rules and offshoring call center jobs... something field technician David Doran says will have dramatic consequences. (SOUNDBITE) FIELD TECHNICIAN, DAVID DORAN, SAYING: "They want to outsource any call centers they wanna take out of the country and put in Mexico or Philippines it's not true they don't wanna provide good jobs they wanna take my job away." Verizon says it has trained thousands of non-union employees to ensure services are not disrupted during the strike -- one of the largest in recent years. (SOUNDBITE) PROTESTER JOHN STRACQUADANIO, SAYING: "We're going to fight to the very end..." But the union says it will fight for as long as it takes to get a fair contract.