FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The nation's largest strike in recent memory began Wednesday as unions representing nearly 40,000 Verizon workers were unable to reach an agreement with the broadband and telecommunications giant.
The workers are members of two unions — the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They include installers, customer service employees, repairmen and other service workers in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., for Verizon's wireline business, which provides fixed-line phone services and FiOS Internet service.
Workers walked out at 6 a.m. Wednesday. About 600 of the CWA union workers were expected to stage a morning protest outside Verizon offices at 111 Main St. in White Plains, N.Y.
Dozens of union workers have been holding informational pickets in Mohegan Lake, Hartsdale, Port Chester and outside other local Verizon stores since Aug. 2, when their contract expired.
In an earlier interview with Daily Voice, Anthony Pugliese, vice president for Local 1103 of the Communications Workers of America AFL-CIO , said, "It's all about preserving good middle-class jobs."
Pugliese said the CWA has been in bargaining talks since June 22 with Verizon management.
“We’re standing up for working families and standing up to Verizon’s corporate greed,” said CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor.
Even though Verizon made $39 billion in profits over the last three years — and $1.8 billion a month in profits over the first three months of 2016 — the company wants to gut job security protections, contract out more work, offshore jobs to Mexico, the Philippines and other locations and require technicians to work away from home for as long as two months without seeing their families, according to CWA officers.
"More and more, Americans are outraged by what some of the nation’s wealthiest corporations have done to working people over the last 30 years, and Verizon is becoming the poster child for everything that people in this country are angry about,” said Edward Mooney, vice president of CWA District 2-13.
Last month, 20 U.S. Senators sent a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam calling on him to “act as a responsible corporate citizen and negotiate a fair contract with the employees who make your company’s success possible.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.