Nearly 40,000 unionized workers went on strike Wednesday against Verizon. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
NEW YORK, April 13 (UPI) -- Nearly 40,000 unionized employees of Verizon Communications went on strike Wednesday after working without a contract since August.
Workers left the job at 6 a.m. Wednesday, as they threatened to do in a strike announcement Tuesday.
The strike, by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, is the second in the past four contract cycles with Verizon. It largely affects employees in the company's landline business in the northeast, from Massachusetts to Virginia.
A 2011 strike against Verizon lasted two weeks before it was settled with a new contract.
"Given Verizon's enormous profitability there is no justification for the company's continuing demands to destroy good middle-class jobs and offshore work," a CWA statement said Tuesday.
At issue, the CWA said, are reductions in job security, the planned closure of some Verizon call centers, the move of some jobs to foreign countries and to outside contractors and a plan for some employees to relocate for up to two months.
Verizon officials said workers unaffected by the strike, primarily supervisors, have been trained to take over additional duties},and promised no landline service disruption during the strike.
"On Day 1 our first priority is to maintain the customer base we have -- answer the phones, surveil the network, work repairs -- and we're fully staffed to do that," said Robert Mudge, the president of Verizon's wireline network operations, said in a statement quoted by The New York Times.