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Verizon Workers Hit Picket Lines in City, Along East Coast

Monday, August 08, 2011

Thousands of striking workers from Verizon Communication Inc.'s landline division joined picket lines and rallies Monday at the company's offices from Massachusetts to Virginia, according to a union official.

About 130 workers were picketing outside Verizon's Forest Hills, Queens, offices Monday morning after a contract for 45,000 expired midnight Saturday without agreement on issues such as health care costs and pensions.

"We're out here for the long haul," said Robert Shannon, of the Communications Workers of America. "In '89 we were out here for four months. In '71 we were out for seven months — 2000, we were out a couple of weeks, and we'll stay until we get a good contract."

Vadim Voynov, a 14-year employee, said he had been through two earlier strikes and that his family had girded itself for this one.

"We have something in the saving account, let's put it this way, and it's going to be depleted," Voynov said. "There is no other way."

With reporting by Arun Venugopal and the Associated Press

Arun Venugopal/WNYC
Robert Shannon, of CWA, and union steward Joan Rodriguez, who's worked at Verizon for 11 years.
Arun Venugopal/WNYC
Two workers have breakfast and prepare for a long day on the picket line.
Arun Venugopal/WNYC
Tom Carney says workers have given up enough benefits over the years.

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