Verizon Workers On Strike

August 7, 2011 Updated Aug 7, 2011 at 5:35 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Verizon Workers On Strike

August 7, 2011 Updated Aug 7, 2011 at 5:35 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Hundreds of Verizon Communications employees in WNY began a strike Sunday against the company.

They joined more than 45,000 workers across the country.

Union members decided to walk off the job at midnight after negotiations broke down and the contracts for workers expired.

Union employees are fighting to stop pension freezes, health care cuts, and job security...as Verizon is trying to hire more contractors in their wireline sector.

Gloria Speciale, Vice-President of IBEW 2213 told Eyewitness News, "Verizon Wireless is the non-union side. They wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the revenue our side brought in. We want to grow with them, we'd like to see Verizon Wireless unionized as well, we'd like to see the whole company thrive, but we can only work with them if they don't shut us out."

Negotiations between the unions and Verizon have been held continually since June 22nd, with no deal in sight.

Company officials say services will not be affected by the strike.

Verizon issued this statement on the company website:

"IT'S REGRETTABLE FOR OUR EMPLOYEES AND OUR CUSTOMERS THAT THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA AND THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS HAVE DECIDED TO WALK AWAY FROM THE TABLE INSTEAD OF CONTINUING TO WORK THROUGH THE ISSUES. WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO OUR PART TO REACH A *NEW* CONTRACT THAT REFLECTS TODAY'S ECONOMIC REALITIES IN OUR WIRELINE BUSINESS AND ADDRESSES THE NEEDS OF ALL PARTIES."