The Latest: Bernie Sanders joins Verizon picket line in NYC

AP News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2016 12:24 PM
The Latest: Bernie Sanders joins Verizon picket line in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on a strike by tens of thousands of Verizon landline and cable workers whose contract expired in August (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is offering support and praise to Verizon workers who walked off their jobs up and down the East Coast.

Sanders joined a picket line in Brooklyn on Wednesday and said the workers were displaying courage by standing up to the telecommunications giant. He told the strikers "I know your families are going to pay a price." And he promised them, "We're going to win this thing!"

Sanders' rival, Hillary Clinton, issued a statement earlier saying Verizon "should come back to the bargaining table with a fair offer for their workers."

About 39,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers went on strike Wednesday morning in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C.

The workers say they have been without a contract since August and negotiations have stalled.

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9:40 a.m.

About a hundred Verizon workers are taking to the streets near the company's offices in Philadelphia, chanting "Scabs, go home!" at non-union replacement workers.

About 2,000 Verizon landline and cable workers are on strike in the Philadelphia area, joining the 39,000 workers up and down the East Coast who walked off the job Wednesday.

The workers are lobbying for job security, fair wages and keeping jobs from going overseas. Their contract expired in August.

Karen Lane, of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union local tells WPVI-TV: "We can't keep sending these good, middle-class, paying jobs overseas."

A stretch of Race Street, in the city's Chinatown section, is closed to accommodate the rally.

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7:15 a.m.

Mike Panzerino, a treasurer of CWA Local 1118, says between 300 and 400 union members walked a picket line outside the company's office in downtown Albany, where workers set up an inflatable "greedy pig" and rat.

About 39,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C. went on strike Wednesday morning.

Panzerino says "We're tired of fighting with the company. All we're asking for is a fair contract and they don't want to give it to us."

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6:40 a.m.

A spokesman for Verizon says the company is very disappointed that union leadership has called a strike.

Spokesman Rich Young says Verizon has been trying to work with union leadership for the past few months to come up with a fair contract. He says "unfortunately, they have been unwilling to negotiate in good faith and have now called this job action."

About 39,000 workers walked out Wednesday morning.

Young says Verizon has trained thousands of non-union workers to fill in for the striking workers.

He says "we will be there for our customers."

Young says the unions' talk about offshoring jobs and cutting jobs is "absolute nonsense. These contracts have provisions that were put in place decades ago. They need to be modernized. They need to take a look at where the business stands in 2016."

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6:05 a.m.

Tens of thousands of Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast have walked off the job after working without a contract since August.

The strike Wednesday morning involves about 39,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C.

The unions say they're striking because Verizon wants to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and rely more on contract workers.

The telecom giant has said there are health care issues that need to be addressed for both retirees and workers as medical costs have grown.

Verizon Communications Inc. says it has trained thousands of non-union employees to fill in during the strike.

The last Verizon strike was in 2011 and lasted for two weeks.

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1 a.m.

About 39,000 Verizon landline and cable workers in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C., are expected to walk off the job after working without a contract since August.

The workers, members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, plan to strike Wednesday morning. They have said contract negotiations have been unsuccessful.

The unions say Verizon wants to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and rely more on contract workers.

The telecom giant has said there are health care issues that need to be addressed for both retirees and workers as medical costs have grown.

Verizon Communications Inc., says it has trained thousands of non-union employees to fill in if the strike takes place,

The last Verizon strike was in 2011 and lasted for two weeks.

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Associated Press writers Chris Carola in Albany, New York, and Ula Ilnytzky in New York contributed to this report.