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As Verizon workers continue to strike, company threatens to suspend health benefits

By NICOLE PITT

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - For two and a half weeks, Verizon workers have been on the picket lines and now the corporation is taking steps to put them back to work.

Verizon is threatening to take away health benefits for all 45,000 workers at the end of this month.

This is not a surprise to those on strike, as union representative's say they knew something like this was in the works.

In order for those on strike to maintain their health insurance, they would have to pay for it on their own - something that's not possible for some.

"It's a huge deal," said Chris Dentrone. "My husband and I both work for Verizon, and now we have nothing. We have no paycheck, no income. We'll have no medical benefits at the end of the month so it's gonna' be a struggle - can't lie about that."

Dentrone says she is not changing her stance in the face of the threat.

"We're definitely committed - not only for us that are on the line now - but for the future," she said. "I mean, I have a 3 year old granddaughter. What kind of future is she gonna' have if we have nothing? You know, there won't be a middle class. I mean, her way of life will be a lot less than we have now and we're just barely middle class."

Verizon and CWA officials are at the table, but neither side is able to say whether a deal is in sight.

Detrone says it's not the workers that are holding up negotiations.

"We're willing to work on anything," she said. "We're willing to go to the table we want to bargain fairly. It's the company that's unwilling to bargain with us."

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