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Local Verizon workers join employees across nation hitting picket lines

By PAT BAILEY

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Thousands of Verizon workers nationwide have joined hundreds here in New York on the picket lines.

The employees' contract ran out on Saturday, but beforehand the workers had stated they would strike if there wasn't a new contract drafted. Monday marked Day Two of that strike for Verizon workers.

Nationwide there are thousands of employees walking the picket lines, with roughly 250-300 here in the Mohawk Valley striking.

On Monday morning in Herkimer, the workers were back out with their signs and Union Steward Mark O'Sullivan saying a multi-billion dollar company such as Verizon is trying to take away 50 years of agreements from the union, and they will not stand for it.

"They're not really recognizing any of the contracts that they have won, things like medical coverage and pension," O'Sullivan said. "The company wants to renegotiate everything without terms to present to the union. The bargaining stopped when there were no specifics."

O'Sullivan says the Verizon workers only want to keep what was in the newly expired contract, saying they don't want anything more.

He says above that, employees want to keep middle class people at work so they can help the local economy.

A spokesman for Verizon said Monday that the company has hired back retired employees and taught managers how to do the jobs of those striking, so that business may go on as usual.

When asked how long he expects the strike to last, the Verizon spokesman said "You'll have to ask them (the workers), they are the ones who are doing it."

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