Verizon workers hit the picket lines

Listen
Verizon gather on Race Street between Ninth and 10th in Philadelphia after walking off the job to join a strike of nearly 40

Verizon gather on Race Street between Ninth and 10th in Philadelphia after walking off the job to join a strike of nearly 40

Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers are on the picket lines up and down the East Coast after walking off the job Wednesday morning. The phone, Internet and cable TV giant is vowing to continue to provide service.  

Tom Romantini of the Communications Workers of America, which represents striking Verizon workers, said the fear of being outsourced or replaced by contractors is the major reason his members are walking a picket line.

“We’re just looking for a good job here in this country,” he said.  “All these corporations, they continually send jobs out  of this country. And they deprive this country of its tax base and of good-paying jobs.”

Verizon just wants the flexibility to move workers around, according to spokesman Ray McConville.

“Let’s say there’s a big job happening in Philadelphia, and we need to bring in some extra people to help out and I have a surplus of technicians in South Jersey,” he said. “The current contract prohibits us from doing that.”

McConville said Verizon is disappointed the union didn’t agree to join the company in talks with a federal mediator.

The strike by close to 39,000 workers in eight states — including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware — comes after the previous contracts expired in August.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.