Striking Verizon Workers Rally Downtown
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Verizon workers nationwide are on strike, including roughly 12,000 local employees.
The walkout began over the weekend after negotiations failed.
A large protest was held at 8 a.m. outside of Verizon’s downtown headquarters.
Seventh Avenue and William Penn Place were turned into a raging sea of red.
“We have to ask the question, ‘When is enough, enough?’ They are trying to make their money on our backs. This is nothing but pure and simple corporate greed,” Union Negotiator Sandy Kmetyk said.
The gathering spilled into the streets at times. Striking workers also made it difficult for people trying to enter the building by blocking their paths.
At one point, a Verizon service van was surrounded by angry strikers.
“They’re asking us to take a $300 a week pay cut. And then on top of that, pay another $300 a month in benefits. That puts us on welfare,” Bob Annan said.
The key issues are wages and benefits. The company is asking for concession, while the union says Verizon is making record profits.
Kmetyk: There was no bargaining that took place at that table, only demands by them. They wouldn’t move. We’ve offered solutions.
Ross Guidotti: How long are you prepared to sit out?
Kmetyk: As long as it takes. One day longer than they are.
The company released a statement which said, “It is regrettable that the unions 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.”
Currently there are 45,000 workers on strike and 10,000 managers attempting to do their jobs.