PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Gwen Swaney of Point Breeze picks up her phone, but it’s just dead. No dial tone. Nothing.

It’s been that way since lightning struck a tree in front of her home, and she wasn’t pleased when she called Verizon to find out when they might be able to fix the problem. She says she was told maybe August 31st.

“I’m here, can’t call 911 or nothing,” said Swaney. “I’m 81 years old, and I might have an emergency.”

Verizon Spokesperson Lee Gierczynski can’t say how many people in our area may be waiting for landline phone service to be restored for various reasons, but he says the wait is definitely longer than normal.

“We’re seeing three or four times the number of jobs pending that we would typically have on a day like this,” said Gierczynski. He says the problem is the result of 45,000 Verizon workers who have gone on strike.

Managers with previous line repair experience have stepped in during the strike, as well as managers brought here from other states, but it doesn’t add up to the normal workforce.

“So all we ask is for their patience and understanding,” said Gierzczynski.

Swaney, however, has little patience left. Her daughter took her to buy a cell phone, something she never wanted, but she figures she needs it in case there’s an emergency before her landline is fixed.

Communication Workers of America

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