ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – More than 12,000 local Verizon workers have joined other union workers in a nationwide strike against Verizon.

The walkout began at midnight last night, after 11th hour negotiations failed.

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On Sunday, local workers were picketing a Verizon Call Center in Robinson Township, and the Verizon building on Seventh Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh.

The strikers are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

“Health care is a very big issue in this strike. [Verizon] is trying to increase all the employee payments – both deductions, and premiums,” Secretary Treasurer of CWA Local 13500 in Pittsburgh, Kate McTighe said.

Another union member, John Vognovic, on the picket line downtown said, “The company is attacking everything – including wages, pensions, and disability and sickness benefits.”

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A Verizon spokesman said it was regrettable that the unions walked away from the bargaining table, instead of continuing to work through the issues.

The company has said they will continue to do their part, to reach a new contract that reflects today’s economic realities.

Verizon wants to cut costs in its wired services including FiOS, call centers and repair centers.

In the first six months of 2011, Verizon said it made $6.9 billion. That is why union workers said the company should not be asking for these concessions.


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