40,000 Verizon union workers go on strike

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Nearly 40,000 Verizon Communications workers walked off the job on Wednesday (April 13), one of the largest US union strikes in recent years.

The striking wireline workers include customer service and network technicians in the company's traditional wireline phone operations.

The key issues- retirement and healthcare benefits.

"We're trying to keep the company from taking back things that we rightfully gained through previous contracts that we fought for that should be ours, you know, medical benefits, the right to work," said Ms Gail Rodgers, a Verizon worker.

But those benefits may be at risk, according to Maglan Capital president David Tawil.

"Once upon a time those very robust benefits that may have been promised may no longer be feasible for the company to afford to pay on a go forward basis and so therefore those benefits may need to be compromised and renegotiated."

Shares of Verizon were down slightly.

The strike could impact Verizon's Fios internet, phone and TV services across several states but does not include the wireless business.

The wireline business represents less than 7 per cent of the company's operating income. Verizon has been shifting its focus to the wireless business, mobile video and advertising.