Verizon landline phone, cable workers walk off job

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NEW YORK (AP) — Tens of thousands of Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast have walked off the job after working without a contract since August.

The strike Wednesday morning involves about 39,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in nine eastern states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as Washington, D.C.

Verizon spokesperson Kevin King says about 800 Rhode Island workers are on strike.

The unions say they’re striking because Verizon wants to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and rely more on contract workers.

The telecom giant has said there are health care issues that need to be addressed for both retirees and workers as medical costs have grown.

Verizon Communications Inc. says it has trained thousands of non-union employees to fill in during the strike.

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