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July 26, 2015

Verizon union authorizes strike if necessary

Negotiations continue over contract that effects 39,000 workers in nine states

Verizon union members in nine states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware say they are prepared to strike if contract negotiations fall through, NBC 4 reported.

A contract that covers 39,000 employees in Verizon’s wireline business will expire on August 1. Disagreements over health care contributions and pensions have created tension, and 86 percent of union workers voted to authorize a strike if necessary.

At a rally in New York City on Saturday, workers held up signs that said things like “We Are People Not Machines” and “Hey Verizon: More Good Jobs, Not Executive Pay.”

According to Bloomberg News, the salary of Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam rose by 16 percent in 2014 to $18.3 million.

"Our members are clear and they are determined. They reject management's harsh concessionary demands," said Dennis Trainor, an official with the Communications Workers of America.

The main unions representing Verizon workers are the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Verizon spokesman John Bonomo told CBS 3, "We want to make sure that our employees continue to get the best benefits possible and a good wage."

However, "It's a tough business these days with a lot of competition, and it's something where we need to manage our costs and manage our workforce."

A previous Verizon worker strike in 2011 lasted two weeks and involved around 45,000 people.