Thousands of striking workers in Verizon Communication Inc.'s landline division joined picket lines and rallies Monday at company offices from Massachusetts to Virginia, a union official said.
The contract for 45,000 employees expired at midnight Saturday after the company and the workers were unable to come to terms on issues including health care costs and pensions. The dispute does not affect the wireless division at Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier.
In Altoona, striking workers remained on the picket lines outside Verizon Communications Inc.'s office on 16th Street.
"We haven't heard of anything (new); it is status quo. We will stay out as long as it takes for the company to get back to the table," said Paul Malone, a member of the Communication Workers of America Local 13000. "The two sides are pretty far apart."
About 100 of the striking employees are from this area.
The striking workers are responsible for maintaining and repairing traditional landlines, as well as installing the company's fiber-optic FiOS service, said CWA spokesman Robert Master.
Verizon spokesman Richard Young said thousands of managers have been sent to help work in the affected states.
"We've been preparing for a strike or other adverse job action for many months. We always knew a strike was a possibility," Young said. "We're 100 percent prepared. We're confident in our ability to continue to provide the best possible customer service."
He said Verizon has trained tens of thousands of managers for the past several months.
Workers covered by the expired contract also include 10,000 represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who serve as telephone and repair technicians, customer service representatives, operators and more.
The most recent strike by Verizon workers was an 18-day work stoppage between Aug. 6-23, 2000.