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Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers go on strike Wednesday

Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers walked off their jobs Wednesday, union officials said.

Workers from Massachusetts to Virginia began their strike at 6:00 a.m. ET, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) said in a statement.

"Our families and our customers deserve more from Verizon," said Isaac Collazo, a technician and CWA member who has worked at Verizon for 19 years.

"Through our hard work, Verizon is making record profits while our families are left with threats to our jobs and our customers aren't getting the service they need. Striking is a hardship for our families, but we need to remind Verizon executives that the people who build their profits are a critical reason for the company's success.

The statement didn't specify how long the workers will be on strike.

Verizon chief administrative officer Marc Reed said the company is prepared for the strike, according to The Washington Post.

He said that in the last four contract cycles, there had been a work stoppage 50 percent of the time, the newspaper reported.

"It's regrettable that union leaders have called a strike, a move that hurts all of our employees," said Marc Reed, Verizon's chief administrative officer, said in a statement. "Since last June, we've worked diligently to try and reach agreements that would be good for our employees, good for our customers and make the wireline business more successful now and in the future. Unfortunately, union leaders have their own agenda rooted in the past and are ignoring today's digital realities. Calling a strike benefits no one, and brings us no closer to resolution."

Reed added: "The CWA president, Chris Shelton, claims that they have tried "everything" to get a path to a contract, but their failure to agree to FMCS mediation suggests otherwise."