Some Verizon workers are now on strike

At issue in this dispute: The concessions-laden contract Verizon wants the striking Communication Workers of America to accept. The Associated Press reports that:

Forty-five thousand Verizon Communications Inc. workers from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., went on strike Sunday after negotiations fizzled over a new labor contract for more than a fifth of the company’s work force.

Verizon is the nation’s largest wireless carrier, but the contract that expired at midnight Saturday covers workers in the company’s wireline division, which includes local-phone operations, services for businesses and governments and long-haul wholesale traffic.

Talks in Philadelphia and New York stalled Saturday night after Verizon continued to demand more than 100 concessions from workers regarding health care, pensions and work rules, said the Communications Workers of America.

Mark C. Reed, Verizon’s executive vice president of human resources, called the outcome of the unions’ actions “regrettable” for customers and employees.

“We will continue to do our part to reach a new contract that reflects today’s economic realities in our wireline business and addresses the needs of all parties,” he said in a statement.