Verizon Communications’ wireline employees will go on strike starting Wednesday.
The strike is being triggered because the workers and their unions were unable to reach an agreement on a new labor contract.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions jointly represent nearly 40,000 employees of the wireline business, which includes FiOS Internet, telephone and TV services.
The unions have called for a strike starting at 6 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, unless Verizon reconsidered its stands on yet to be resolved issues.
“Verizon has forced us there … Nobody wants to go on strike,” CWA President Chris Shelton said. “It’s a hardship for our members and our families, it’s a hardship for customers.”
The two sides have been in talks over the company’s plans to cut back on healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period starting in June.
The company’s last agreement with its workers expired in August 2015.
A compromise on healthcare plans has been reached, but a dispute about offshoring call center jobs and pension plans are delaying negotiations.
“We’ve tried to work with union leaders to reach a deal,” said Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer, said in a company statement
Verizon says it has contingency plans in place to continue serving its customers in the event of a strike.
When the two sides met in 2011 a strike was also called and moved forward as they continued to negotiate.
Verizon said the wireline business generated about 29% of its revenue in 2015 but less than 7% of operating income. Wireline workers perform network maintenance duties and also provide customer service at call centers.