On first day of strike, Verizon workers get a boost from Sanders, Clinton
April 13, 2016

The first day of a labor strike against Verizon brought national media attention, but the experts say its impacts to customers are likely weeks away.

About 40,000 Verizon employees up and down the East Coast carried out a work stoppage early Wednesday morning that unions had threatened earlier this week. Thousands attended rallies in New York and New Jersey accusing Verizon of shipping jobs overseas, closing down call centers and slashing health and pension benefits.

Verizon said it has offered workers an annual pay raise of 6.5 percent, as well as "competitive" benefits package.

The strikers got a boost from both Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who are campaigning in New York ahead of the Tuesday primary.

"Thank you for your courage in standing up for justice against corporate greed," Sanders told a crowd of strikers in downtown Brooklyn to loud cheers.

Clinton released a statement in support of the workers.

"Verizon should come back to the bargaining table with a fair offer for their workers. To preserve and grow America's middle class, we need to protect good wages and benefits, including retirement security," she said.

She also managed to pick up the endorsement Wednesday of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, one of the umbrella unions, along with Communication Workers of America, that organized the strike.

But Rick Drescher, a telecommunications and data expert with the real estate consultancy firm Savills Studley, said the effects of the strike likely won't be felt until after the political campaigns have left for other states.

"It's likely a matter of time before the backlog affects a lot of people," he said in an interview. "I'd probably give it a few weeks."

On first day of strike, Verizon workers get a boost from Sanders, Clinton

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