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DeWitt: Verizon employees hold informational picket

For the next two Thursdays, expect to see lots of red shirts outside Verizon Communications (not to be confused with Verizon Wireless) on Thompson Road in DeWitt.

For three hours a day, employees dressed in red T-shirts and wearing signs that read "Every Verizon Job, A Union Job" are holding an informational picket that concerns their contract which is set to expire at midnight Aug. 2.

"Right now, we're bargaining in New York," said Chris Ryan, union president. "Our contract involves about 80,000 Verizon employees from the mid-Atlantic up to Maine."

The contract in question is between The Communications Workers of America and Verizon Communications. It's all encompassing, Ryan said, and includes wages, benefits, Pensions, work rules and so forth.

"One of three things will happen," he said. "Either we'll have a contract before Aug. 2 and all this will be averted, or we will work like we did prior -- five years ago -- without a contract, or [as] we have [done] in years past, is a long history of striking the company. We won't work without a contract."

About 200 employees joined the picket line throughout the day that began July 17. The hours in which it's held are between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. so workers can participate during lunches and breaks.

Ryan emphasized not everyone is at the bargaining table and this act is not a strike: "It's an informational picket only."

A Verizon Communications Community Relations representative could not be reached for comment.

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