Having trouble reaching your Verizon telephone contact today? Could be because he or she, along with 45,000 other workers, went on strike at midnight following failed 11th-hour contract negotiations.

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Verizon claims customers will only experience "limited disruption" due to the strike because manager-level employees and retirees are quickly filling the just-vacated union ranks. The company also claims any cost cutting to its wired workforce leading up to the strike are due to a reduced need for wired services and increased growth in the wireless sector.

Additionally, Verizon noted via a statement that 130,000 of its 196,000 workers cotribute to health care premiums, and that it would like "to bring [its] union more in line with what the rest of the workers pay." Nevertheless, I saw a sea of red outside of my local Verizon store late this morning. The strike is in effect. [Slate]

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