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Thousands Of Verizon Workers Rally In Midtown On Sixth Day Of Strike

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Thousands of Verizon workers rallied in Midtown on Monday, six days after walking off the job amid a contract dispute.

The strike involves about 39,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Those rallying Monday say they simply want to keep their wages, benefits and job.

"Verizon is looking to ship jobs overseas to the Philippines and India," one worker told 1010 WINS' Samantha Liebman. "We want to stop that because we think good, middle-class jobs should stay here in America."

Other unions and city officials, including Public Advocate Letitia James, came to show their support.

"The workers here today are just demanding respect and they just want a fair contract," she said.

The workers' latest contract expired in August.

The unions say Verizon wants to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and rely more on contract workers. The telecom giant has said there are health care issues that need to be addressed for retirees and current workers because medical costs have grown and the company also wants "greater flexibility" to manage its workers.

Verizon said in a statement last week that it had activated its business continuity plans "as customer service remains the company's top priority."

Employees from other departments across the U.S. were being sent to replace the striking workers, the company said.

In August 2011, about 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike for about two weeks.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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