This story has been updated.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The nation's largest strike in recent memory is now underway as a union representing about 40,000 Verizon line workers was unable to reach an agreement with the broadband and telecommunications giant.
About 1,500 unionized Verizon line workers, installers, customer service representatives and repairmen are affected in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. Smart-phone customers should not be affected by the strike, Verizon said.
Workers walked out at 6 a.m. Wednesday. About 600 of the CWA union workers were expected to stage a morning protest outside Verizon offices at 111 Main St. in White Plains.
Dozens of union workers have been holding informational pickets in Mohegan Lake, Hartsdale, Port Chester and outside other local Verizon stores since Aug. 2, when their contract expired.
In an earlier interview with Daily Voice, Anthony Pugliese, vice president for Local 1103 of the Communications Workers of America AFL-CIO , said, "It's all about preserving good middle-class jobs."
Pugliese said the CWA has been in bargaining talks since June 22 with Verizon management.
“We’re standing up for working families and standing up to Verizon’s corporate greed,” said CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor.
Even though Verizon made $39 billion in profits over the last three years — and $1.8 billion a month in profits over the first three months of 2016 — the company wants to gut job security protections, contract out more work, offshore jobs to Mexico, the Philippines and other locations and require technicians to work away from home for as long as two months without seeing their families, according to CWA officers.
"More and more, Americans are outraged by what some of the nation’s wealthiest corporations have done to working people over the last 30 years, and Verizon is becoming the poster child for everything that people in this country are angry about,” said Edward Mooney, vice president of CWA District 2-13.
A company spokesman could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Last month, 20 U.S. Senators sent a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam calling on him to “act as a responsible corporate citizen and negotiate a fair contract with the employees who make your company’s success possible.”
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