Dozens of Verizon Communications Inc. workers, on strike since mid-April after contract talks hit an impasse, marched Thursday on the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.
The unions said about 15 protesters blocked traffic after they lay down atop a large banner on the street. The Albuquerque Police Department said no arrests were made, but 15 people were cited.
More than 250 protesters, including workers and supporters, demonstrated at the meeting, where the agenda included an election for 13 directors and a vote on executive compensation.
The unions for the strikers said they also planned hundreds of protests across the United States against Verizon, the No. 1 U.S. wireless service provider.
In Kansas City, a two-hour rally was held at 4153 Sterling Ave. More than 50 supporters were present, representing eight different unions, said a spokesman for the Communications Workers of America.
Nearly 40,000 network technicians and customer service representatives of the company’s Fios Internet, telephone and television service units walked off the job on April 13. The action was called by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
The strike is in its fourth week. Sticking points include offshore call-center jobs, job relocations and health care coverage.
Verizon said last week it had presented an updated and final offer to the unions, including a wage increase of 7.5 percent. The company, which has been scaling back its Fios and legacy landline business, wants workers to shoulder more health care costs and be open to relocating to new jobs.
The union rejected the new proposal, and the parties remain far apart.
The work stoppage at Verizon stretched across several U.S. East Coast states, including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia. Verizon has said it has brought in thousands of temporary workers to avoid service disruptions.
The workers have been without a contract since August. The last contract negotiations in 2011 also led to a strike that ended in two weeks as the parties continued contract negotiations.