Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)
Verizon Communications Reuters

About 45,000 Verizon Communications workers went on a strike on Sunday, after the company’s negotiation over a new contract with the workers got muddled.

"Verizon has forced us to do this," said Bill Huber, president and business manager for the New Jersey-based IBEW Local 827, as the company is trying to change the terms of contract to allow it to fire workers easily, tie pay increase to job performance, halt pensions and require workers to contribute to health-plan premiums.

Verizon Spokesperson John Bonomo said in a statement on Sunday, the company has trained "tens of thousands" management employees, retirees and others to take on the jobs of union workers. The strike does not affect Verizon’s wireless division.

"We are confident that we have the talent and resources in place to meet the needs and demands of our customers," said Marc Reed, Verizon's executive vice president of human resources.

With people switching over to wireless and the Internet-based phone services, the landline business is facing pressure, Bonomo said.

The strike could affect Verizon’s customer support, as well as halt the expansion of its Fios television service.