NEW YORK - (AP) - Forty-five thousand Verizon Communications Inc.workers from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., went on strikeSunday after negotiations fizzled over a new labor contract formore than a fifth of the company's work force.

Verizon is the nation's largest wireless carrier, but thecontract that expired at midnight Saturday covers workers in thecompany's wireline division, which includes landline operations,services for businesses and governments and long-haul wholesaletraffic.

Talks in Philadelphia and New York stalled Saturday night afterVerizon continued to demand more than 100 concessions from workersregarding health care, pensions and work rules, said theCommunications Workers of America.

CWA workers picketed at Verizon headquarters in New York City onSunday morning, wearing red and holding signs with messagesincluding "CWA on strike for middle-class jobs."