Dan Herbert's drive to work used to take about five minutes round-trip.
Today, he can spend anywhere from 80 minutes to three hours getting to and from his job.
Herbert worked as a cable splicer for Verizon in Pottstown.
"It was super convenient," said Herbert, a Verizon employee for nearly 20 years. "Living that close and having my truck that close, my response time ... was about as close to immediate as you could get."
Last year, the company closed the Pottstown facility and transferred roughly 45 employees to Norristown.
Now, Herbert and others drive from Pottstown to Norristown to pick up company vehicles, drive back to Pottstown to work, later return to Norristown, collect their personal vehicles and head home to Pottstown.
"Every time I get in the truck I'm looking at the gas guage," Herbert said of his personal vehicle.
And the company, since the move, also pays for more fuel and vehicle maintenance, he said of trucks that get eight to 10 mpg.
The distance also means Pottstown customers experience a longer wait for service.
"It increases the response time by a minimum of 30 minutes," he said.
And there are more problems.
Early Monday morning, Herbert and about 200 other Verizon employees protested outside a Verizon business just outside Pottstown.
The workers and about 45,000 others from Massachusetts to Virginia . Verizon wants to cut employee pensions, health care and other benefits, union officials for the workers say.
Richard Sibley also worked at the company's Pottstown garage before Verizon closed it.
"I worked there for 18 years," said Sibley, a Verizon cable splicer and Unit 22 president at CWA Local 13000 which covers Montgomery, Bucks and Chester counties.
The former Pottstown Verizon garage remains for sale and vacant, he said.
Sibley also participated in Monday's protest in Pottstown, where parked cars donned license plates from states as far away as Florida. Sibley said the cars belonged to "strike breakers."
"We were able to see all of the out of state workers," he said.
The company used union workers and "quality labor" to build its network, then brought in the outsiders to fill local Verizon jobs, he said. Sibley also claimed Verizon is paying the substitute workers for expenses including 12-hour shifts, meals, travel and lodging and is touting "smear ads" that claim workers make higher wages than they actually do.
"If that's what we made, we wouldn't be on strike right now," Sibley said.
According to Sibley, the strike symbolizes the struggle many U.S. families face to make ends meet.
"It seems to have become a fight for the middle class in general," he said.
Sibley estimates the company paid roughly $260 million in additional executive compensation over the last three years. He said second quarter reporting, as of June 2011, indicates Verizon made $6.9 billion in profit.
Sibley claims that in addition to a benefits package that includes a corporate jet, the company's CEO, Lowell McAdam, makes about $55,000 per day, 365 days per year.
"I make roughly in a year what he makes in a day," Sibley said.
On Monday afternoon, Lee Gierczynski, Verizon spokesman for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, said a number of issues contribute to the lack of a contract agreement between management and workers.
Verizon's idea to transport Pottstown workers to Norristown is "fairly minor in the grand scheme of things," Gierczynski said.
"If the union has any issues with the past contract, it was a contract they agreed to," he said. "They had avenues to pursue."
A bigger issue includes the $4 billion dollars per year Verizon spends on employee health care, he said.
"Free health care is not sustainable with 'rampant competition,'" Gierczynski said. "The company and the union need to recognize how the world has changed."
The telecommunications industry experienced a "drastic change," he said, and added that 47 million telephone lines have been reduced to 25 million over the last five years.
Gierczynski said 30% of U.S. households are now wireless.
"The union needs to recognize the current state of the economy and work with the company," he said. "The union chose to go on strike."
Verizon trained "tens of thousands" of people to step into "critical areas," he said.
"It's irrelevant" where those workers come from, he said. "Their goal here is to serve customers."
That said, customers are experiencing longer hold times to reach Verizon's call centers and wait longer for repairs, Gierczynski said.
"At this point, we just ask our customers for their patience and understanding as we work through this," he said.
Meanwhile, employees like Herbert say they just want return to work under the same terms they had.
"Not having my salary has really impacted us," Herbert said of his family's income loss due to the strike.
"If [Verizon] had offered us the same contract that just expired, I believe we would have signed this morning and be working tonight."