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Verizon faces 65,000 worker walkout

Contract talks stalled

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Mega American telco Verizon Communications is just three days from a possible union strike that would see the company lose 65,000 employees - about a third of its workforce.

As reported by The Associated Press, two unions tied to Verizon - the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers - have threatened a strike if negotiations for a new labor contract aren't concluded by Sunday night, August 11. Verizon's old contract with the unions was set to expire last Sunday, but union leaders extended the deadline the night before, after some progress at the bargaining table.

But now, the unions say, talks have slowed. According to a statement from the Communications Workers of America, key issues include "permanent, quality jobs at Verizon and other job issues, health care and retirement security, a fair wage settlement and others."

If an agreement isn't reached by midnight Sunday, the unions insist, the old contract will expire, and union leaders will set a strike date after a chat with the bargaining committees.

Verizon did not respond to our request for comment. But a spokesman told The AP the company was "very surprised" by the new deadline. "We and the union leadership have been making consistent progress and have resolved most of the important issues," he said. "Verizon is committed to continue negotiating as long as it takes to complete the process."

The two unions represent the folks that actually lay down Verzion's phone and broadband lines. So a strike could delay the telco's plans to replace its copper with brand new optical fiber. ®

Update

Verizon has responded, tossing us the same statement it tossed The AP.

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