Verizon workers going back to work as contract negotiations continue - KMOV.com

Verizon workers going back to work as contract negotiations continue

NEW YORK (AP) -- Thousands of striking Verizon workers are returning to their jobs today, while union and company negotiators continue to work on a new contract.

Both sides say they have agreed to narrow the issues in dispute, though the talks could still prove contentious. Health care benefits, pensions and work rules are among the issues still on the table.

About 45,000 Verizon employees went on strike on Aug. 7, after their previous contract expired. They work in the company's landline division in nine states from Massachusetts to Virginia.

Verizon says it needs to cut costs in the traditional phone business as more Americans switch to mobile phones. It's proposed freezing its pension plan and switching union workers to its non-union health plan which has higher costs for employees.

The unions say the landline business supports the wireless business, and Verizon can afford to maintain the benefits in the previous contract.

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