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Striking Verizon Workers to Return to Work

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Some 45,000 striking Verizon Communications (VZ) employees have agreed to go back to work on Tuesday, even though their unions have yet to nail down new contracts with the telecommunications giant.

The employees will continue working under the terms of their old contracts, which expired on Aug. 6, according to news releases from the company and the unions representing the workers.

In the meantime, Verizon and the unions will continue to hash out new contracts.

Although key issues still need to be resolved, both the company and the unions said they had agreed on a framework for further discussions.

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"We have reached agreement with Verizon on how bargaining will proceed and how it will be restructured," said the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America. "The major issues remain to be discussed, but overall, issues now are focused and narrowed."

Verizon said negotiators had "made headway" on a number of local and regional issues and had agreed on a process for negotiating "the major issues regarding benefits, cost structure, work flexibility and job security."

Verizon said the old contracts will be extended without a specific deadline for new collective bargaining agreements, and the unions said in their statement that the old contracts would be back in force for an "indefinite period," The Wall Street Journal reported that both sides said the contract extension would be for 30 days.

Key issues between the company and its unions include Verizon's desire to freeze pensions and make workers contribute to their health insurance premiums.

The workers, who went on strike on Aug. 7, are in the telecommunication company's landline division, which faces an uncertain future as more consumers choose not to have traditional phone service, relying solely on their wireless phones.

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This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.

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