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Verizon

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and two unions have extended the deadline for reaching a labor agreement, delaying a planned strike that would have affected 65,000 workers.

The Communications Workers of America said Saturday that because of progress that had been made in bargaining with Verizon for a new contract, it has agreed to "stop the clock" on the deadline. The current contract, which covers 65,000 members of CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers who work for Verizon from Virginia to New England, was set to expire at 12:01 a.m. EDT Sunday.

In an update Monday, the CWA said that negotiations are continuing at 8:30 a.m. EDT after ending at 2 a.m. EDT. One of the main hang-ups in the current negotiations has been health care, according to a report in

The Wall Street Journal

.

A strike would be particularly damaging to Verizon as it moves to offer its FiOS high-speed Internet and television services in New York City, offering substantial competition to

Time Warner Cable

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Shares of Verizon were lately off 0.9% at $33.69. Rival

AT&T

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was tacking on 1.5% to $29.98.

Among cable operators, Time Warner Cable was up 6 cents to $28.91.

Comcast

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shares were falling 0.2%.