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Verizon and Unions Resume Talks

Verizon workers stay on the job as unions and the company recess, then reconvene talks Sunday morning.
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Updated from 12:17 a.m. EDT

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Verizon

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and two of its unions reconvened contract talks Sunday as workers stayed on their jobs past a 12:01 a.m. EDT strike deadline.

Representatives of the Communication Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the company met again at 10 a.m. EDT after a recess in talks was called by federal mediator Peter Hurtgen, according to a statement from the CWA.Late Sunday night the unions told their 78,000 Verizon members to report to work Sunday. Union leaders continued to call off the strike for the time being after deciding enough progress had been made toward a new contract.

The main sticking points are Verizon's flexibility in layoffs and demands that workers pay a portion of health-care benefits.

The CWA and IBEW represent more than a third of the 224,000 employees of Verizon, the largest local and wireless carrier in the country. According to reports, the unions were telling employees to prepare to go to work Sunday.

Verizon's spokesman said it has trained 30,000 managers to help in the event of a strike and has vowed to keep service going. But the company also said that new service and repair calls might be delayed. An 18-day strike in 2000 resulted in a backlog of 250,000 new service and repair calls.