Verizon and unions continue talks
(08/03/03) WASHINGTON - The strike deadline passed at midnight, but union and Verizon officials continued to hold talks on Sunday in hopes of reaching an agreement.
Even though their three-year contract expired, Verizon employees from Maine to Virginia reported to work as scheduled.
Some of the central issues are how future layoffs will be dealt with, and whether laid off Verizon employees can take jobs in other divisions of the company.
A union spokesman said that job security is a major issue. According to union officials, the talks are continuing because they are making progress.
An official for Verizon said that "making progress and having an agreement are two different things." The spokesman said Verizon wants to make a deal with its workers as soon as possible.
Verizon Communications is the largest provider of local and wireless telephone service in the United States.
About 78,000 employees are being represented by two unions in negotiations with Verizon.