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Thousands Of Striking Verizon Workers Going Back To Work Without Deal

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Verizon Communications Inc. employees picket in front of Verizon headquarters on August 8, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Verizon Communications Inc. employees picket in front of Verizon headquarters on August 8, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Ten of thousands of Verizon workers will return to work Tuesday after a strike that lasted about two weeks.

The Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers issued a statement saying they have agreed to come back to work while they continue to negotiate with Verizon Communications Inc.

“The major issues remain to be discussed, but overall, issues now are focused and narrowed,” the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said in a statement.

Marc Reed, Verizon’s executive vice president of human resources, credited the company’s managers with “ably meeting the needs of our customers” during the 14-day strike. This enabled the company to “withstand the strike without significant disruption to customer service,” he said.

The company said it will “quickly address any backlog in repairs and unfulfilled requests for service.”

About 45,000 Verizon landline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia went on strike on Aug. 7.

The contracts for those employees expired after the company and the workers were unable to come to terms on issues including health care costs and pensions.

Verizon said it wanted to change benefits that date from a time when the telecommunications marketplace was less competitive and landlines were ubiquitous.

Landline business has been in decline for more than a decade as more people switch exclusively to cellphones.

Verizon said it had 25 million landlines at the end of the second quarter, down from 26 million at the end of 2010. It has been selling off some of its landlines to other phone companies.

The striking workers were responsible for maintaining and repairing traditional landlines, as well as installing the company’s fiber-optic FiOS service.

Workers covered by the expired contract also include 10,000 represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who serve as telephone and repair technicians, customer service representatives, operators and more.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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