Verizon reaches deal with striking unions, Labor officials say

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NEW YORK (AP) — Striking Verizon employees may be back to work next week after the company and its unions reached an agreement in principle for a four-year contract.

About 39,000 landline and cable employees in nine eastern states and the District of.Columbia struck the telephone and cable-television service provider in April. Members of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers had been working without a contract since August.

Locally, the strike was marked by disruptive picketing outside area hotels where replacement workers were housed. The demonstrations of support for the strike got so out of hand that the National Labor Relations Board sought a court order to force an end to the picketing, citing “unlawful conduct” and complaints from hotel guests.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said Friday that the tentative agreement is being written up and will be submitted for approval by union members within days.

“I expect that workers will be back on the job next week,” Perez said in a statement. He praised both sides for working together to reach a deal.

“The parties have a shared interest in the success of Verizon and its dedicated workforce,” Pedrez said. “Indeed, these two interests are inextricably intertwined.”

Verizon and the unions have been negotiating at the Labor Department for the past 13 days, Perez said.

New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. has about 177,000 employees.