Thousands of Verizon workers are preparing to strike

Verizon workers take part in a rally as they negotiate a union contract in New York July 25, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

(Reuters) – Thousands of Verizon Communications workers on the U.S. East Coast were poised to strike on Sunday after the company failed to reach agreement with unions as contract negotiations went to the wire, U.S. media reported on Saturday.

The largest U.S. wireless service provider said on Friday there was little progress in negotiations ahead of Saturday’s expiry of contracts covering almost 40,000 wireline service workers in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C.

The negotiations are continuing, Verizon spokesman Richard Young said on Saturday, according to Bloomberg.

Employees of the wireline business represented by trade unions Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) last week voted to go on strike, if needed.

Verizon said on Friday it is ready in the event of a work stoppage.

The company’s wireline business includes FiOS Internet, telephone and TV services.

Verizon’s plans to cut costs by controlling healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period are at the center of union negotiations.

The company on Friday asked the unions to work with it to make changes to its healthcare and pension benefits, ones that it says would help it compete better in the market.

(Writing by Alden Bentley; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Source: BusinessInsider.com