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Verizon, Unions Reach Tentative Deal In Contract Dispute

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Verizon and union officials have reached a deal in principle for a four-year contract.

The agreement is being written now and the proposal will be sent to the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for ratification, said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. Workers are expected to be back on the job next week

"Throughout the past 13 days of negotiations at the Department of Labor, I have observed firsthand the parties' good faith commitment to narrowing differences and forging an agreement that helps workers and the company," Perez said in a statement. "The parties have a shared interest in the success of Verizon and its dedicated workforce. Indeed, these two interests are inextricably intertwined."

About 39,000 landline and cable workers walked off the job on April 13 in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C.

The two striking unions represent installers, customer service employees, repairmen and other service workers in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., for Verizon's wireline business, which provides fixed-line phone services and FiOS Internet service.

Employees had been working without a contract since August.

The unions have said they were striking because Verizon wanted to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and rely more on contract workers.

During negotiations, the telecom giant had said there were health care issues that need to be addressed for both retirees and workers as medical costs have grown.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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