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Verizon offers striking workers 'final offer'

Verizon CommunicationsInc. has offered an updated proposal to leaders from unions representingthousands of striking Verizon employees in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

The unions, Communications Workers of America and the InternationalBrotherhood of Electrical Workers, have rejected the proposal.

The carrier said April 28 that the proposal was its "last,best and final offer," and included a wage increase of 7.5% over the term ofthe contract. Also included were layoff protection, retirement benefits and healthcare,the company said.

Responding to the offer, IBEW said that while it welcomes higherwages and some other changes, the company has failed to offer job security, andis still looking to reduce disability benefits and freeze pension accruals at 30years. CWA said that the Verizon executives refused to withdraw proposals that wouldharm its employees including outsourcing work and the company needs to "getserious" about the negotiations.

Thousands of workers represented by CWA and IBEW went on April 13 after the partiesfailed to reach an agreement. According to Verizon, as of April 28, more than 1,000of the union-represented workers have returned to work and the strike only minimallyimpacted its operations.