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Verizon, 2 unions haggle over overtime, job security

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WASHINGTON — Verizon Communications and two telephone unions wrestled over required overtime and job security Saturday as they sought to reach a contract that would end a week-old strike in Eastern states.

Communications Workers of America, the larger of the two striking unions, reported little progress Saturday afternoon on points it said were most critical to its members: forced overtime, the shifting of work to cheaper areas and what the unions call oppressively stressful conditions for customer service representatives.

"If the company comes ready to work these out, we can reach a settlement," said CWA spokesman Candice Johnson. She said unrealistic call quotas and sales objectives have put undue pressure on employees.