• The Verizon logo is shown in the image

The Verizon logo is shown in the image (Photo : Reuters)

Verizon has five days to iron out differences with unions representing 39,000 workers of Verizon. About 86 percent of employees of the giant phone and internet service provider in the U.S. spread in nine states favor a strike, if necessary.

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The employment contracts of the Verizon workers lapse on midnight of August 1. These are Verizon staff in the company's wire-line business spread who are spread in Washington, DC, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut. The unions Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represent them, reports The Washington Post.

The CWA said the Verizon workers made the decision in a rally in New York on Saturday. The dispute is over sharp hikes in employee healthcare contributions and pension concessions, reports Sentinel Republic.

Rich Young, spokesman of Verizon, said the company has offered the union "a solid proposal that recognizes the changing communications landscape and offers a path toward success."

Young said some parts of the contract were dated by more than a decade and has lost its relevance in the telecom industry which is reeling from structural changes and pressure. In view of the threat of a strike, Verizon is training non-unionized workers to take over additional roles to ensure services are not disrupted if the unionized staff would walk off their jobs.

The spokesman criticized Verizon's "Union rallies and strike authorization votes" for being "useless distractions that achieve nothing."