May 18, 2016 / 12:07 AM / 3 years ago

Verizon, striking unions to continue talks, U.S. Labor Dept. says

Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) picket in front of Verizon Communications Inc. corporate offices during a strike in New York City, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and representatives from two striking unions will continue contract discussions in Washington this week with the help of the U.S. Department of Labor, the regulator said.

The groups during these talks will not make any public statements, nor will there be comments from the federal officials involved, the Labor department said on Tuesday.

About 40,000 network technicians and customer service representatives in the company’s Fios Internet, telephone and television services unit walked off the job in mid-April in the largest U.S. strike in recent years.

The action was called by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Sticking points in contract negotiations had included offshoring call-center jobs, pensions and healthcare coverage.

“I’m encouraged by the parties’ continued commitment to remain at the bargaining table and work toward a resolution,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said on Tuesday.

“We will continue to facilitate conversations to help the unions and the company reach an agreement,” he added.

The company and the unions returned to the negotiating table after a weekend meeting with Perez.

Verizon and the unions could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru and Anna Driver in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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