About 85,000 telephone operators at Verizon Communications went on strike, although a new contract, submitted by the company for negotiation, was on the table. Verizon, which was created by the merger of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. and is the nation's No. 1 local telephone company, vowed to continue its regular service with only a few delays. Union leaders said Verizon's latest contract offer addresses many of their concerns, including job security and forced overtime, but they promised to negotiate further in hope of winning more organizing power in the company's wireless business. Analysts argue such gains could have major implications for that sector, which is largely staffed by non-union workers.
Britain's second largest cable operator, Telewest, is a bid target, according to a published report. London's Sunday Telegraph said a US equity firm, Callahan Associates, has made an offer worth up to $9 billion. Analysts have said Callahan is working to create a network of European cable broadcasters. But the Telegraph reported Telewest's main competitor, NTL, also may launch a takeover bid, aiming to bolster its strength in the digital TV market.
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