Update: WME-a-culpa: the below story is about Verizon Telecom, not Verizon Wireless. Bob writes in to let us know that Verizon Wireless is actually almost completely non-union and thus not involved with Verizon's labor problems. In fact, the two companies don't actually have all that much to do with each other. So Verizon Wireless customers: move along, nothing to see here. Verizon Telecom customers, read on.

The question “Can you hear me know?” may have a different answer for Verizon customers in the coming days. A strike by 65,000 union workers for the communications provider is looming if a labor contract is not agreed upon by midnight Saturday.

According to various news sources including the Syracuse.com and the Boston Globe major unresolved issue between the unions and Verizon is the preservation of jobs and health care. According to reports, Verizon has been outsourcing jobs to other countries. Adding 1.5 million subscribers is all well and good, but it's not too helpful if there aren't employees around to support them.

The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers have members who are involved in installation and maintenance of the Verizon Network. Verizon, one the country's largest providers of communications services, earned $5.52 billion last year, down from $6.2 billion in 2006. A company spokesperson informed Syracuse.com that a contingency plan is in place should a strike occurs but would not go into detail what those plans are.

A similar strike occurred in 2000 resulting in a backlog of phone repairs and installations nationwide.