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Workers picket in front of the Verizon building in Pittsfield last month after walking off the job due to stalled contract negotiations. The company and union representatives on Friday said they have reached an agreement on a new contract.

NEW YORK >> Striking Verizon employees may be back to work next week after the company and its unions reached an agreement in principle for a four-year contract.

About 39,000 landline and cable employees in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C., have been on strike since April. They had been working without a contract since last August. New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. has about 177,000 employees.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said Friday that the agreement is being written and will be submitted for approval by union members of Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

"I expect that workers will be back on the job next week," Perez said in a statement.

Details of the contract were not disclosed.

Verizon declined to comment.

CWA President Chris Shelton said in a statement that the agreement is "a victory for working families." IBEW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Verizon and the unions have been negotiating at the Department of Labor for the past 13 days, Perez said.

Verizon Communications Inc. shares rose 40 cents to $50.56 in afternoon trading. They are up 2 percent over the past year.