THE BRONX - Local officials and employees of Verizon are fighting a move by the telecommunications giant to transplant 300 workers from a building on Westchester Avenue to one in Queens.

The union workers say the deal has been in the works for some time, but argue that Verizon has not disclosed who is bidding to buy the building at 2510 Westchester Ave.

"We've been good tenants here for over 40 years," says Robert Shannon, vice president of Local 1105 of the Communications Workers of America. "We shop and live in the area and we want to stay here."

Local merchants, who are leery of who might move into the building, say the move could potentially mean less business for them.

"By taking 300 people out, it hurts the economy here," says John Bonizio, of the local merchants association. "And Verizon is also not being very forthcoming about what they intend to do with this building."

The merchants group says they hope Verizon sells the building to a department store, which would bring business to the area.

Efforts to reach Verizon for comments about the issue were unsuccessful.