THE BRONX - Local Verizon employees say they are prepared to go on strike this weekend if they don?t get a contract that meets their needs.

Workers are demanding that the company negotiate a fair contract with the union before the one they have now expires. Some of the major points workers want addressed in the new contract are payment for health coverage, the elimination of retiree health care coverage for new hires and the elimination of union jobs due to of outsourcing.

The workers held a rally Thursday on Westchester Avenue to help get their point across.

?We want a contract,? Roberto Perez, treasurer of the Communication Workers of America, says. ?There?s no reason for us not to have a contract. If we do not have a contract, we will be on strike Saturday at 12 midnight.?

If the workers do go on strike, customers with Verizon DSL, Fios or landlines could be affected.

?If you make a repair call, our members won?t be there,? says Salvatore Incarbone, CWA vice president of Local 1109 . ?[If you have an] installation scheduled, our people won?t be out. Call for an operator, our people won? t be answering phones.?

If a new contract is not agreed upon by the deadline, as many as 65,000 workers are prepared to go on strike.