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Verizon offers buyouts to 1,700

Phone company Verizon Communications Inc. is offering buyouts to 1,700 workers, mainly call-center employees and technicians, as it continues to shrink its wireline business.

It's unclear how it will impact Verizon's local workforce. The volunteer offer is being extended to certain levels and grades of employees, said John Bonomo, a Verizon spokesman.

"I can't say specifically about the Buffalo area. I can't say if at all that it'll be offered in the Buffalo area," he said.

Verizon employs more than 1,000 in the Buffalo area.

The offer applies to less than 1 percent of Verizon's overall workforce of 191,800 as of the end March and about 2 percent of its wireline workforce.

Verizon is cutting its wireline costs as households cancel their phone lines, opting to go to competitors or to rely on cellphones.

Verizon has been offering a series of buyouts. In 2010, it says, 12,000 employees accepted such offers.

The latest offers went out last week, and Verizon spokesman Rich Young says the target is to have employees leave in the first weeks of July. If not enough people accept the buyouts, he says layoffs are a possibility.