BOSTON (CBS/AP) — For the first time in several weeks, there was no picket line outside of Verizon’s Bowdoin Street offices in Boston on Friday.

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.

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About 39,000 Verizon Communications Inc. landline and cable employees in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C., have been on strike since mid-April. 5,000 of the employees are in Massachusetts.

They had been working without a contract since last August.

Verizon workers on the picket line outside the Verizon Building in Bowdoin Square in downtown Boston Wednesday. (WBZ-TV)

Verizon workers on the picket line outside the Verizon Building in Bowdoin Square in downtown Boston Wednesday. (WBZ-TV)

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says the agreement is being written now and will be submitted for approval from union members of Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The strike started when Verizon was looking to freeze pensions, make layoffs easier and farm work out to overseas contractors.

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Workers are hearing they’ve won on all fronts, but they aren’t celebrating just yet.

“You don’t know how long it’s going to go on,” worker Rob Drummey told WBZ. “You hope everything can get resolved. All we’re trying to do is maintain what we already have.”

On Friday afternoon, Verizon released a statement, saying, “Verizon is very pleased with this ‘agreement in principle.’ The agreement is consistent with our objective of creating high quality American jobs and achieving meaningful changes and enhancements to the contracts that will better enable our wireline business unit to compete and succeed in the digital world.”

The company also notes that they’ve reached an agreement in principle on contracts for about 165 Verizon Wireless employees.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod contributed to this report.

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