The Communications Workers of America's labor contract between 11,000 workers and AT&T expires at midnight on Decenber 10th. The union is concerned over AT&T's proposals to reduce or eliminate retiree health benefits.

AT&T said it was optimistic about reaching an agreement before the contract expires and said, "We are in daily negotiations with the CWA and remain optimistic that a fair settlement can be reached."

"The parties are still far apart on a number of important issues," said CWA Vice President Ralph Maly. If a strike is called it won't affect recently merged SBC Communications workers even though the combined company is known as AT&T Inc.