The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the Electrical Workers (IBEW) have reached a tentative contract agreement with Verizon. The two unions and Verizon had been in federal mediation since July.
The union bargaining teams credited the mobilization of tens of thousands of members and allies throughout the labor and progressive communities for making a big difference in the negotiations.
The 34,000 CWA members and 6,500 IBEW members work at Verizon operations along the East Coast. Chris Shelton, vice president for CWA District One, said the workers:
stood up to the most sweeping and intensive attack on our standard of living and bargaining rights in the history of the telecommunications industry.
IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill says:
In this tough economic climate, with many politicians and CEOs preaching more and more austerity for the middle class, working families at Verizon stood strong and stuck together to get the best possible agreement....We don’t agree with everything in it, but it allows us to move forward and continue to fight for good middle-class jobs at Verizon in the years to come.
Highlights of the new agreement include preservation of:
- The existing job security language, including a prohibition on layoffs of workers hired before 2003 and restrictions on the company’s right to relocate work out of the region.
- The contract, which restricts the company’s right to reassign workers long distances from their homes.
- The existing defined-benefit pension plan for all current employees.
The workers at Verizon Wireless negotiated a contract containing no concessions and substantial wage increases.
Additional details of the agreement are being withheld until local unions have an opportunity to present them to members in meetings and at work locations over the next several days. Specifics of the ratification process have not been finalized, but voting will take approximately one month to complete.
Also, a new contract has been negotiated between Verizon Wireless and 70 CWA-represented technicians who maintain cell sites in the metropolitan New York area.
IBEW and Verizon are still finalizing details of a separate agreement covering nearly 6,000 members in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.