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Verizon Strike: Tentative Agreement Reached

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Edward Gately**Editor’s Note: Click here to view our timeline of events in the battle between Verizon and its unions.**

After more than six weeks, the tumultuous Verizon wireline workers strike appears to be coming to an end, with the nearly 40,000 workers likely back on the job next week.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas PerezU.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez issued the following statement Friday regarding the ongoing labor dispute between the carrier and unions CWA and IBEW.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute between Verizon’s workers, unions and management. The parties are now working to reduce the agreement to writing, after which the proposal will be submitted to CWA and IBEW union members for ratification.”

According to the CWA, Verizon has agreed to additional “good union jobs” on the East Coast, a first union contract for retail wireless workers and improvements to workers’ “overall standard of living.”

Perez said that during the nearly two weeks of negotiations with a federal mediator, “I have observed firsthand the parties’ good faith commitment to narrowing differences and forging an agreement that helps workers and the company.”{ad}

“The parties have a shared interest in the success of Verizon and its dedicated workforce,” he said. “Indeed, these two interests are inextricably intertwined. This tentative resolution is a testament to the power of collective bargaining. I commend the leadership of Verizon, CWA and IBEW for their commitment to resolving these difficult issues in the spirit of constructive engagement. I expect that workers will be back on the job next week.”

Chris Shelton, CWA president, said the “addition of new, middle-class jobs at Verizon is a huge win not just for striking workers, but for our communities and our country as a whole.” He also said the agreement in principle is a “victory for …

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… working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people.”

“This proves that when we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and protect the American middle class,” he said.

Verizon issued a similar statement.

“Verizon is very pleased with this ‘agreement in principle,'” said Marc Reed, the carrier’s chief administrative officer. “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.”

In addition, the company reached an “agreement in principle” on contracts for about 165 Verizon Wireless employees.

“In the meantime, we look forward to having all of our employees soon back at work in their regular positions and doing what they do best – serving our customers,” Reed added.

Nearly 40,000 members of the CWA and IBEW have been on strike since April 13 from Massachusetts to Virginia. Late last month, union leaders rejected Verizon’s “last, best final offer,” in which the telco upped its wage increase offer from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent over the term of the contract.

Expect more contract details to emerge after the holiday weekend.


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