Union: ‘Unity and Determination’ Defeated Proposed Verizon Outsourcing

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

Verizon made a handful of concessions – a 10.5 percent wage increase over four years, additional hirings and more job security – in order to get striking wireline workers back to work Wednesday.

Details of the agreement emerged over the holiday weekend after Friday’s announcement that the strike likely was over.

Nearly 40,000 wireline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), have been on strike since April 13.{ad}

The unions will submit the tentative agreements to their members for a ratification vote. If approved, the agreements will run through Aug. 3, 2019.

Candice Johnson, CWA spokesperson, said members will vote on the agreements with their locals. The results will be available in mid-June, she said.

Verizon's Marc ReedEmployees covered by these contracts will receive a 10.5 percent wage increase over the term of the contract. The first increase would come after ratification.

“The new contracts will help ensure that Verizon employees continue to receive solid wages and excellent health-care and retirement benefits,” said Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer. “They also include key changes sought by the company to better position our wireline business for success in the digital world.”

As part of the company’s goal to accelerate growth in wireline broadband, Verizon announced that it will hire additional associates over the term of the contract.

“We’re especially proud of our commitment to 1,400 new hires — high quality and well-paying American jobs,” Reed said.

The tentative agreements include a first contract for nearly 70 Verizon Wireless retail store workers in Brooklyn, New York, and Everett, Massachusetts.

According to the CWA, Verizon will add 1,300 new East Coast call-center jobs and reverse several other outsourcing initiatives that will create new field technician jobs. Also, all call centers that had been threatened with closure in the Mid-Atlantic region will remain open.

Several major contracting initiatives will be reversed, existing job security language will be preserved, all proposed reductions of pensions were withdrawn by the company, and proposed cuts in accident and disability benefits were withdrawn, according to the union.

“After more than six weeks on the picket line, Verizon workers won an excellent new contract that will protect good jobs and preserve our standard of living,” said Dennis Trainor, CWA District One vice president. “The members’ unity and determination defeated company proposals to outsource and contract out work, and the new agreement will create 1,500 new union jobs up and down the East Coast.”

Verizon said it will achieve cost savings and cost avoidance through health-care plan design changes, adopting Medicare Advantage plans for its retirees, maintaining limits on post-retirement health care costs and freezing the mortality table for lump-sum pensions using the GATT rate. Also, the agreements give the telco the ability to offer special buyout incentives to employees.

Verizon and union leaders decided to start talking again after meeting with U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez. The tentative agreements were reached after nearly two weeks of negotiations with a federal mediator.

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