September 21, 2012
1 strike, 15 months of bargaining and solidarity later…
AFL-CIO Now reported this week that CWA and IBEW have reached a tentative deal with Verizon that could finally, with membership approval, result in a new contract:
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.
CWA District One Vice President Chris Shelton says the agreement includes concessions by the unions but, by-and-large, is a victory for workers:
“The new contract will require our members to make a modest contribution to the cost of health care premiums for the first time, but they will still be able to choose from the best health care plans in the industry. And new hires will get a 401(k) plan rather than a Defined Benefit Pension. But on every other front, we have beaten back the company’s all-out assault on our contract.”
Highlights of the deal include a significant raise – 8.2% over the next 3 years, signing bonuses and annual corporate profit-sharing (Verizon is extremely profitable), the preservation of job-security language, defined benefit pensions kept for all current employees, and hundreds of new jobs thanks to reduced outsourcing.
IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill said of the deal:
“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.”