Provides New Union Jobs, Protects Health Care for Active and
Retired Workers, Boosts Wages, Pensions for 65,000
Monday, August 11, 2008
Washington, D.C. -- A new tentative three-year contract
settlement with Verizon achieves union employees' major goals of
promoting union jobs and expanding bargaining rights, providing
good health care for both active and retired workers, and
increasing wages and pensions for 65,000 workers from Virginia
to Maine, the Communications Workers of America and
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reported.
In a breakthrough agreement, Verizon will extend union
recognition to 600 former MCI technicians at Verizon Business
who have been seeking representation for nearly two years.
These workers, who perform the same jobs as the union workforce,
have received strong support from CWA and IBEW members in a
campaign to "tear down the wall" between union and non-union
sectors at Verizon. The agreement also includes new
opportunities for union workers to provide customer support and
service at Verizon Business.
The tentative settlement also eliminates subcontracting of work
in a number of job areas, converts many temporary jobs to
permanent and brings additional jobs associated with Verizon's
cutting edge FiOS technology into the union bargaining units.
Overall, the settlement should create 2,500 new union jobs.
Verizon and the unions have agreed to meet regularly during the
course of the new agreement to review technological and business
developments affecting employment, which will allow the company
to stay current with business opportunities while also insuring
that the unions are able to continue to represent employees as
the business environment changes.
The issue of health costs and benefits was a major focus of the
talks, as it has been in contract negotiations in virtually
every industry. The settlement preserves fully-paid health
care premiums for all active and retired employees. Future
hires will have a defined contribution formula for retirement
health care with the amount of Verizon's contributions subject
to negotiation in each subsequent contract.
In addition, Verizon agreed to work with the unions in a joint
effort to achieve meaningful health care reform. The company
will provide funding of $2 million per year to the project.
The settlement calls for wage increases totaling 10.87 percent
compounded over the three-year contract term. COLA (cost
of living adjustment) language remains in the contract.
Pension bands also will be increased by 10.87 percent compounded
over the term of the agreement.
The settlement also provides for a streamlined grievance dispute
resolution system which will speed up a process that has been
taking as long as three years to complete.
"This is a breakthrough agreement in many ways," said CWA
President Larry Cohen. "It creates new union jobs
including major growth areas like FiOS, it takes a big step
forward on health care and it brings hundreds of Verizon
Business employees the union rights they deserve. We
applaud management for agreeing to keep the best health coverage
in America and for
their commitment to work with us for real health care reform.
This settlement provides a framework for growth at Verizon and a
good standard of living with careers for our members."
"This agreement is a tribute to the solidarity and activism of
IBEW and CWA members working at Verizon," said IBEW President Ed
Hill. "Our members mobilized strong and negotiated hard
for a good contract that will benefit workers and their families
now and in the future. We congratulate union and company
negotiators for finding solid common ground upon which we can
build a better Verizon. With this agreement we have met
our goals to protect the retirees who helped build this company
and have negotiated important provisions that will ensure future
jobs for union members."
CWA represents 50,000 workers at Verizon and IBEW represents
another 15,000 in the northeast.