updated 07:40 pm EDT, Wed September 19, 2012
Deal a result of 2011 two-week strike, ending in federal involvement
Verizon and assorted unions representing 43,000 wireline employees have reached a tentative, three year agreement covering retirement benefits, job security, long-distance transfers, and more prohibited from release to the general public until local union branches have a chance to present it to membership. If approved, the new deal runs through August 2015. The negotiated deal comes more than a year after workers held a two-week strike during contract negotiations, in which Verizon and the unions differed on health care benefits, pensions, and on-the-job rules and regulations.
The Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers entered mediated talks in late July after negotiations failed. The unions say the new contract preserves in-place job security rules preventing layoffs for those hired before 2003.
"After more than one year of direct negotiations, the parties entered mediation essentially at a standstill on a score of significant core issues," said director of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service George H. Cohen. "Ultimately, however, the parties committed to a problem-solving mindset which paved the way to their achieving a comprehensive agreement."
"We believe this is a fair and balanced agreement that is good for our employees as well as for the future of the wireline business," said Verizon's chief administrative officer Marc Reid. Reid added that the new contract "provides competitive wages, valuable benefits and affordable quality health care while giving the company new flexibility to better serve customers and become more efficient."