Verizon, Unions Reach Agreement On Three-Year Contract - InformationWeek

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Verizon, Unions Reach Agreement On Three-Year Contract

The deal provides 11% pay raises over a three-year period to some 65,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Verizon Communications and its two major unions have hammered out an agreement that delivers 11% pay raises for union members over a three-year period and establishes a mechanism whereby the company and its unions will meet to review new technological and business developments as they arise.

The pact, announced Sunday, averts a strike by some 65,000 members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in a region extending from Maine to Virginia.

The agreement also brings positions associated with Verizon's FiOS technology into contract coverage as well as some positions in Verizon Business. The pact was hailed by both union and company officials.

"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."

While committing to pay 100% of health care premiums for current employees and retirees, the agreement also features an unusual annual $2 million stipend that the two sides will use to work jointly to "achieve meaningful health care reform," the unions said.

The new agreement is expected to add fewer than 4,000 new positions to the unions' membership rolls. At the same time, Verizon has been paring union positions elsewhere, for instance, in the northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, where some Verizon services are being shifted to FairPoint Communications.

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