Verizon and Unions Agree to New Deal for Four Years
Close to 39,000 cable and landline employees across nine states in the Eastern U.S. and Washington, D.C. have been striking since the middle of April, one of the largest U.S. strikes in a number of years.
Verizon trained other employees to take over during the strike, but there were many delays in installations for its Fios customers.
Verizon announced that its cost for healthcare were high for unionized workers that shrunk as it sold large chunks of its business of wireline while focusing on its mobile business, which did not have unions.
In addition, it wanted the workers in unions, which accounted for a little more than 20% of its workforce in the U.S., to agree to move around regions when it was need, which was opposed by the union.
Verizon and the union did not release details of the new agreement, so it was not clear to date what the deal includes for workers.
As the number shrinks of organized workers, union fights over the past few years tend to be on the defensive side, with the goal of holding the line for members instead of winning new benefits, said on sociologist.
The Communications Workers of American Union President Chris Shelton said in a prepared statement that a new agreement was reached and was a victory for the working family. He added that there would be new jobs for unions at Verizon.
The union International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers did not respond immediately when a comment was requested.
Verizon released a prepared statement that said it was pleased with the new agreement that had meaningful changes as well as enhancement that would make its wireline segment more competitive.
The new deal does have a first contract for wireless employees at Verizon, said the CWA. That new contract applies to 165 workers across six stores in the Brooklyn, New York area and one store located in Massachusetts.
Thomas Perez the Secretary of Labor said late last week that the new agreement was being written up and would be submitted to union members for approval and he is expecting that workers will support the agreement and be back working this week.
Since late last August, workers have worked without any contract.
Verizon Communications and unions have negotiated for the last 13 days at the Labor Department, said Perez.