Verizon and CWA Reach Tentative Agreement on New Five-Year Labor Contract for Employees in Five States

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Verizon North Inc. and the Communications Workers of America, District 4, reached tentative agreement early yesterday on a new five-year labor contract.

The contract covers approximately 2,000 employees in the company's Network Services Group and Retail Markets organizations across the five-state region of Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Verizon began formal negotiations on a new contract with CWA District 4 in early December; the previous contract expired at midnight on Jan. 29. Upon ratification by the union membership, which is expected by March 7, the new contract will be effective from Jan. 30, 2005, through Feb. 13, 2010.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include a 4-percent lump-sum payment at ratification, and the equivalent of general wage increases totaling 10.5 percent over the life of the contract; an additional personal holiday (effective in 2008); some improvements in the comprehensive medical and dental plan for active employees; increases in retiree medical premium contribution caps; and increases in pension minimums.

Two new job classifications were established. The "fiber network field technician" job title will be established to perform work in connection with Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) initiative. In addition, a "term employee" designation will be created to provide the company an additional option for addressing work demands. Employees in this category will be eligible for union membership and specified benefits.

"The challenge is achieving the right balance in addressing the growing competitive pressures we face in the marketplace, while also appropriately recognizing and rewarding our frontline employees for their contributions to the company's success," said Ron Johnson, who led Verizon's bargaining team. "While the package improves wages and delivers a competitive overall benefits package for our employees, it also provides the company with staffing flexibility and a competitive cost structure. In addition, the five-year term will provide valuable, long-term stability for both employees and the company."

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 210,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband, nationwide long-distance and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.