Verizon and IBEW Local Union 723 Reach Tentative Agreement on New Contracts in Indiana

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Verizon and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 723 have reached an early tentative agreement on three new labor contracts. The contracts provide for a 12 percent wage increase over three years and cover 962 Verizon employees throughout Indiana.

Capitalizing on their strong relationship, Verizon and IBEW Local 723 began negotiating six months before the current contracts expire this November.

"Reaching an early tentative agreement demonstrates that our partnership with the IBEW is solid," said Barbara Sullivan, Verizon's regional manager of labor relations. "We and the IBEW are committed to keeping Verizon strong for the future to the benefit of employees and our customers who depend on us for reliable, high-quality service.

"These three-year contracts meet the wage and benefit needs of our employees while providing Verizon with the work rule flexibility and expense controls necessary to meet and exceed our customers' expectations in today's highly competitive telecommunications marketplace," said Sullivan.

IBEW Local 723 leadership plans to present the tentative agreement to its membership for ratification during the next several weeks, said Ron Bame, business manager and chair of the IBEW bargaining committee. Ratification requires a simple majority of those voting. Once ratified, the new contracts will go into effect Nov. 9. In addition to the general wage increase, the proposed contracts include:

  • Continuation of a team performance award plan that rewards employees for meeting higher service, performance and other standards. Under this program, union-represented employees can earn bonuses of up to 4 percent per year of their base pay if their team meets the established objectives.

  • Addition of one personal holiday, effective Jan. 1, 2004, increasing the total number of holidays per year to 13.

  • Renewal of incentive plans for retail sales personnel that recognize employees for their success in customer sales and service.

  • Increase of the lifetime comprehensive medical plan maximum to $2 million per covered individual, effective January 2004. The current plan provides $1 million per covered individual. The plan will also feature a new hearing-aid benefit.

  • An increase in the company's matching contribution for the savings plan -- from 66 cents to 75 cents on Jan. 4, 2004, and to 82 cents on Jan. 2, 2005 -- for every dollar contributed up to a 6 percent maximum.

  • A pre-retirement survivor pension benefit that allows vested employees to name a beneficiary who will receive a 50 percent or 65 percent survivor annuity or lump sum equivalent, should the employee die during active service or prior to commencing a pension benefit.

  • Twenty four months of company-paid medical coverage for an employee's spouse or domestic partner and dependents in case of the employee's death.

  • Creation of a $500 annual "opt out" credit for employees who elect not to enroll themselves or their eligible dependents in a company-sponsored medical plan or HMO, effective Jan. 1, 2004.

  • Waiver of the annual deductible when an employee and/or enrolled dependents use a preferred dental provider, effective January 2004.

  • Increase of the lifetime orthodontic care maximum to $1,500 per covered person, effective January 1, 2004.

  • Creation of an adoption assistance plan, effective January 2004, that provides up to $10,000 for authorized expenses related to the adoption of a child.

  • Verizon Communications

    A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.