THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Verizon Communications and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 543 reached tentative agreement April 15 on a new five-year labor contract in California.
The contract covers approximately 650 hourly-paid employees in several job titles across several different departments within the wireline part of the company.
Verizon and the union agreed to conduct early and expedited bargaining, which began April 4. The current contract was due to expire on Sept. 17, 2005. Upon ratification by the membership, which is being unanimously recommended by the union's bargaining committee, the new contract will run through Sept. 11, 2010. Ratification is expected within the next few weeks.
The company's tentative agreement with the IBEW follows a similar five-year contract signed between the company and the Communications Workers of America in December. That contract covers approximately 6,500 Verizon employees in California.
The agreement provides a 4-percent lump-sum payment on Sept. 18, 2005, to union-represented employees. In addition, base wages will increase 1 percent in the first year, 2 percent in the second year, and then 2.5 percent in each of the third, fourth and final years of the contract.
"The tentative agreement improves wages and delivers a strong overall benefits package for our employees," said Dyann Johnston, who headed the Verizon bargaining committee. "At the same time, the five-year term of the new contract will provide valuable stability for both employees and Verizon. It also will position us to continue delivering outstanding service to our customers and outstanding value to our shareholders."
The tentative agreement also includes new provisions that allow Verizon to compete more successfully over the long term against cable companies.
- Creation of a new job classification - The classification, fiber network field technician, will be established to perform installation and technical support involving Verizon's FiOS set of products and services over its fiber-optic network in California communities. Verizon announced plans to expand its fiber-to-the-premises initiative to California last summer.
- Improvement of benefits for employees and retirees -- Company-provided contributions for retiree medical insurance will be increased, and general improvements were provided for current employees, including the establishment of a voluntary long-term care benefit and increased "opt out" credits for employees and their eligible dependents. In addition, pension minimum levels will be increased.
- Addition of one personal holiday -- Effective Jan. 1, 2008, employees will receive one additional paid holiday, bringing to seven the number of personal holidays employees can take annually.
Key elements of the proposed agreement include:
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 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.