HONOLULU -- Verizon Hawaii and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 1357 reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year bargaining contract that provides for a 20 percent general wage increase over five years. The contract covers about 1,500 Verizon employees throughout the State of Hawaii.
"The provisions of this contract will allow us to raise our standards of performance and productivity so we can continue providing top quality service to our customers," said Patti Ching, Verizon's chief labor negotiator in Hawaii.
Capitalizing on their strong relationship, Verizon Hawaii and IBEW Local 1357 began negotiating five months before the current contract expires this August.
"This five-year contract is unique to Verizon Hawaii because the benefits package and length of contract will provide stability and security for members in a challenging economy." said Harold Dias, Jr., business manager of IBEW Local 1357.
IBEW Local 1357 leadership plans to present the tentative agreement to its membership for ratification during the next several weeks, Dias said. Ratification requires a simple majority of those voting. Once ratified, the new contract will go into effect August 25.
In addition to the general wage increase, the proposed contract includes:
- 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, 2003, increasing the total number of holidays per year to 13.
- Renewal of incentive plans for business sales center and retail sales personnel that recognizes 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 2003. The current plan provides $1 million per covered individual. The plan will also feature a new hearing aid benefit.
- Increases savings plan company matching contribution from $.66 to $.75 on Jan. 1, 2003, and from $.75 to $.82 on Jan. 1, 2004, for every dollar contributed up to a 6 percent maximum.
- Creates 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.
- Provides 24 months of company-paid medical coverage for an employee's spouse or domestic partner and dependents in case of the employee's death.
- Continuation 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.
- Waiver of the annual deductible when an employee and/or enrolled dependents use a preferred dental provider, effective January 2003.
- Increase of the lifetime orthodontic care maximum to $1,500 per covered person, effective January 2003.
- Creation of an adoption assistance plan, effective January 2003 that provides up to $10,000 for authorized expenses related to the adoption of a child.
- Increased level of coverage for HMSA PPO medical plan.
- Improved sickness disability benefits schedule to allow for up to 26 weeks of full pay.
Verizon Hawaii employs about 2,500 people and is the eighth largest private employer in the state.
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 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.