ERIE, Pa. - Verizon North Inc. and four locals of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract that calls for wage increases and improved benefits.
The contract covers approximately 1,250 Verizon employees in the company's Network Services and Retail Markets organizations in central and western Pennsylvania, including Erie, Johnstown, Somerset and York.
Verizon began formal negotiations with IBEW Locals 1451, 1635, 1637 and 1944 last year in early September. The contract was due to expire Oct. 23, but both the company and the union agreed to extend the contract.
Results of the ratification vote by the employees are expected by Feb. 11. Upon ratification, the new contract will be effective the first Sunday following ratification through Feb. 27, 2010. Previous contracts for employees in the area had been for three years.
Highlights of the tentative agreement include a one-time lump-sum payment of 4 percent following ratification and general wage increases totaling 10.5 percent over the term of the contract; an additional personal holiday; some improvements in the comprehensive medical and dental plan for active employees; and an increase in pension minimums, based on an employee's length of service.
In addition, a new job category of "term employee" was established that will provide the company an additional option for addressing its 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 Kristie Chorny, 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."
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. With a diverse work force of approximately 208,000, Verizon has 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 42.1 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.