Verizon reaches tentative agreements with unions representing wireline employees

Rich Young
T. 202.515.2514
Employees to return to work June 1; Company achieves significant cost savings in healthcare and benefits in other areas

NEW YORK – After nearly a year of intensive negotiations, Verizon Communications Inc. announced today that it has reached tentative agreements with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on new contracts for about 36,000 employees who work primarily for the company’s network operations and consumer and mass business units.   

“The tentative agreements reached today are good for our employees, good for our customers and will be good for our business,” said Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer. “The new contracts will help ensure that Verizon employees continue to receive solid wages and excellent healthcare and retirement benefits. They also include key changes sought by the company to better position our wireline business for success in the digital world.”

The company will achieve cost savings and cost avoidance through healthcare plan design changes, adopting Medicare Advantage plans for our retirees, maintaining limits on post-retirement healthcare costs, and freezing the mortality table for lump sum pensions using the GATT rate.

In addition, the agreements allow for greater flexibility in call sharing to better serve customers and give the company the ability to offer special buyout incentives to employees.

“This will allow our business to be more flexible and competitive and will help achieve greater efficiencies as we operate in the ever changing and dynamic digital marketplace,” said Reed.

Employees covered by these contracts will receive a wage increase of 10.5% over the term of the contract, which would expire on August 3, 2019. The first increase would come after ratification. 

In addition, as part of the company’s goal to accelerate growth in wireline broadband, Verizon announced that it will hire additional associates over the term of the contract. Looking forward, the company is focused on growth opportunities and serving customers in areas that welcome and encourage new business.

“We’re especially proud of our commitment to 1,400 new hires – high quality and well-paying American jobs,” said Reed.

During the nearly seven week strike, Verizon deployed thousands of non-union employees and contractors to fill-in for those employees out on strike. From the beginning, the company’s main focus was ensuring that millions of existing Verizon customers were receiving the services that they pay for and rely upon. 

“We are incredibly proud of and grateful for the way our employees on special assignment stepped up to the plate to ensure that our customers were able to connect wherever and whenever they needed,” said Reed. “We know strikes are challenging for employees on both sides of the picket line. I’m pleased that all of our employees will be back at their regular jobs this week, working hard to serve our customers.”

The tentative agreements were achieved following negotiations conducted under the auspices of U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and facilitated by the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Allison Beck.

The unions will submit the agreements to their members for a ratification vote. If approved, the agreements will run through August 3, 2019.