TAMPA, Fla. - Verizon Communications and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 824 reached tentative agreement Thursday (8/4) on a new five-year labor contract in Florida.
The contract covers approximately 4,400 hourly-paid employees, including installation and repair technicians and customer service representatives, who work within the wireline part of the company.
Verizon and the union agreed to extend the previous contract past the July 30 expiration date, and employees have continued to work on a day-to-day basis since then. Upon ratification by the membership, which is being recommended by the union's bargaining committee, the new contract will run through July 31, 2010. Results from the ratification are expected by Aug. 27.
The company's tentative agreement with the IBEW follows similar five-year contracts signed between the company and IBEW and CWA local unions within the past 12 months in California, Texas, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest and Pennsylvania.
The agreement provides a 4 percent lump-sum payment, following ratification, to union-represented employees. In addition, base wages will increase a total of 10.5 percent over the five-year life the contract.
"The tentative agreement improves wages and delivers a strong overall benefits package for our employees," said Rick Carpenter, 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 be competitive on our costs and pricing in our Florida market. Most importantly, it will allow Verizon to continue delivering outstanding service to our customers, both with our traditional business and our new technologies, like Verizon FiOS."
The tentative agreement also includes new provisions that allow Verizon to compete more successfully over the long term against cable companies.
- Greater workplace flexibility - By expanding the number of vacation days that can be taken a day at a time; allowing floating holidays to be taken in partial-day increments rather than full-day increments, up to 48 hours annually; and establishing a number of joint company-union committees to address issues in this area.
- Improvement of benefits for employees and retirees - The ceilings for company-provided contributions for retiree medical insurance will be increased, and general improvements were provided for current employees, including increased "opt out" credits for employees and their eligible dependents. In addition, pension minimum levels will be increased.
- Addition of one floating holiday -- Effective Jan. 1, 2008, employees will receive one additional paid holiday, bringing to seven the number of floating 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 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 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.