NEW YORK - Verizon reached a tentative agreement today on three-year contracts with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The two unions represent approximately 65,000 employees primarily in the company's Verizon Telecom business group in 10 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C.
"We approached the bargaining tables with an interest in solving problems, and the result is an agreement that will keep us focused on delivering to our customers the best in broadband, communications and entertainment," said Marc C. Reed, executive vice president for human resources, Verizon Communications. "From the start, our goal has been to continue to provide our employees with a package of competitive wages and benefits."
Reed added, "With this agreement, our Verizon Telecom business group can focus on the important business of competing and offering choice to customers in broadband and television services."
The tentative agreement will be presented to covered employees as part of the ratification process. The contracts include wage increases that total 10.5 percent over three years.
Reed said that by replacing five-year contracts signed in 2003 with the new three-year agreements, Verizon will have additional flexibility to closely align future agreements to marketplace changes in the fast-paced communications industry.
While the agreement provides cost savings over the life of the contracts, a key focus of the bargaining was on the long-term positioning of Verizon and jobs of the future. For example, to mitigate increasing future retiree medical costs, the company and the unions agreed to shift from a defined benefit to a defined contribution retiree medical approach. For employees covered under the agreement and hired after Aug. 2, 2008, the company will contribute a fixed dollar amount per year of service toward their future annual retiree health care premium cost.
In addition, both the unions and the company are focused on finding ways to assure access to quality, affordable health care in the future and agreed to work together on a national Labor and Management Partnership for Health Care Reform initiative.
In support of the company's continued growth, Verizon will transfer more than 600 positions that are currently in the Verizon Business group to the Verizon Telecom group. Additionally, approximately 900 temporary workers currently in Verizon Telecom will be made regular employees.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 69 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.