Today, Verizon workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced a tentative agreement on a four year extension of the current contract, which was set to expire in August 2019. The deal builds on significant gains won by Verizon workers as a result of their 49-day strike in 2016, providing for additional wage increases and enhanced retirement benefits. The agreement, which extends the contract through August 5, 2023, will deliver an 11.2% wage increase over the additional four years and covers over 34,000 Verizon workers, including call center workers, and central office and field technicians represented by CWA and the IBEW.
"This agreement ensures a better future and good, family-supporting jobs for thousands of Verizon workers," said CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor. "Since the end of the 2016 strike, we have seen a marked improvement in the relationship between CWA and Verizon, and this agreement reflects the more constructive relationship that has developed since then."
A separate agreement was reached covering 40 Verizon Wireless retail workers in Brooklyn, as well as 7 workers in Hazleton, PA, who voted just last week to join CWA. That agreement provides for a $900 signing bonus for Brooklyn Wireless employees, creates a first-ever floor for the merit pay pool, creates a new Labor-Management committee to address further improvements in scheduling, and strengthens the grievance procedure. About 90 Verizon Wireless technicians will receive the 11.2% compounded wage increases over the term of the extension and will have improved language regarding transfers by seniority.
"Verizon approached CWA earlier this summer to propose early negotiations to extend the current contract," said Ed Mooney, Vice President for CWA District 2-13, which covers Pennsylvania to Virginia. "We saw this as an opportunity to make improvements for our members without the lengthy conflict we experienced two years ago. This is a solid agreement that will improve the living standards of our members across the region."
Following the 2016 strike - one of the largest in recent history - Verizon agreed to add 1,300 new East Coast call center jobs and reverse several outsourcing initiatives. The four-year agreement also included 10.9% in raises, new benefits, $2800 minimum in profit sharing, pension increases, and a first contract for Verizon Wireless retail store employees in Brooklyn, NY. The extension announced today preserves these contract provisions going forward.
By mutual agreement, negotiations on the contract extension were limited to wages and benefits and the length of the new agreement. The wins for Verizon workers come amid a wave of worker actions to raise wages, improve working conditions, and hold corporations accountable. Like the successful teacher strikes this spring, Verizon's willingness to come to the table early and agree to this contract is yet another testament to the power of working people standing together.
The tentative agreement will now go to CWA members, who are expected to vote on the deal in the next few weeks.
"These victories for Verizon workers are a testament to working people's power in numbers," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "When we take decisive action, we pave the way for big wins - protecting middle class jobs and raising standards across the board. When we remain united, we secure a better life for our families. Verizon and other big corporations are realizing that long-term success means investing in workers today."