CLUW congratulates CWA and IBEW for successfully reaching a tentative agreement this week with Verizon. Verizon’s 45,000 workers still have to vote, but the proposed contract is strong and will preserve good, middle class jobs.
Despite billions of dollars in profits, Verizon attempted to exploit the current economic climate to slash health benefits, eliminate pensions, outsource jobs, and undermine collective bargaining for its workers. But Verizon’s workers and allies stopped the communications giant's assault and defended good jobs.
Workers from New England to Virginia struck for nearly two weeks in August 2011 when the old contract expired. Both unions agreed to return to work and extend the expired contract. Verizon and the unions had been engaged in intensive negotiations under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service since mid-summer.
“We stood up to the most sweeping and intensive attack on our standard of living and bargaining rights in the history of the telecommunications industry,” said Chris Shelton, Vice President for CWA District One. "The unity and determination of 34,000 CWA members since bargaining began in June 2011 has produced a new agreement that preserves intact our members’ pension and job security, provides for a substantial wage increase, and preserves a high-quality health plan."
"In this tough economic climate, with many politicians and CEOs preaching more and more austerity for the middle class, working families at Verizon stood strong and stuck together to get the best possible agreement,” said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill. “We don’t agree with everything in it, but it allows us to move forward and continue to fight for good middle-class jobs at Verizon in the years to come.”