Verizon, CWA, IBEW unions invite federal mediator to contract negotiations

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and the wireline workers represented by the CWA and IBEW unions that came back to the negotiating table yesterday have sought the assistance of a federal mediator to sort out issues.

Yesterday the two sides met in Washington with Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Allison Beck, an experienced federal mediator who the parties agreed would assist in the ongoing contract negotiations.

According to a Labor Department release, discussions will continue in Washington this week under the auspices of the department.

As part of this process, Verizon and CWA and IBEW unions have agreed to refrain from making public comments as talks progress.

"I'm encouraged by the parties' continued commitment to remain at the bargaining table and work toward a resolution," Perez said in a statement. "We will continue to facilitate conversations to help the unions and the company reach an agreement."

Perez met with Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon; Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America; and Lonnie Stephenson, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on Sunday.

Among the many issues that CWA and IBEW members say need to be worked out are Verizon's move to offshore 5,000 jobs to the Philippines, Mexico and other locations; outsource work to low-wage contractors; and transfer workers to other states, which keeps workers away from their families for months at a time.

Verizon said there are health care issues that need to be addressed for both retirees and workers as medical costs have risen in recent years.

For more:
- see the Labor Dept. statement
- Fortune has this article

Special report: Verizon CWA, IBEW workers' 2016 strike: full coverage

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