Verizon's wireline union workers to return to work, but contract negotiations will continue

Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) 45,000 wireline union workers plan to return work on Monday night, Aug. 22--but discussions on a new labor contract will continue.

The return of Verizon union workers to their posts follows a bitter two week strike between the service provider and its two main unions--the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) over various issues, including health care and vacation time.

Although neither party has ironed out a definitive deal yet, Verizon's wireline union workers would operate under the terms of the contract that expired on Aug. 6 until both sides can come to an agreement on the issues.  

Beginning Monday night, union workers will begin their second shifts, with other workers returning to work during their regularly scheduled shifts on Tuesday.

Marc Reed, Verizon's executive vice president of human resources, said in a statement: "We agreed to end the strike because we believe that is in the best interest of our customers and our employees."

Despite any progress that was made in closed door meetings, the CWA said it was "outraged" by Verizon's recent statement.

"It is both inaccurate and insulting," the CWA said in a statement. "We agreed with management not to claim victory in changing the process, re-instituting the contract or shaping our goals. We will be prepared to fight and fight hard whenever necessary if Verizon believes it can resume negotiations on that basis."

Larry Cohen, CWA President, added in a Reuters article that the fight between Verizon and the two unions represents a larger nationwide issue that all laborers face. He said the government should develop a national framework for healthcare and bargaining new contracts.

"I don't really blame Verizon leadership for this problem," he said. "It's the nation."

For more:
- see the release
- Reuters has this article

Special Report: Verizon strike: Full coverage

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