Verizon strike officially ends as wireline contracts approved by both CWA, IBEW unions

Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) wireline workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) voted to approve four-year contracts, officially ending a 45-day strike by about 40,000 workers.

CWA members in the New York-New England region (CWA District 1) and the mid-Atlantic (CWA District 2-13) and in New Jersey "overwhelmingly" ratified four-year contracts, the union said in a release.

Workers represented by IBEW Local 827 (mid-Atlantic) and Local 2213 (New York), as well as T6 in New England also overwhelmingly approved the contracts.

Votes on the latest version of the contract were conducted by local unions between May 31 and June 17. The local votes were conducted through mass membership meetings, mail-in ballots, or walk-in voting at various polling places in proximity to major work locations. 

Among the many contract highlights: Verizon agreed that no additional jobs would be outsourced overseas, while the number of calls routed to domestic call centers would increase. CWA and IBEW said these moves will create 1,300 new call center jobs, with 850 in the Mid-Atlantic region and 450 in the Northeast.

Other contract provisions included a 3 percent wage increase for the first year and 2.5 percent each year after; no caps on pensions and three 1 percent increases over the life of the agreement; retaining competitive health benefits; and strong job security language.

"The ratification of these hard-won contracts cements an incredible victory for the nearly 40,000 courageous workers who put everything on the line to protect the good jobs for their families and for all American families," said Dennis Trainor, vice president of CWA District 1. "When working people come together as a union, we can make a difference in improving wages and providing stability for families." 

Lonnie R. Stephenson, president of IBEW International, echoed Trainor with a similar tone.

"I want to congratulate everyone at Verizon who stuck together and worked so hard to get to this moment," Stephenson said. "This is a huge milestone for working families, not only at Verizon, but across the nation."

Although the contracts have been ratified, the wireline strike will have a impact on Verizon's Q2 FiOS earnings as the telco had to delay installations of new customers so it could focus on network maintenance and repair.

Fran Shammo, CFO and EVP of Verizon, told investors on Thursday during the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit that despite the near-term backlog on installs and new orders, the provider is beginning to catch up.

"Our installs and new orders [backlog] have significantly dropped," Shammo said.

Separately, Verizon Wireless technicians ratified their own four-year agreement by an overwhelming vote. Covering about 100 technicians in New York, the new contract includes a 10.9 percent wage increase over the four-year term, a $1,250 signing bonus, new paid parental leave benefits and improvements in stand-by pay. 

For more:
- see the CWA release
- and the IBEW release

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

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