Verizon, unions reach tentative agreement

Verizon Communications reached agreement with the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions on a tentative new three-year contract Sunday, just hours before a newly-imposed strike deadline. At first glance, the new agreement was earning high marks from union leadership. Highlights of the contract include raises valued at almost 11 percent over the life of the contract; ongoing company-provided health care coverage for current and retired union workers; a significant ongoing role for union workers in the FiOS broadband project; and recognition by Verizon of about 600 previously non-union Verizon Business employees as union workers.

The health care portion also includes a provision that will greatly benefit Verizon cost-wise in the future: For new union hires, the company will not have to provide full health care premiums upon retirement, but rather pay a set contribution based on the number of years that employee worked for Verizon.

The agreement came less than two days after the unions had authorized a new strike deadline that would have seen them walk off their jobs Monday morning. The contract, of course, still must be approved by union membership.

For more:
- see this story at The New York Times
- read this Associated Press story

Related articles:
Union workers at Qwest were expected to authorize a strike. Union report
CWA had said earlier that Verizon talks were 'disappointingly slow.' CWA report 
FierceTelecom readers have had a lot to say about ongoing Verizon talks. FierceTelecom report
Verizon and its unions averted a strike the first weekend of August. Verizon report

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