Verizon West CWA contracts expire amid disagreement over new contract terms

Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) contract with 4,500 wireline workers in California represented by Communications Workers of America District 9 expired at midnight last night.

CWA District 9 includes a number of FiOS technicians, operators, call center representatives, customer service representatives, cable splicers, field technicians for business and residential service, buried service wire employees and other employees that work on the telco's networks throughout the Western state.

The union and the telco began negotiating the terms of a new contract on Jan. 28. Although the CWA and Verizon agreed to extend the contract beyond the original March 9 deadline, the union said that it was "canceling the extension" at 11:59 on Wednesday night due to "slow progress at the bargaining table."  

Ellen West, who leads the CWA bargaining committee and serves as District 9's Southern California Area Director, said in a release that union members will continue work in their posts under current conditions as bargaining continues this week.  

Similar to the other negotiations that Verizon had with CWA and IBEW workers on the East Coast, CWA District 9 workers have clashed with the telco over various issues including wages, healthcare benefits, pensions and outsourcing jobs to other countries.

The telco said that it will continue to work with the CWA to come to a resolution.

"We have been bargaining over the past eight months, and we continue to negotiate in good faith for a contract that's good for our customers and our employees," said Verizon in a statement. "Union is working without contract."

Verizon is hardly alone in its efforts to negotiate new contracts with their wireline employees.

AT&T, for one, has made continual progress throughout the past year, ratifying agreements with the union in its East, West, Midwest, Southeast, and the Southwest regions. Likewise, CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Frontier (Nasdaq: FTR) reached agreements with CWA represented employees in the legacy Qwest territory and in Pennsylvania.

For more:
- see the release

Special Report: The battle for union contracts: AT&T, Hawaiian Telcom, others hash out wireline benefits

Related articles:
Verizon reaches deals with IBEW, CWA wireline workers' unions
Frontier workers in West Virginia rally for new contract
AT&T and the CWA last month ratified a new contract for Connecticut employees

Updated article on Sept. 12 with a quote from Verizon. 

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