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Verizon Communications workers still without labor agreements

08.01.12

AUGUST 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Verizon Communications workers still without labor agreements

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 18th- Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union that are employees of Verizon are continuing to protest in front of selective stores of the corporate communications giant because of the failure of the parties to negotiate new collective bargaining agreements.

The CWA and IBEW members have been without a new labor agreement with Verizon since August 6th, 2011.

On August 7th, 2011, approximately 45,000 union Verizon workers, which included 35,000 workers represented by the CWA Local 13000 and CWA Local 13500 and 10,000 employees represented by IBEW, went on strike.

The union’s and Verizon were unable to reach an agreement because of managements insistence of give-backs and job cuts. The give-backs included higher healthcare benefit cost and jobs being outsourced to private contractors. The unions stated the strike occured because Verizon came to negotiations with an extreme set of contract proposals and would not move off of them.

The workers returned to their jobs on August 23rd, 2011 without receiving new contracts but had the understanding negotiations would continue and the workers would work under the “terms and conditions” of the previous labor agreement.

The CWA and the IBEW felt working under the terms and conditions of the expired contract would be better for their members than agreeing to a “bad” contract in which pensions would be cut and current and retired employees health insurance would cost more.

According to CWA Local 13000, not much progress has been made at the bargaining table during the past six months and the one year anniversity date of the expired contract may be held without a successor pact being reached.

During the past six months the unions have held “Verizon Day of Action” events. The first event was held in March and others have been held, including in the Lehigh Valley, in which Verizon workers and other supporting union members walked in front of company stores protesting the lack of progress at the bargaining table.

Recently in an attempt to gain new contracts, the unions asked for federal mediation through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington.

However, Verizon declined the request for mediation.

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