Verizon and unions reach tentative deal to end strike

Fri May 27, 2016 4:41pm EDT
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By Malathi Nayak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote) and unions representing nearly 40,000 wireline workers have reached a tentative deal "in principle" to end a strike that started April 13th, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said on Friday.

Shares in Verizon, the No. 1 U.S. wireless company, jumped as much as 1.2 percent after the announcement and in afternoon trading were up almost 1 percent at $50.61.

Workers that included network technicians and customer service representatives in the company's Fios Internet, telephone and television services walked off the job after contract talks hit an impasse. The action was called by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The parties are drafting an agreement that will be submitted to the unions for ratification and workers are expected to be back on the job next week, Perez said in a statement.

Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Sticking points in the contract negotiations had included job relocations, offshoring call-center jobs, pensions and healthcare coverage.

The tentative deal ends the potentially costly and sometime-contentious 44-day strike. The workers had been without a contract since their agreement expired in August and had been without healthcare coverage since May 1.

The last contract negotiations in 2011 also led to a strike that ended after two weeks as contract talks continued.   Continued...

The entrance to a Verizon wireless store is seen in New York, in this May 12, 2015, file photo.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files