Unions ratify Verizon labor contract

Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:24pm EDT
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By Malathi Nayak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Unions representing nearly 40,000 Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote) workers ratified a new labor deal on Friday, the company said, ending a months-long dispute that had prompted a nearly 7-week employee strike.

The new contract, effective immediately, will run until Aug. 3, 2019, Verizon said in a statement. Last month, a tentative deal was reached that included 1,400 new jobs and pay raises topping 10 percent.

Since May 31, union members had been casting votes that were tallied by the unions.

Workers including network technicians and customer service representatives in Verizon's Fios internet, telephone and television services units walked off the job on April 13 after contract talks reached an impasse. The action was called by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The previous contract expired in August, and healthcare coverage ran out at the end of April. Sticking points in contract negotiations had included job relocations, offshoring call-center jobs, pensions and healthcare coverage.

Employees resumed work on June 1 after the tentative deal was reached.

New York-based Verizon said it would add 1,300 call center jobs on the East Coast, and 100 new network technician jobs. It also agreed to withdraw proposed cuts to pensions and accident and disability benefits.

The company won cost savings through changes in healthcare plans and limits on post-retirement health benefits.   Continued...

FILE PHOTO - People demonstrate outside a Verizon wireless store during a strike in New York, U.S., April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo