Solidarity Wins: Verizon Workers Have Tentative Agreement

IAM members show their support for striking Verizon workers in Charleston, SC.

Nearly 40,000 Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) members at Verizon will be returning to work Wednesday after a tentative agreement was reached with the telecommunications giant, ending a seven-week strike. The new contract includes 1,400 new jobs and pay raises of up to 10 percent.

The walkout made national headlines as Verizon unsuccessfully attempted to run its operations with temporary workers, disrupting service for many communities.

CWA and IBEW workers received support from other unions around the country, including the IAM.

“When a company attacks good-paying middle-class jobs, it becomes a fight against all of us,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “This Executive Council was proud to give these workers financial assistance on behalf of our membership.”

Negotiations had stalled with no talks scheduled when U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez stepped in to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

CWA and IBEW workers from Massachusetts to Virginia went on strike April 13 after 10 months of unsuccessful negotiations with Verizon. Rejected company proposals would have allowed Verizon to reassign workers to new cities for months at a time, increase the number of call center jobs outsourced to countries like the Philippines and Mexico, and hire more nonunion contractors.

Union members will vote over the next few weeks. Results are due by June 17.