The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has reached a tentative agreement with Verizon Communications covering 6,500 members in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and upstate New York.
Workers from New England to Virginia struck for nearly two weeks in August 2011. Following the strike, both unions agreed to return to work and extend the expired contract pending further negotiations.
“In this tough economic climate, with many politicians and CEOs preaching more and more austerity for the middle class, working families at Verizon stood strong and stuck together to get the best possible agreement,” IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill said in a press release. “We don’t agree with everything in it, but it allows us to move forward and continue to fight for good middle-class jobs at Verizon in the years to come.”
Over the last several weeks, union and management negotiators met with Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen and his staff in efforts to reach a fair settlement. These recent FMCS negotiations represented the first good faith effort at bargaining in more than a year on behalf of management.
“The strong unity of the members at the bargaining table and in the workplace – along with the impartial hand of Director Cohen and his staff – forced the company to back off its original proposal which would have gutted nearly all the gains won by previous generations of telecommunications workers,” Hill said.
Details of the tentative agreement are being provided to members who will vote on ratification in the next few weeks.