Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and leaders of striking unions disclosed a tentative contract agreement on Monday regarding to the recent nearly seven weeks large strike, and around 40,000 Verizon employees will return to work after reach the contract on Wednesday. The new contract agreement provides 1,300 new jobs in East Coast call center and increases 10.9 percent in wages over four years from 6.5% hike before the strike, which the contract reached the tentative pact with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
Besides the raises and new call center jobs, the tentative agreement includes $1,250 in signing bonuses and health care reimbursements for new workers, a 25 percent increase in the number of unionized crews maintaining Verizon’s utility poles in New York state, and three 1 percent increases in pensions, which Verizon had proposed to freeze, the CWA said. It also includes a first-ever contract for wireless retail store workers, affecting 70.
Also, this deal will help Verizon save significant money includes adopting Medicare Advantage plans (private health insurance contracted with the government) rather than costlier insurance. This tentative agreement will also benefit Verizon from increasing flexibility route customer service calls from one call center to another.
Verizon CEO Marc Reed said terms of the agreement "will allow our business to be more flexible and competitive and will help achieve greater efficiencies as we operate in the ever changing and dynamic digital marketplace."
The strike made its way into the presidential campaign. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton visited strikers outside a Verizon store in midtown Manhattan, and rival Bernie Sanders cheered workers on a picket line in Brooklyn.
Union members will vote on the deal after returning to work. If this agreement passed during the union members, the new contract will conduct until August 2019. Final approval of the contract would also give the company the right to have employees in other Verizon-serviced states answer calls from customers. In the past, those calls were initially handled only by an employee in the state where the call originated.