After nearly seven weeks of striking, 40,000 Verizon employees will go back to work on Wednesday after inking a deal with their backpedalling corporate overlords.
The Communications Workers of America union announced on Monday that the new agreement includes 1,300 new call center jobs, $1,250 signing bonuses and health care reimbursement for new workers, and three 1 percent increases in pensions.
If the resolution is passed, as it is expected to be, Verizon workers will also receive nearly 11 percent raises over four years and, for the first time, Verizon wireless store workers will have a contract.
The work stoppage began after 10 months of bargaining between Verizon union workers and management ended in a stalemate. The workers were primarily concerned about job security, reducing outsourcing of plant and customer service jobs, limiting the company’s ability to transfer workers to new jobs away from their families, and protecting pensions.
Verizon has also claimed the agreement is a triumph for the company. If true, they might have come to this conclusion quite a bit earlier. According to the New York Times Verizon believes its new commitment to create 1,000 unionized call center jobs over the next few years will help the company’s bottom line by decreasing the frequency of transfer calls.
Verizon spokesperson Richard J. Young told the Times, “It’s all about minutes here and there. Minutes add up to hours; hours add up to jobs.” Inspiring stuff.
Members of the two unions that went on strike—the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers—must vote on the agreement, which is expected to take place in the next two or three weeks.