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A contentious 16-month period of negotiations that included a two-week long strike ended when 45,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electricians (IBEW) approved a four-year agreement with Verizon.

In addition to securing wage increases while preserving important benefits and worker protections, the unions were able to persuade the company to return those members who had been fired by the telecommunications giant during the August 2011 strike. The pact is retroactive to last year.

The workers, who hail from Virginia to New England, received strong support by trade union activists around the country.

Representing members in New York, New Jersey and New England, CWA District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton said: “This contract ensures that every one of our members will see an improvement in their standard of living. It was a tough fight, and we turned back efforts by the company to gut our contracts. Now, we’ll keep up the fight to expand good jobs for Verizon workers.”

Added CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney, who represents Verizon workers in the mid-Atlantic states: “The unity and determination of CWA and the IBEW over 16 months of bargaining, and the support of our allies, made this contract possible. Our goal now is to make certain that CWA members continue to be a key part of this company’s future.”

Both the CWA and IBEW are affiliates of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO.

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