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CWA members march in Philadelphia’s Stand for American Workers rally to call attention to the contract fight with Verizon.

MTD-affiliated Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) members have agreed to a tentative four-year contract with Verizon.

The settlement was reached last week following a tense 16-month effort involving some 45,000 union members that included a two-week strike last year. If approved by the membership, the contract would be retroactive to August 2011.

CWA President Larry Cohen told the New York Times, “We’ve maintained our living standards in this contract. This is an incredibly profitable company, and the reality of today in America is if you hold your own, that’s a victory.”

IBEW International President (and MTD Board Member) Edwin Hill added, “In this tough economic climate, with many politicians and chief executive officers preaching more and more austerity for the middle class, working families at Verizon stood strong and stuck together to get the best possible agreement. We don’t agreement 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.”

The CWA and IBEW represent Verizon landline workers from New England to the Mid-Atlantic. The unions and the telecommunications giant had been in federal mediation since July.