Striking Verizon workers returned to their jobs on June 1 with a strong victory under their belts. The MTD-affiliated CWA and IBEW unions fought off Verizon’s attempts to outsource an increasing number of call center jobs to Mexico and the Philippines, where workers would have made $1.78 per hour with no overtime. Verizon also demanded the right to transfer installation workers away from their homes for up to two months at a time. With this new contract, scheduled for a vote by CWA and IBEW members on June 17, Verizon withdrew that demand.
In addition, Verizon agreed to no additional outsourcing and to increasing the number of calls to be routed to domestic call centers, which will result in the creation of 1,300 new call center jobs, 850 in the Mid-Atlantic and 450 in the Northeast. The agreement also includes the first contract ever for almost 70 Verizon Wireless retail workers in Brooklyn, NY and Everett, MA.
As part of their four-year agreement, Verizon agreed to pay workers a 3 percent increase in wages for the first year and 2.5 percent annually after that.
During the fifth week of the 45-day strike, affecting 40,000 workers, the Obama administration’s Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director, Allison Beck, stepped in and brought both sides to the negotiating table to restart talks.
Praising Perez and Beck, CWA President Chris Shelton called the pact “a huge win not just for striking workers but for our communities and the country. This contract is a victory for working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people.”
IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson called the pact “a fair and mutually beneficial agreement that gets our members back on the job.”
Stephenson added, “When we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and advance the interest of America’s working people.”
MTD President Michael Sacco praised the solidarity of the union members during the strike. “This is a tremendous victory for all working people,” Sacco stated.