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Verizon Offers 38,000 IBEW and CWA Workers a Pair of Annual, 2% Pay Increases

Verizon has had a rocky relationship with its union workers in recent years

Verizon has had a rocky relationship with its union workers in recent years

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Verizon Communications has offered a pay raise to its 38,000 East Coast wireline employees after starting its first negotiating session with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).  The unions represent employees in nine eastern states and Washington D.C. who were covered by a total of 27 collective bargaining agreements, all of which are set to expire on August 1st, 2015.  The wage increase for the employees is part of a comprehensive three-year plan submitted by Verizon aimed at helping transition the wireline unit into the digital age.  

In a press release, Robert Mudge, Verizon’s Executive Vice President for wireline operations, said of the plan:

“Our goal this contract cycle is simple: To work from day one with union leaders on ways that will help our Wireline business succeed, in an ever-changing communications arena, in the years to come.  We’ve put a comprehensive offer on the table to encourage a substantive and productive dialogue on the issues as early in the process as possible. We are committed to negotiating meaningful changes.”

As part of the proposed deal, the unions would agree to cost controls for health care and pension related benefits.  RTT News breaks down the core aspects of the proposal:

Provided there is a signed agreement by Aug. 1, upon ratification of a new contract there would be a 2 percent wage increase effective August 2, 2015; a 2 percent increase one year later; and a $1,000 lump sum payment in the third year. The average annual salary and benefit package for a Verizon associate in the East is $130,000. Verizon technicians in the New York City/Long Island region currently have an average total wage-and-benefit package worth in excess of $160,000 a year.

Pension-eligible associates would be given a choice of continuing to earn pension benefits under the defined benefit plan with some limitations and forgoing the existing 401(k) company match, or opting for the enhanced 401(k) plan currently offered to management employees (which includes a bigger company match and a profit-sharing contribution) with a frozen pension benefit. With the exception of union-represented employees hired since October 28, 2012, employees under these collective bargaining agreements currently have both a defined benefit pension plan AND a 401(k) savings plan with a generous company match, a benefit structure that’s from another era.

The cost of medical coverage for an East associate and one or more family members currently averages nearly $20,000 a year. In one of the company’s East plans, the annual cost for this coverage is over $23,000 annually. By contrast, the national average for family health care coverage is about $16,800. The company is proposing an increase of $8.10 per week next year for individual health care premiums. Other reasonable cost controls are also important to help keep this Wireline business unit competitive.


One Comment on “Verizon Offers 38,000 IBEW and CWA Workers a Pair of Annual, 2% Pay Increases”

  1. I am prepared to walk the picket line come Monday morning if negotiations do not produce an acceptable contract. However, the union needs to understand, it is well past time to be hanging onto the Democratic bandwagon. They have screwed us royally with the ACA and the so-called Cadillac tax on our healthcare benefits.

    Our union has got to start backing politicians based on their individual policies and track record. Make them EARN our support. Simply signing up for the Democratic Party line has done nothing but sink us along with what’s left of the middle class,

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