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Verizon makes offer to end 4-month union dispute

Verizon makes offer to end 4-month union dispute

Verizon offers union workers a 2.5% raise in first year of proposed 3-year contract

WASHINGTON – Since Aug. 1, 38,000 Verizon Communications union employees affiliated with the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have been working without a contract. That may be drawing to a close; for the first time in four months, Verizon Communications has laid out a publicly available concrete proposal for a new contract.

The impasse has been marked by mistrust as well as strong language and actions by both sides. Verizon Communications, in an effort to continue service and prevent bad behavior by union workers, created an app that allowed its nonunion employees to report bad behavior.

CWA members voted to strike if leadership decided it was necessary, and offered sarcastically to buy the CEO of Verizon Communications a new yacht using a crowd-funding campaign.

Despite the contention, on Nov. 5 Verizon laid out a series of proposals to address the unions’ concerns.

In a statement signed by Marc Reed, Verizon EVP and chief administrative officer, the company laid out an offer for a pay raise: With this modification, the Company [Verizon] is now offering, effective the first Sunday after ratification, a 2.5% wage increase in the first year. This reflects an increase of .5% over the Company’s last wage proposal.”

The latest offer also includes changes to the employee health plan: “The Company also revised its offer on medical yesterday, modifying proposed deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums in all three years of the contract.”

CWA hasn’t responded to a request for comment on these proposals.

In the statement, Verizon Communications took a shot at a portion of the CWA union membership involved: “While there have been some productive discussions in New York/New England, progress at the Mid-Atlantic table has been almost non-existent. In fact, the Mid-Atlantic unions have been unavailable to meet for five of the last seven weeks. As we communicated at the start of this process, controlling health care and other benefit costs and the need for flexibility to compete in the new digital world are critical to reaching new agreements and essential to our ability to better compete in the coming years. The Company will continue to move this process forward.”

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Contributing Jeff Hawn was born in 1991 and represents the “millennial generation,” the people who have spent their entire lives wired and wireless. His adult life has revolved around cellphones, the Internet, video chat and Google. Hawn has a degree in international relations from American University, and has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe and Russia. He represents the most valuable, but most discerning, market for wireless companies: the people who have never lived without their products, but are fickle and flighty in their loyalty to one company or product. He’ll be sharing his views – and to a certain extent the views of his generation – with RCR Wireless News readers, hoping to bridge the generational divide and let the decision makers know what’s on the mind of this demographic.

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