The U.S. Labor Department announced Friday that Verizon manged to reach a ‘tentative agreement’ with its workers to end one of the largest strikes that has swept the telecom giant over the last five years.
The company said that it has solved its issues with two unions “in principle.” Yet, there are other topics in the contract that need to be addressed. When the two parties manage to solve all their conflicts, the new contract will be deferred to union members for approval.
The U.S. Labor Secretary noted that the latest agreement was a clear sign that collective bargaining still holds great power in America. The Labor Department urged Verizon and unions alike to take all necessary steps to ensure a “constructive engagement.”
Workers in the customer service department and call centers first went on strike six weeks ago. The strike involved 37,000 employees across America. Experts believe that the move is the largest strike in North America since 2011.
Verizon and the unions came to common terms on topics such as worker pay and benefits, but they are still debating over the possibility of Verizon to outsource some of its services. So far, workers have rejected the possibility from start. The company declined to provide details on how that issue affected the recent tentative agreement.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, one of the two unions involved in contract negotiations, acknowledged that there was an agreement but it declined to provide more details on the outsourcing issue.
Lonnie R. Stephenson, the head of the union, noted that the agreement would be “mutually beneficial.” Mr. Stephenson pledged to release more details on the deal over the nest days. The other union, the Communications Workers of America, was proud for accomplishing its “major goals.”
One of the CWA’s goals was to bring under its wing Verizon Wireless workers, which are currently not protected by a union. The group, thus, secured an important position within a business with huge growth prospects for Verizon.
Verizon rejected any request for comment but a representative said that the U.S. Labor Secretary’s recent statement spoke for itself.
According to sources familiar with the matter, non-union members filed the positions left empty by repairmen, technicians and work center employees over the last six weeks.
A Wall Street Journal report reveals that even attorneys, accountants, and IT specialists drilled holes to install TV and Internet services in their customers’ homes. Those who had absolutely no technical skills were deployed to the telecom’s call centers.
Image Source: Flickr