Negotiations covering 29,000 CWAers at Verizon Communications in Districts 1 and 2-13 got underway June 22 in Rye, N.Y. and Philadelphia. The IBEW also is bargaining for about 14,000 workers.
Verizon tried to make a big media splash with an extensive proposal on the opening day of negotiations, but CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor called the company out.
"Verizon's claims about the pay increases they put on the bargaining table yesterday are simply a smokescreen designed to hide the harsh reality of their concessionary demands; deep cuts to pension benefits, skyrocketing increases in medical costs, and the complete elimination of job security," Trainor said. "Despite $9.6 billion in profits in 2014 and $44 million in compensation to their top five executives, Verizon wants to eliminate middle-class jobs and let customer service deteriorate. Their proposals would slash thousands of jobs and leave our remaining members with a diminished standard of living at the end of any new contract."
In a letter to Verizon members, Trainor and D2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney said Verizon was working hard to undercut workers' determination to fight for a fair contract but that it wouldn't succeed. Workers are mobilizing, they said, "we have won before and we will win again."
"Verizon wants you – not its top billionaire executives – to give back the pay and benefits you have fought for and won over many decades. Verizon pretends that the wireline business is separate from the wireless business. Wireless and wireline are the same business. It is one company and one telephone system. There is no wireless business without wireline," they wrote.
Keep up with the latest at http://standuptoverizon.com.
On the opening day of Verizon bargaining, hundreds of CWA D1 members marched from Local 1103 in Portchester, N.Y., to rally with the bargaining team in Rye.
AT&T Southeast Bargaining Underway
CWA members in District 3 are mobilizing as contract negotiations opened on June 23. The contract covers more than 27,000 CWA-represented workers and expires Aug. 8.
Get the latest at www.cwaatatt.com.
Tentative Agreement at GE
Members of IUE-CWA Local 81201 in Lynn, Mass., show their support for a fair contract at GE.
The IUE-CWA Negotiating Committee and the Coordinated Bargaining Committee of GE Unions (CBC), chaired by IUE-CWA President Jim Clark, reached a tentative agreement with GE covering 10,000 IUE-CWAers and another 6,000 workers from other unions, including the IBEW, Auto Workers, Machinists and United Electrical Workers (UE).
IUE-CWA local delegates unanimously voted to support the tentative agreement; it will be provided to IUE-CWA locals for a membership vote. Read more at www.geworkersunited.org.
Tentative Agreement at Windstream Kentucky
CWA bargainers reached a tentative three-year agreement with Windstream Communications in Kentucky, covering about 250 members of CWA Locals 3371 and 3372.
"District 3, District 7 and Telecommunications & Technologies all worked together, coordinating information about the company's demands and enabling us to raise those issues in bargaining. That made all the difference in what we were able to achieve for our members at Windstream Kentucky, and it's a great framework for working together going forward, because when we work together, our members win," said CWA Telecommunications & Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton.
CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt said the bargaining team "was able to turn back the company's attack on pensions and retirement security and other giveback demands and achieve a tentative settlement that provides for wage increases and other improvements." He commended chair Billy O'Dell and the bargaining team.
Agreement Ratified at The Washington Post
Members of TNG-CWA Local 32035 ratified a two-year agreement with The Washington Post that provides for a 4.5 percent wage increase over the contract term and other benefits.
Throughout the eight months of bargaining, TNG-CWAers mobilized and marched; more than 50 new members signed up over this period.