Verizon Workers Decide to End Strike, Even Without New Contract

Workers will return without a new contract while new deal is worked out.

ByABC News
August 20, 2011, 7:15 PM

Aug. 20, 2011— -- The 45,000 Verizon wireline workers will end their strike and return to work beginning Monday night, even though no new contract has been reached, the company announced today.

According to a statement from the company, the Verizon and the unions have made headway in negotiating a number of local and regional issues, and the parties have agreed on a process for moving forward to negotiate the major issues regarding benefits, cost structure, work flexibility and job security.

The workers, who went out on strike Aug. 6, will return to work under the contract that expired that day, while the unions and the company attempt to negotiate a new deal.

The contracts will be extended with no specific deadline for a new contract, the company statement said.

"We agreed to end the strike because we believe that is in the best interest of our customers and our employees," Verizon executive vice president of human resources Marc Reed said. "We remain committed to our objectives, and we look forward to negotiating the important issues that are integral to the future health of Verizon's wireline business.

"We are grateful to our management team for their leadership during the past 14 days in so ably meeting the needs of our customers," he said. "We are pleased that during this stressful economic period our union-represented employees will be back at work earning good wages and benefits while serving our customers."

The workers, members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, had said they were trying to protect their pensions and health care benefits, which Verizon wants to cut.

With its union-represented employees back at work, Verizon said it plans to quickly address any backlog in repairs and unfulfilled requests for service.