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Verizon Reaches Tentative Union Pact With 43,000 Workers

Verizon Reaches Tentative Union Accord Covering 43,000 Workers
Coinstar Inc.’s Redbox and Verizon Communications Inc. plan to start their video service in time for the Christmas holiday, challenging Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. with on-demand viewing and DVDs combined. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Verizon Communications Inc., the second-largest U.S. phone company, reached tentative agreements with unions representing 43,000 members, ending 15 months of negotiations over new labor contracts.

A three-year accord with the Communications Workers of America preserves a ban on layoffs of workers hired before 2003 and restrictions on the New York-based company’s ability to reassign workers far from their homes, the union said today in an e-mailed statement. In a separate statement, Verizon said it also reached a three-year pact with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, without providing details.

The agreements settle a dispute that led to a two-week strike after the previous contracts expired in August 2011. Workers took that action, the largest since 73,000 General Motors Co. workers striked for two days in 2007, because of disagreements over benefits, work flexibility and job security.

“We believe this is a fair and balanced agreement that is good for our employees as well as for the future of the wireline business,” said Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer, in the company’s statement. “It provides competitive wages, valuable benefits and affordable quality health care while giving the company new flexibility to better serve customers and become more efficient.”

The agreement will take about a month for members to ratify, the Communications Workers of America said.

Verizon, which has 188,200 employees, rose 0.8 percent to $45.27 at the New York close. The shares have gained 13 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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