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Verizon Could Soon See An End To Massive Strike

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Verizon Communications reached a possible four-year union agreement Friday after over six weeks of continuous strikes and pressure from federal officials.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) launched a strike April 13 against Verizon over troubled contract talks. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez announced the two sides have finally arrived at a possible agreement.

“I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute,” Perez declared in a statement. “The parties are now working to reduce the agreement to writing, after which the proposal will be submitted to CWA and IBEW union members for ratification.”

Unionized workers will still have a chance to review the proposed agreement before it’s officially implemented. Verizon and the unions agreed May 15 to resume negotiations after meeting with federal officials in Washington, D.C. Perez believes the workers will be back on the job next week.

“Throughout the past 13 days of negotiations at the Department of Labor, I have observed firsthand the parties’ good faith commitment to narrowing differences and forging an agreement that helps workers and the company,” Perez continued. “The parties have a shared interest in the success of Verizon and its dedicated workforce.”

Perez made the decision to intervene when it became clear the strike was becoming more tense. Verizon accused striking workers Apr. 22 of vandalizing company property. Striking workers in the Philippians have also accused the company May 11 of chasing them with armed guards.

Verizon made its final contract offer April 28 was rejected by unionized workers. The contract would have included a 7.5 percent increase in wages along with other benefits, but unionized workers rejected it over a lack of overtime and outsourcing protections. Unionized workers warn without such protections call centers and other jobs could be outsourced oversees.

The strike has included thousands of workers and garnered national attention. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders denounced Verizon for corporate greed on numerous occasions. Verizon President Lowell McAdam countered the claim as not truthful.

The labor dispute has garnered sympathy from some other high-profile individuals. Senate Democrats have weighed in on the dispute with a letter urging Verizon to negotiate a fair deal. Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also condemned the company.

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