Last striking Verizon union agrees on contract

Verizon Corp. has reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in the mid-Atlantic states, ending an 18-day strike in the region, the company announced yesterday.

The settlement is substantively the same as the one agreed to on Aug. 20 by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the CWA in New York and New England, Verizon said in a statement.

The agreement with the CWA in the mid-Atlantic region covers more than 35,000 employees in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington.

Those employees are slated to begin returning to work today. More than 50,000 other union-represented employees in New York and New England returned to work Monday.

With this agreement, all of Verizon's employees will be back at work, and the company can now focus all its resources on serving its customers, said Lawrence Babbio, vice chairman and president, in the statement.

Babbio described the agreement as affordable and prudent and said it won't affect Verizon's financial targets.

The CWA called the agreement "a pace-setting contract package," saying in a statement that it "opens the door to unionization for thousands of Verizon Wireless workers in the old Bell Atlantic portion of Verizon." The fate of those workers in the wireless portion of the company had been a key strike issue.

"This settlement secures the future for our members at this company, and it also helps sharpen Verizon's competitive edge," said CWA President Morton Bahr in the statement.

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