After a nearly six-week strike, Verizon workers are celebrating a huge victory on Friday after a deal was reached in principle with the telecom giant that will bring gains for union members and end one of the nation's largest work stoppages in recent history.
The deal, announced Friday afternoon by U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, reportedly includes a four-year contract between Verizon and its two biggest unions, CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
Between the two labor groups, nearly 40,000 workers have been on strike since mid-April over charges that Verizon was refusing to grant basic protections such as fair contracts, stopping pension cuts, and preventing the offshoring of jobs.
CWA president Chris Shelton said Friday that the "addition of new, middle-class jobs at Verizon is a huge win not just for striking workers, but for our communities and our country as a whole. The agreement in principle at Verizon is a victory for working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people."
Workers are expected to be back on the job next week, Perez said.
IBEW president Lonnie R. Stephenson said the groups will be sharing details of the agreement in the coming days.
"This tentative contract is an important step forward in helping to end this six-week strike and keeping good Verizon jobs in America," Stephenson said. "My thanks to our members, along with those of the CWA, who made numerous sacrifices to finally come to this point. They look forward to returning to work serving their customers, working under a strong pro-worker and pro-jobs contract."
Shelton added, "This proves that when we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and protect the American middle class."