Verizon Avoids Strike, Now It's Qwest's Turn

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has avoided the possibility of strike action by 65,000 of its workers by agreeing a new three-year deal with two major unions.

The prospect of industrial action has been hanging over Verizon for the past few weeks, with the two unions, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, vowing to organize a strike if a deal wasn't reached during the past weekend. (See Verizon Workers Set Strike Deadline and Verizon: Labor Strike Won't Affect FiOS.)

But late Sunday afternoon the unions announced a "tentative three-year contract settlement" that includes wage and pension increases totalling 10.87 percent during the three-year term of the deal.

The agreement also includes union recognition for around 600 staff from the former MCI, which is now part of Verizon Enterprise Solutions , and "brings additional jobs associated with Verizon's cutting edge FiOS technology into the union bargaining units."

With an agreement reached at Verizon, the attention now turns to Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), where a current deal covering 20,000 members of the CWA expires on August 17.

According to a report from the Denver Business Journal, members of the CWA's District 7, covering 13 states, have authorized the union's leaders to call a strike if a new deal isn't agreed.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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