Verizon Unions Reject ‘Last Best Final Offer’ as ‘Same Old Bulls–t’
Verizon's employee unions rejected what the company calls its "last best final offer" in an effort to end a strike.
In a letter sent to all employees that spells out the offer, Marc Reed, Verizon's executive vice president and chief administrative officer, said employees would receive a 7.5 percent wage increase over the term of the contract, including a 2.5 percent raise after the new deal takes effect.
Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers walked off their jobs on April 13 after negotiations reached an impasse over a variety of issues ranging from healthcare and pension costs for both current workers and retirees to work rules on layoffs, employees working away from home and use of contract workers.
Reed said the offer is "consistent with our goal of continuing to provide great jobs while helping us better compete in the digital world" and offers layoff protection if the number of calls handled by Mid-Atlantic region call centers does not reach a certain minimum percentage.
Verizon said it will consolidate two call centers in Vineland and Allentown, PA, affecting 26 employees. They would be transferred to centers in Robbinsville and Philadelphia, respectively, and receive an incentive of at least $2,000.
Verizon said its healthcare options for employees would remain the same but employee contributions would increase.
The company also posted videos on its website to further describe its offer directly to employees.
The CWA rejected the offer and said in a response posted on its website Verizon's offer was "little more than the same old bulls**t."
The CWA said it welcomed the wage increases and changes in rules about temporarily transferring employees within the region but was critical of the lack of movement on the the issue of closing call centers, which the union said could send jobs overseas.
"We of course welcome higher wages and these other changes. But what good is a wage increase if we cannot ensure that our jobs will be around a year or two from now?" the union said.
The CWA said that use of the term "last, best final offer" was a form of intimidation and vowed to stay on the picket lines.