Double Victory for Connect-DC and CWA!

rnrnLast week marked a double victory for DC JwJ member, Communications Workers of American Local 2336. After almost a year of negotiations, the District of Columbia and Verizon reached an agreement that will bring FiOS to the nation’s capital, possibly as early as January 2009.rnrnThank you to everyone who testified at the quality of service hearings, came out to Connect-DC rallies and events, and sent letters to city representatives. But as with most victories, this is just the beginning. In Maryland and Virginia, FiOS installation has been far from hassle-free. Verizon subcontracted the installation work to companies who used low-income day laborers and then didn’t pay them for their work; traditional copper lines were cut without customers’ knowledge, locking some Verizon customers into the more expensive FiOS option service; and trees were cut down and streets and sidewalks torn up as non-union workers rushed to meet deadlines. Meanwhile, Verizon has moved a third of its jobs out of the District over the past three years. In mid-September the City Council will vote on whether to approve the agreement between Verizon and the City. We need to make sure that violations do not happen in DC, and that Verizon commits to training and hiring DC residents to do this important work. Let the Mayor and City Administrator know that high quality, equitable, affordable, telecommunication services and good jobs matter to you by emailing them today: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/dcconnect_fiosrnrnThen Sunday night, as Verizon workers prepared to strike, CWA and Verizon struck a deal. “This is a breakthrough agreement in many ways,” said CWA President Larry Cohen. “It creates new union jobs including major growth areas like FiOS, it takes a big step forward on health care and it brings hundreds of Verizon Business employees the union rights they deserve. We applaud management for agreeing to keep the best health coverage in America and for their commitment to work with us for real health care reform. This settlement provides a framework for growth at Verizon and a good standard of living with careers for our members.” The contract also boosts wages and pensions for 65,000 employees from Maine to Virginia. The tentative settlement eliminates subcontracting of work in a number of job areas, converts many temporary jobs to permanent and brings additional jobs associated with Verizo’s cutting edge FiOS technology into the union bargaining units. Overall, the settlement should create 2,500 new union jobs. To get the full scoop visit: http://www.cwa-union.org/news/verizon-bargaining-update-11-30-a-m-sunday-aug-10.html.rn

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