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article imageVerizon contract negotiations continue Special

By Molly Zelvonberger     Sep 16, 2011 in Business
As the new health-care bill takes effect, many companies are finding themselves offsetting the cost by asking their employees to contribute a little more.
Verizon and union representatives have made headway in negotiating a number of local and regional issues, and the parties have reached a consensus on a process for moving forward to negotiate the major issues regarding benefits, cost structure, work flexibility and job security.
Most union-represented employees pay nothing for health insurance premiums at Verizon. The company is proposing that its union-represented employees pay a portion of their health care premiums, much like the majority of other Verizon employees. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) represents about 33,000 employees covered under these particular contracts. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) covers about 12,000 workers.
"You're asking me to pay medical benefits, but you're not giving me a decent raise," said a central office technician. Then came the accusations of sabotage which prompted Verizon to take action with a $50,000 reward.
Currently, more than 135,000 non-union Verizon employees make contributions to their health care premiums. Verizon is proposing that its union-represented employees make contribution toward the cost of rising health care expenses. Currently health care costs continue to increase. Verizon's health care plans are called "Cadillac Plans" by the U.S. government, and cost the company $4 billion annually covering 800,000 employees, retirees and their families. The company took a $962 million charge in 2010 due to a reduction in tax benefits related to retiree health care.
The average annual compensation for a technician with overtime range from $81,000 to $91,000 which includes a Average Benefits Package Value $51,000. Benefits include full health insurance coverage for employees and their families, pension, 401(k) with company match, vacation and more. The company is proposing that union workers begin contributing $1,380 a year to their health care premiums. It happens to be similar to those made by the company's 135,000 non-union employees.
New York State Nurses Association, which represents the nurses at Brooklyn Hospital Center primary issues during their negotiations for a new contract at Brooklyn Hospital were their health insurance benefits and pension. The agreement ended the possibility of a strike by nurses. Is there a pattern developing? Just connecting the dots.
In my correspondence with an authorized Verizon representative. It was explained to me that Verizon spends more than $4 billion annually on health-care – that’s more than $400,000 every hour. Our health-care costs increase 8 to 10 percent a year. Right now, our associates do not contribute towards their health-care premiums. Although it is an aspect of continuing contract negotiations it is not the only issue being discussed.
More about Verizon, labor negotiations, Health insurance
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