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Verizon Makes ‘Last, Best Offer'

Verizon said it presented its final offer to leaders of the CWA and IBEW unions, whose Verizon wireless employee members have been on strike in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

That offer, the company said, was a 7.5% wage increase over the term of the contract and what the company maintained was affordable, high quality healthcare.

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Among the other highlights of what Verizon says is its "last, best" offer were layoff protection in exchange for "flexibility" in deploying the workforce via voluntary, incentivized retirement and other "changes."

It also said it was continuing its 401K match and pension plan and increasing healthcare contributions.

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Verizon also made its final proposals on call routing, contracting and temporary assignments.

But Verizon signaled it was improving what it thought had already been an excellent compensation and benefit program.

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Verizon said about 36,000 are on strike, but that number is decreasing--it says more than a thousand of the striking workers have returned to work.

CWA, which puts the number of strikers at almost 40,000, responded that the strike was still on.

"Verizon workers remain on strike and are standing strong on the picket lines," said Dennis G. Trainor, VP, CWA District One and Ed Mooney, VP, CWA District 2-1, in a joint statement. "At negotiating sessions in Westchester and Philadelphia today, executives refused to back off of callous proposals that would hurt working families and destroy middle class jobs, including shipping jobs overseas and outsourcing work. The company also failed to budge on the issues facing Verizon Wireless workers Verizon workers, customers and shareholders need the company to get serious about negotiations and building a stronger company."