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IBEW Reaches Tentative
Agreement With Avaya

WASHINGTON, DC-Nearly a month of tough talks secured IBEW members a three-year agreement with Avaya on June 1, two days after a strike had been authorized. Complete with a ratification bonus and improvements to wages and pensions, the contract offers help to workers at the struggling telecommunications company.

The collective bargaining agreement includes a three-percent general wage increase each year of the contract that covers 1,700 members working in operations and manufacturing in New England, New Jersey, Illinois and Omaha, Nebraska. Negotiators also secured assurances the company will continue to pay medical premiums for active employees and retirees.

Senior technicians have also been guaranteed job security for at least the next 18 months, said IBEW lead negotiator Dennis Slaman.

Job security in a company that is really not doing too well in this kind of economy was a really big issue to resolve, said Slaman, who is co-chairman of the IBEW system council that represents Avaya workers.

The contract offers a 15 percent pension increase for workers who retire before August 31, a significant plus for the 1,100 IBEW members at the Omaha manufacturing plant Avaya hopes to sell.

The previous five-year agreement expired May 31. Ninety-three percent of IBEW members voted in favor of a strike if the parties could not reach an agreement.

IBEW members at Avaya will begin voting on ratification of the contract, a process that is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Founded in 1891, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is a 775,000-member union representing workers in telecommunications, construction, utilities, manufacturing, broadcasting, railroads and government.