Statement From Verizon Wireless On Union Negotiations

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Bob Varettoni, Verizon spokesperson, issued the following statement about the company's negotiations with union workers.

"Contract negotiations with 45,000 union employees in the Northeast have been ongoing since last August.  In negotiations, the company is not seeking to take away any pensions already earned and active employees would continue to accrue traditional pension benefits… the pension changes would only apply to any new hires, who would be eligible for a 401k retirement savings program, including a generous company match.  Current unionized employees receive both the traditional pension plan and a 401K.

Right now, union employees pay $0 toward their healthcare premiums, making them part of the 1% of American workers who do not pay toward their healthcare contributions. The company proposal is for healthcare premium contributions of a few hundred dollars for individuals and under $1,500 for families.  The average salary plus overtime for many of these workers exceeds $90,000 – and their benefits package is already valued at more than $40,000.  These are great jobs – and the goal of Verizon in these negotiations is put the company in a position to preserve these jobs.  These employees do not work in Alabama… they are unionized employees in our wireline business in the Northeast, working in a part of the business that faces ongoing profitability challenges, unlike our Verizon Wireless business.

Regarding executive compensation… Verizon was one of the first companies in the nation to put its executive compensation plans up for shareholder votes for approval.  In each of the past three years, shareholders have approved our executive compensation plans by an average of 90% of the vote.  There will be another vote this morning, and I will let you know the result."