Press Releases

CWA, Verizon Agree on Critical Leave and Pay Policies to Protect Workers Safety in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

CWA, Verizon Agree on Critical Leave and Pay Policies to Protect Workers Safety in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Contact: Kate Treen, kate.treen@berlinrosen.com, 805-558-6363

While companies are grappling with how to deal with COVID-19’s enormous impact on their businesses, and the government struggles to implement  appropriate policies to protect the workforce, Verizon and the Communications Workers of America, which represents about 27,000 of the company’s 135,00 workers, worked swiftly earlier this week to agree on critical leave and sick pay policies that will be extended to the company’s entire workforce. The policies will allow Verizon workers to care for themselves and loved ones without worrying about losing pay or their jobs.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made clear that all companies should take steps to protect their workers and the public. In a matter of days, CWA and Verizon came to an agreement to protect workers that are or will be hit the hardest from coronavirus.

CWA and Verizon’s leave and pay treatment are as follows:

  • Employees that are diagnosed with COVID will receive 26 weeks of paid leave.
  • Employees with an underlying health condition who are directed to stay out of the workplace by a doctor in order to insulate from COVID, including in order to protect a family member who has the underlying condition, will receive 8 weeks at full pay and up to 18 weeks at 60% pay.
  • Employees who are not able to work due to the closure of their child's school or daycare arrangements and for whom another childcare option is not available will receive 8 weeks at full pay and up to 18 weeks at 60% pay.
  • Verizon extended services for affordable childcare through a childcare agency. The agency will provide backup childcare or reimburse employees for services provided by a family member.
  • Employees who are unable to work due to caring for a family member who has COVID and are unable to make other treatment arrangements will receive 8 weeks full pay and up to 18 weeks at 60% pay.
  • With a new work-at-home arrangement, employees are now able to volunteer to work from home. 

“We are all learning in real-time how to address the impact of COVID-19 on our health, on our jobs and the economy, and with all the uncertainty around what this means for our near and long-term future, having secure and flexible systems in place to protect the health of our members is paramount right now,” says CWA District One Vice President Dennis Trainor. “We appreciate the cooperative and constructive approach taken by Verizon as we negotiated these agreements. They demonstrate the importance of having a strong union that can work closely with an  employer to do what’s best for the workers and the community. It is an approach that should be replicated by other organizations across the country which are committed to protecting workers during this perilous time.”

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The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 working men and women in telecommunications, customer service, healthcare, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing. District One represents 65,000 members in New York State.