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Updated: May. 01 (22:03)

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VZ Bargaining Report #52

Regional Bargaining Report # 52

Thursday April 28, 2016

Today, Verizon presented what it described as its “last, best, and final offer” to your bargaining teams in Philadelphia and Westchester.

Unfortunately, their “last and best” was little more than the “same old bullshit.”

Here’s what they offered that was new: an additional 1% in wages, one year of corporate profit-sharing, and at last, they backed off at least part of their demand to be able to transfer workers for two months anywhere in the footprint. (They are however, still insisting on the right to transfer workers out of state for two months if the worker can commute home in the evening).

We of course welcome higher wages and these other changes.  But what good is a wage increase if we cannot ensure that our jobs will be around a year or two from now?

The company’s latest offer fails to address the union’s commitment to preserve job security and good jobs for our members in our communities.

  • There was no movement on the closing of call centers, which could lead to subcontracting and offshoring of our work.
  • They barely budged on the issue of protecting our share of the call center work.
  • They gave us an insulting proposal on contracting out plant work that does not return any contracted work to the bargaining unit, but might possibly slow down further contracting in the future.
  • Preservation of the “job security letter” is still linked to declaring surpluses by organization and eliminating seniority protections for transfers.
  • They are still looking to reduce our disability benefits.
  • They are still proposing to freeze pension accruals at 30 years.
  • There is still not one word about improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of Verizon Wireless retail store employees or a fair contract for the VZW techs.

Even before the company finished up this insulting presentation, it posted videos on its website designed to persuade our members that this was a reasonable offer and that we should end our strike.

Your bargaining committee was infuriated by this move in particular, and blasted the company for its arrogance and unwillingness after 10 months of bargaining to address the concerns of 39,000 CWA and IBEW members from Massachusetts to Virginia.

As usual, we are prepared to continue bargaining towards a fair contract.  The company can call  their proposals whatever they want: “last, best, final”; “first and worst”; “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” Calling it the “last, best and final” is just a tired way of trying to intimidate our members into accepting a contract that we can’t live with.  It hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work now.

We will continue bargaining and striking until we get the contract that you deserve.  The strike is incredibly effective.  Picket lines are strong across the footprint. Business in Wireless stores has plummeted.  The scabs are making mistakes right and left, endangering themselves and the public with their unsafe practices—two of them nearly electrocuted themselves cutting a LIPA electric line in Garden City yesterday, and others dropped a telephone pole on a customer’s house in New Jersey—and they are failing to get any work accomplished.  A restaurant in New Brunswick featured a sign in the window that their online reservations system has been down because Verizon couldn’t fix their internet for 8 days, and that Verizon was being very unhelpful.

We are continuing to escalate the strike.  We are spreading picketing at Wireless stores across the country.  We are headed to the shareholders meeting in Albuquerque a week from today.

Meanwhile, your bargaining committee is working on next steps and will keep you posted on any new developments in bargaining.  Stay strong, stay united, stay militant.  We are winning.

NYS Unemployment Insurance for VZ Strike
We have been working with the New York State Department of Labor on a plan to have members easily sign up for unemployment benefits (U.I.). 
They have provided  the following link www.labor.ny.gov/verizonworkers and a fact sheet (attached). 
Call 1-877-358-5306 for out-of-state residents. Unemployment insurance in New York is generally about half of your regular pay, with a maximum weekly payment of $420.
Members should file a claim right away to see if they are eligible for UI benefits now or after 49 days. Right now it looks like there will be a 49 day waiting period but we encourage all members in New York State to apply for the benefits now so the department will not be overwhelmed when and/or if we become eligible for the benefit.
Members should be careful to say that they are not working due to a labor dispute or strike.
VZ Bargaining Report #51

Regional Bargaining Report # 51

Tuesday April 19, 2016

The CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met today at the Rye town Hilton.

We informed the Company bargaining committee members that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam had been out to a few picket lines talking to striking members.  

We advised them that McAdam made the following incorrect statements to our members:

1. The stuff about taking job security away is “B.S.”
2. Medical benefits and wages are settled.
3. Only DSL calls are being routed to the Philippines  

At first the Company said that they heard that McAdam had been to picket lines but they were unfamiliar with what he actually said. (CEO goes to picket line, articulates company bargaining position to striking workers, but the company bargaining team is unaware of what he is saying?)  Then they argued that what McAdam said didn’t matter anyway because their proposal speaks for itself. (CEO’s bargaining position doesn’t matter; he’s only the CEO).  Since the Company had not seen the tape of the Syracuse encounter, we showed it to them so they could hear their CEO making these statements.  The Company had no explanation to offer after viewing the tape.

We then had a heated discussion regarding transfers.

The Union gave examples that show that the company already has a great deal of flexibility on in-state transfers and that the Company routinely misuses that flexibility at the expense of our members. The Union pointed out that over the term of the last contract the Company permanently transferred thousands of workers and also temporarily transferred thousands more workers throughout New York State. When the Union asked the Company for information on the numbers of temporary transfers they told us that they don’t keep track of that. (Verizon doesn’t know where their employees are working - Really?)

We also discussed the Company’s Article 8 proposal and the Company was unsure on how this proposal would affect their employees. 

We asked the Company if they had anything to address our needs – they said No.

The Company has not moved off of any of their retrogressive proposals.

 

Sooner or later the company will get the message: Our members are united in the fight for good jobs. We are NOT backing down. If they didn’t know it before yesterday, 8000 strikers and their allies marching in the streets of Manhattan should have convinced them.  Yesterday was incredible—a terrific job done by all the locals.  Many members are saying it was the best rally they could ever remember!

Picket lines are strong everywhere.  We are hitting the Wireless stores hard.  We are getting internal, reliable reports from Wireless stores that sales are plummeting.  We are keeping customers out.  Keep up the good work.

CWA and IBEW are showing the way for the country.  As Bernie Sanders told 8500 supporters in Queens last night: “These men and women on strike at Verizon are fighting for every working person in America!”  Keep up the great work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VZ Bargaining Report #50

Regional Bargaining Report # 50

Thursday April 7, 2016

The CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met yesterday at the Rye town Hilton.

Last week during off the record discussions the Union laid out to the Company a path to a contract by addressing the Company’s critical needs. We also made it clear to them that in order to reach an agreement they would have to address the Union’s critical needs and drop all of the remaining retrogressive demands.

Yesterday the Company gave us a proposal that contained no movement from their previous proposal to address our critical needs. There was no movement in wages, it continues to freeze pensions at 30 years and still allows them to increase contracting and off-shoring of our work.

The Company’s proposal still contains retrogressive demands that include:

  • Job Security- Eliminate the no-layoff protections for workers hired before 2003 unless the Unions agree to other concessions
  • Disability- a diminishment of our disability plans for members who get injured on the job 
  • Call Sharing- the elimination of home based routing, a reduction in the percentage of calls and the ability to route all calls for new products or services to contractors for 9 months
  • Corporate Profit Sharing- Eliminate
  • Closing call centers- the closing of centers that would result in transferring members up to 80 miles from their current work location
  • Force Adjustment Plan- the ability to declare surpluses and offer IPP by organization which would circumvent seniority within your title
  • Article 8- the ability to transfer members with little regard to seniority effectively destroying the Article 8 provision in the Plant contract
  • Work/Family- reduce the funding by $600,000 over the life of the contract
  • Tuition Assistance Plan- major changes that would drastically limit the courses a member could take
  • Dependent Eligibility for benefits- Eliminate sponsored children and Class II dependents effective 1-1-18

In their proposal, the Company also had the audacity to threaten our members that if a contract isn’t ratified by May 20th  they would have the right to temporarily transfer technicians from Massachusetts to Virginia for up to 60 days while allowing technicians to be transferred into your state to do your work and make Sunday part of your regular workweek.

The Company’s proposal also shifts more healthcare costs on to our retirees even though the Union had agreed to allow the Company to implement a Medicare Advantage Plan that would save them tens of millions of dollars.

Verizon is a hugely profitable and greedy corporation that is intent on driving down the living standards of the workers who make their profits possible - not because they “need” the savings, but because they “want” the savings and they believe they have the power to do so.

At this point, every member should be ready to strike at a moments notice! 

CWA PRESIDENT CHRIS SHELTON WILL BE ANNOUNCING A STRIKE DATE WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

VZ Bargaining Report #49

Regional Bargaining Report # 49

Friday April 1, 2016

The CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees spent many hours at the Rye Town Hilton this week working on ideas that we believe address the Company’s most important concerns in reaching a new contract.

No formal proposals were passed across the table, but we had an informal discussion with the Company today in which we communicated these ideas.  But in those sidebar discussions, we also made it crystal clear that the unions will make no further movement at the bargaining table unless the Company addresses our members’ critical needs and takes their remaining retrogressive demands off the table.

Our committees have worked hard to grapple with and respond to the company’s concerns. Time is running out.  Now is the time for the company to address the concerns of the hard-working union members at Verizon. If the Company wants to avoid a Strike they must seize this opportunity.

The parties are scheduled to meet on Monday.

Mobilize!  Mobilize!  Mobilize!

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