Monday, July 2, 2012 8 AM; For the past few weeks, the CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committee and the CWA District 2-13/ IBEW Mid Atlantic Regional Committee met with the Company together on the issues of Job Security and Call Sharing.
Friday, June 22nd marked the one year anniversary of trying to reach a fair agreement with Verizon Communications in both the New York/New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions. From that day to this, Verizon has come to the bargaining table with an agenda of givebacks. Verizon claims it needs changes in our contracts in order to make the business more competitive. They have attacked nearly every provision of our contracts, with many items having nothing to do with competitiveness. Your New York/ New England and Mid-Atlantic CWA/IBEW Union Bargaining Committees have worked tirelessly trying to understand the Company needs while continuing to protect our members’ standard of living. We have made proposals addressing those needs while receiving nothing substantial in return from the Company. It seems no matter how far we go in our proposals to address their issues, it’s never enough.
Many of our members received a communication from Verizon EVP Marc Reed giving the Company spin on where we are in negotiations. In one statement he says, “…the company made a proposal in mid-May to continue to provide job security for the more than 38,000 associates who currently have those protections in exchange for the unions agreeing to greater work-rule flexibility.” Among the items of “flexibility” he is speaking of is the Company’s ability to force transfer you any time they want, so far from your current work location that you would have to choose between your job and your family.
He makes the Company proposal on Healthcare cost shifting sound so reasonable that you might ask yourself, “What are we waiting for? Where do I sign?” After all, it’s only, “… contributions can be as little as about $24 a month for individuals and $107 for a family. (This is not the proposal in the NY/NE or in Mid Atlantic it is slightly higher than that in both areas ). Anyway, he neglects to tell you the rest of the story. The company is also seeking additional cost-sharing measures, as they relate to office visit co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance, emergency room visits…”. What he doesn’t tell you is that those same contributions can be as much as $116 a month for individuals and $307 a month for families. And if you’re a Pre-Medicare retiree the costs can be as high as $108 per month for an individual and $298 a month for families. What Marc Reed didn’t tell you is that this is the contributions for 2012. Beginning in 2013, for each Plan year beginning after January 1, 2013, the Annual Employee Contributions for such plan year will increase by 6% over the previous year. These are the costs if you never use your healthcare. If you happen to be among the thousands of our members who have the nerve to actually use your benefits, the cost increases in the form of co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance could run you into thousands more each year.
Another thing, Marc Reed didn’t tell you, it that there will be no wage increase for the first year of the contract 2011. Another thing Mr. Reed pointedly didn’t tell you about is how the Company has on the table a diminished benefit for every new hire. This two-tier system is included in almost every Company proposal. Your Union Bargaining teams are not fooled by this approach. We know that two-tier benefits is the road that leads to certain disaster for every current and future member.
Marc Reed also did not tell you that the company wants a new title with 30% of the wages based on commissions. The company does not want to negotiate with the Union on how our members would make that 30%. The Company wants us to trust them that they will make sure that they do the right thing so that our members can make that targeted salary. Now, what do you think – should your bargaining committee – TRUST this company to do the right thing.
We have made meaningful proposals on changes to our healthcare plans, absence, medical, job security, call sharing, just to name a few. Yet, the Company has rejected every one of our proposals saying they don’t go far enough to meet their needs. At the same time, almost every proposal the Union has placed on the table has been rejected by the Company. Bargaining has recessed for the July 4th Holiday. We look forward to returning to the Bargaining table after the break. In the meantime, we need every member out there to get engaged.
Verizon is doing more than its part to destroy middle class jobs in this country. The Company is still not hearing us so it is more important than ever that we take this fight to a new level. Our members must continue to mobilize. Every member needs to commit to spending 4 hours per week participating in mobilization activities.
If you have not been involved it is time to get involved.
Call your Local and find out what you can do today to help.
IT IS TIME TO GET ANGRY! IT IS TIME TO GET INVOLVED!
IT’S TIME TO FIGHT BACK!
Mobilize! – Mobilize! – Mobilize!