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Local Bargaining Report #1

Potomac Local Bargaining Report #1

Monday, June 29, 2015

Local Potomac Bargaining opened today to discuss issues related to the Potomac contract.  Proposals were presented by both the Union and the Company.
The Union presented proposals on improvements to Article 1, Recognition, Article 6A, Access to Employee Personnel Files, Article 10, Responsible Union-Company Relationship, Article 10A, Occupational Safety and Health, Article18, Special City Allowance and Article 22, Temporary Assignments.

The Company proposed changes to Article 9, Absence for Union Business, Article 12, Grievances and Grievance Meeting Procedure, Article 37, Termination Allowance, Exhibit I, Business Attire MOU and the VCS Scope Agreement.  The Company’s Local proposals seem to be cut from the same template as its Regional proposals.  They are nothing more than attacks on the limited protections our members currently work under.

Over the past few years we have seen this company manipulate the intent of our contractual language regarding many issues.  Your Potomac bargaining committee is committed to fight for the changes we need in our contract to ensure that there is a clear understanding going forward.  We are committed to fight against the Company’s push for workforce flexibility that equates to more restrictions on our members.

The Local committees are scheduled to meet again tomorrow.

Local Bargaining Report #2

Potomac Local Bargaining Report #2

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Potomac Local Bargaining committee met with the Company today. The company asked questions related to the proposals the Union passed yesterday. 

The Union presented additional proposals on improvements to Article 24, Overtime and Sunday Practices, Article 26, Inclement Weather, Article 27, Emergency Call-Outs, Article 28, Travel Allowances, Travel Time and Expense Payments, Article 29, Reimbursement of Incidental Expenses.

The intent of the Union’s proposals is to make our members lives better by fairly compensating them for the work they do.  On the other hand management’s proposals are clearly intended to be retrogressive and seek to diminish language and protections our members have today.  The Company is not interested in looking for ways to work together to face the challenges of the future.  They are interested in gutting our contract and destroying our middle class jobs.

Local bargaining has recessed for the day but will resume tomorrow afternoon.

Local Bargaining Report #3

Potomac Local Bargaining Report #3

Wednesday July 1, 2015

The Potomac Local Bargaining committee met with the Company today. The Union presented additional proposals on improvements to Article 31, Vacations, Article 32, Payments During First Seven Days of Sickness Absence and Article 33, Excused Time. 

The company did not submit any additional proposals today.

Verizon is not a Company facing a financial crisis. Verizon is extremely profitable. The New York Times just reported that Verizon topped the list of publicly traded companies in New York City with more than $127 BILLION in revenue.  Verizon netted a 35.34% three year stock return and recorded $9.6 BILLION in profits in 2014. Verizon should be ashamed to come to the bargaining table demanding retrogressive changes.

The Regional Bargaining Committee is scheduled to meet with the Company tomorrow. We need to continue to stand strong and get our message out that we are more committed than  we’ve ever been to fight to protect our wages, benefits and working conditions.  

Tomorrow is Thursday so remember to wear your RED!

Local Bargaining Report #4

Potomac Local Bargaining Report #4

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Potomac Local Bargaining Committee met with the Company late last week and again today. On Thursday, the Union passed a series of proposals regarding Differentials, Promotional Wage Adjustments, Transfer & Reassignment, Work Schedules, Seniority, Layoffs and other issues to improve and reduce ambiguity in contractual language. 

Today the Union passed an information request as well as proposals regarding Overtime, Holidays, and Seniority.

The Company has decided in the last few years to come up with alternative interpretations of the language that has been in our contract for decades. As we have filed numerous grievances on various issues challenging the historical interpretations it is important to change the language when we can. Our proposals are designed to make this happen. As you can imagine the company has a different agenda.

It has been disheartening to see the most important issues to our members mean little to nothing to the management of this company. When we demand our members be treated humanely and have the opportunity to have a life outside of Verizon, the company representatives have no response or acknowledgement of how shameful the work rules and forced overtime are at Verizon.

The Bargaining team is committed to making a positive change in these negotiations. We want to thank everyone for the work that you are doing in the field.

Keep up the mobilization and remind this company that we are not mindless automatons. We are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. We only want the chance to work an honest day for an honest wage and the respect we deserve as the people who make this company work.

Local Bargaining Report #5

Potomac Bargaining Report #5

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Local Bargaining Committee met twice with the company today. We passed proposals re-introducing a mediation process to our grievance procedure, working in unsafe areas, improvements on relocation expenses and Operator Service Monitoring. We also passed a series of data requests dealing with contracting in different job titles.

Since day one, we have introduced over 30 proposals at the Local Table in an attempt to make meaningful changes to our contract, to improve our working conditions and to protect our future...and we are not done!! To date, the Company has yet to respond to a single one.

The bargaining committee will continue to work hard to win a fair and equitable contract. We also appreciate that every member is working just as hard mobilizing, all the while being subjected to a ridiculous interpretation of a Long Term Service difficulty.

As we used to hear, “No job is so important and no service is so urgent that we cannot take time to do our job safely.” NOTHING is more important than your safety!!! Make sure you go home safely at the end of your tour!!

Local Bargaining Report #6

Potomac Bargaining Report #6

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Potomac Local Bargaining Committee met with the company yesterday evening and again this afternoon. The Union rejected several company proposals on Forced Transfers, Overtime, Technological Change, Temporary Assignments, Permanent Transfers, Contracting Fiber Facilities and an Electronic Version of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In addition, we passed a series of data requests dealing with contracting in the Central Office Technician, Cable Splicing Technician, Services Technician and Engineering Assistant job titles. We also passed a data request to clarify work performed in the HSI-DSL workgroup, Home Garaging provisions and Termination Allowances. 

The Union also passed proposals over improving Business Attire allowances and introduced a proposal that would allow for an annual boot allowance for all employees required to wear proper foot protection.

The company rejected 16 out of 19 of our initial proposals completely and abstained on 3 others for additional consideration. The rejected proposals were passed to advance working conditions and provide a better quality of life for our members. The company rejected issues regarding Occupational Safety & Health, Special City Allowances, Temporary Assignments, Overtime & Sunday Practices, Inclement Weather, Emergency Call-Outs, Travel Allowances, Travel Time and Expense Payments, Reimbursement of Incidental Expenses, Vacations, Payments During First Seven Days of Sickness Absence, Excused Time, Differentials, Promotional Wage Adjustments, Transfer & Reassignment, Work Schedules & Changes in Scheduled Work Time, Seniority and  Responsible Union Company Relationship citing they are not interested in expanding their costs, expanding their "burdensome administrative obligations" and expressing a need for more flexibility to service  customers.

The Potomac Bargaining Committee is committed to addressing every contract provision Verizon continues to exploit on a daily basis. Your mobilization efforts will help us deliver a fair and equitable agreement that eliminates the harassing and bullying tactics used today. July 25th will be our rallying point in New York City to send Verizon a message that we are ready for this fight. See you there!!

Local Bargaining Report #7

Potomac Bargaining Report # 7

 Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Potomac Local Bargaining committee has met with the company multiple times since our last Local report. Today, we again reminded the Company we have outstanding requests for information since early July. We also passed proposals on the Business Services Agreement, changes to Article 41, contracting out and promoting those employees in jobs where other higher-paid titles are doing similar tasks.

Like a broken record, the company repeated again they were not interested in dealing with additional administrative burdens or adding more costs to the business while rejecting our proposals on Vacations, Promotional Wage Adjustments, Transfer and Reassignment Protections, Mediation and equal treatment for all employees on Christmas Eve.

In these meetings we have asked a series of questions in an attempt to determine the company’s justifications to try and move these negotiations forward. Unfortunately, after much back and forth at the table, it‘s clear that the company is not willing to negotiate. Bargaining is about listening, communicating and working together and this company has not demonstrated any willingness to do that.

Today is Thursday, July 30th and by now we felt we should be much further in negotiations. We’re two days out and the Company’s bargaining team has only been given permission to say one word, “reject”. The fact is none of us can live with what the company has put on the table. They are trying to show that they are stronger, that they think they can intimidate and scare us, but they are sadly mistaken. They forget that we are the ones that work in the extreme cold and heat, work insane amounts of overtime to meet customer needs due to constant mismanagement and endure endless amounts of job related stress due to the continuous monitoring. Your bargaining committee knows what is at stake and is determined to stay at the table as long as it takes to get a fair contract. What we ask of all of you is to keep the pressure up. Stay strong and make this company understand that none of us will accept the retrogressive demands they have put on the table. 

Keep mobilizing Brothers and Sisters!

Local Bargaining Report #8

Potomac Local Bargaining Report #8

Wednesday October 21, 2015

The Potomac Bargaining Committee met with the Company twice today in Philadelphia to continue discussion on both parties open issues. While there had been several "off-table" discussions the past few weeks which seemed to move the parties closer on a few issues the company today rejected Union proposals regarding moving NFO Technicians to the appropriate Core job title, modifications on Article 41 (Cancellation and Duration), exclusivity over bargaining unit work currently being performed by contractors, changes in the Scope Agreement and automatic promotions for Services Technician or Outside Plant Technicians working on any fiber optic based platform. The company also rejected several proposed improvements to the grievance process and exclusivity over all work being performed in HSI Call Centers.

In the afternoon session, the Union rejected the company's proposals mandating changes regarding Absences for Union Duty, Grievance Meeting Procedures, Termination Allowances and the expansion of work at VCSI including the expansion of contractors.

The Union also challenged the Company's decision to force customers currently on the copper network in Potomac to the fiber network where available. According to a company document covered with technicians today, customers who have initiated a trouble ticket on the copper network and who can be migrated to the fiber network will not get the copper trouble fixed unless it is a medical emergency. If the customer does not agree to the move to the fiber network the technician is to then contact the Fiber Support Center to get a disconnect order issued. The company advised the Union this will affect customers located in Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties in Maryland and in certain areas of Virginia.

Local Bargaining has recessed for the week but is scheduled to resume next Tuesday.

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