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Regional Bargaining Report #1

Regional Bargaining Report #1

Monday June 22, 2015

Bargaining with Verizon began today with the Company and the Unions exchanging opening remarks and stating their respective goals for this round of bargaining. CWA District 2-13, CWA District 1 NJ and IBEW NJ are negotiating for new contracts in Philadelphia while CWA District 1 and IBEW NY and NE are negotiating for new contracts at the Rye Town Hilton in Westchester County.

Ed Mooney, Vice President District 2-13 gave an opening statement to the Company at the Regional Bargaining table. Ed closed his statement by stating, “CWA is committed to Verizon’s continued success.  We are united in our commitment to improve our living standards for our families, to provide security for our retirees, and to secure good well –paid union jobs for the future.  We are united in our commitment to fight for fairness – we are the foundation upon which the success of Verizon rests.  

We have helped to boost the company’s earnings and productivity even through a global recession.  It is now our turn to share equitably in that growth.

When workers at Verizon improve their living standards through collective bargaining, all of our communities also benefit.  When CWA members succeed at the bargaining table, when we secure a better standard of living for our members, we help to boost the entire U.S. economy. 

In IBEW 827 Local President Bob Speers’ opening statement he reminded the company of the achievements reached over the years when Verizon worked with the Unions and not against us. He also committed to work to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of all of our members.

After opening statements, Verizon gave the Unions an insulting and retrogressive comprehensive proposal. The Regional Bargaining Committee has adjourned for today and will resume bargaining tomorrow.


Regional Bargaining Report #2

Regional Bargaining Report #2 

Tuesday June 23, 2015


There was no formal bargaining session today at the Regional table. The Union bargaining committee spent most of today working on the Union’s proposals and also reviewing the company’s package from yesterday’s session.  

Bargaining is scheduled to resume tomorrow. 

Regional Bargaining Report #3

Regional Bargaining Report #3

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The CWA Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining team met with the company twice today in Philadelphia. The morning meeting consisted of presentations from the company on healthcare costs. The Bargaining team will review the information provided and identify issues where additional information or clarification may be required.

In the late afternoon, the Bargaining team again met with the company and presented initial proposals designed to recognize the hardships our members and retirees face dealing with medical issues. Included were proposals on improving retiree coverage and restoring active and retiree medical to the pre-2012 plan design and contribution level. We also submitted proposals to enhance training opportunities within the workplace, educational assistance and to provide assistance for members dealing with work/life issues. We continue to evaluate the company’s comprehensive proposal and will prepare an appropriate response.

The Union told the company we desire to reach a contract in a reasonable time frame and find common ground. The Company also expressed a similar desire but were less than respectful commenting “the Union is from a different era” after we had presented some of our initial proposals.

We are early in this process and your bargaining team is working hard to ensure that we fight for the issues you submitted in the bargaining surveys. We will work to make sure that any agreement includes protections our members need against a company who disrespects us on the job, in the media and at the bargaining table.

Tomorrow is Thursday. Tomorrow, this company should see a sea of red at every workplace from every employee united in sending a message that it is truly “Our Turn”. That message should carry back to the executives of this company that have no problem in paying themselves a 16% raise yet claiming poverty and blaming a changing environment when we ask for our fair share of the profits.

If you didn’t care before, or if you didn’t pay attention to what this company is doing to you and every other member every day on the job, or if you didn’t hear the Company’s message about the direction they want to take this company and the part you would play in its future, NOW is the time to start giving a damn. The Company will lay off 42 Service Technicians in Pennsylvania this Friday rather than negotiate with the Union an alternative to layoffs. They don’t want any of us. 

It will take EVERY SINGLE employee to stand up, mobilize and demand respect to continue our future at this company.

Regional Bargaining Report #4

Regional Bargaining Report #4
June 25, 2015

Bargaining resumed today to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T…………Apparently we struck a nerve with the Company’s bargaining committee when we reported out yesterday on the Company’s disrespectful comment that “the union is from a different era.” 

Rather than focus on our bargaining reports, perhaps the Company should spend some quality time reviewing the proposals that have been passed to them by the Union bargaining committee and revisiting their comprehensive package from Monday, June 22, 2015 which is nowhere close to addressing the many issues and concerns that have been raised by our members.

Our session today focused on the Union’s proposals to improve the pension plan for both active and retired members, the 401K Plan and Corporate Profit Sharing.
The Company offered no proposals today.

As you can see, the company is paying attention to what is taking place during this round of negotiations. We need to stay engaged and keep up the mobilization activities out in the field. It cannot be Business as Usual until we have an agreement.

Your bargaining team will continue to work towards achieving an agreement that will secure our future with this company. We appreciate your support and ask that every member gets involved.

It’s “Our Turn” and together we will succeed.

Regional Bargaining Report #5

Regional Bargaining Report #5

June 26, 2015

CWA District 2-13 and NJ CWA District 1 Regional Bargaining Teams met with the Company today. The first thing we did was hand the company a laid off member’s family photo to remind the company that the 42 people they are laying off in PA are actual people with families, not just numbers. When they close their eyes to sleep tonight, we hope that family portrait is ingrained in their minds.

We requested information to the proposal Verizon passed earlier this week. Here is a sample of some of the retrogressive items in the proposal:

JOB SECURITY Remove the protections against layoffs and forced transfers.

COST-OF-LIVING No Cost of Living increase

CORPORATE PROFIT SHARING at risk if not settled by specified dates, no increase with no minimum.

DIFFERENTIALS AND PREMIUM PAY Tour differentials will be paid only for actual hours worked between 9pm and 6am, no Weekend differential, and eliminate all differentials that exceed 10%

OVERTIME only after 40 hours per week, eliminate all overtime payments over 1 ½ per hour, remove all limits/caps on overtime

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE NOTICE reduce notice given to the Union of any major technological changes

BENEFITS the company proposes major reductions in medical benefits, including introducing deductibles and increased co-pays, co-insurance and premium payments, removing the Union’s ability to negotiate retiree health care benefits

PENSION BENEFITS all accruals will be frozen at 30 years, those with more than 30 years at the time of this change will be frozen at their accrued amount, the “lump sum”Cash Out provision will not be renewed.

401(K) PLAN PROVISIONS AND CHANGES a quarterly administrative fee and a $50 fee for processing new loans, no 401k option for members in the pension plan

DISABILITY BENEFITS eliminate the “Accident” portion of the Sickness/Accident Disability Plan. Limit the use of full paid weeks under mental illness, drug and alcohol condition as well as for musculoskeletal disorders.

SHARING OF CALLS AMONG CENTERS giving the Company additional leeway to route calls out of our bargaining units and to contractors while giving contractors the exclusive handling of all new products and services.

TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT to any state.

TUITION ASSISTANCE expanding the list of “excluded” studies

ACFC/TABEC COMMITTEES’ drastic reductions

EVALUATIVE OBSERVATIONS remove any restrictions on when evaluative observations may be taken

VACATION SCHEDULING PERCENTAGES reduce the percentage of vacation time

CONTRACTING FIBER FACILITIES TRANSFERS AND RELOCATIONS Allows the Company to use contractors to transfer fiber optic facilities and associated electronics between poles and perform other work current prohibited under the “Broadband” and other Agreements

ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF CALLS no advance notice and extend feedback from 24 hours to 7 days

INCOME SECURITY PLAN Employees will be required to sign a release; offer will be reduced to 15 days

Any one of these items could drastically change your life. Imagine if they all were implemented. Stand united!

Regional Bargaining Report #6

Regional Bargaining Report #6

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Regional bargaining committee met today with the company.

The Union asked some clarifying questions on the Company’s Tuition Assistance and 401k proposal. The Union also presented the Company with several information requests relative to health care and pension plans. The Company modified one of their proposals on Same-sex benefits.

Bargaining has recessed for the day and is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, July 7th.

By now everyone should have heard about the Mass Rally in New York on Saturday, July 25th. All locals should be making plans to bring as many people as possible to show Verizon how serious we are about getting a fair contract. With the treatment we have received over the past few years this company needs a wakeup call. The Bargaining Committee will be on the bus. See you there!

Regional Bargaining Report # 7

Mid Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report #7

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company twice today. During the morning session, the bargaining committee asked the company questions related to its healthcare proposal.   As proposed the company’s healthcare proposal would result in a significant increase in costs to our members.  The bargaining committee must take the time to do an extensive review of the company’s proposal to identify all of the cost shifting contained in the proposal.


In the afternoon we met again with the company to ask additional healthcare related questions and passed several proposals to the company on Electronic Monitoring, Stress, Excused Work Days and Transfer Rights. 


Your bargaining committee continues to work to get a fair contract as bargaining enters the third week.  Preparations are being made for Strike Authorization Votes to be held in all Locals.  It is increasingly important that we have strong workplace mobilization and be unified in this fight. Mobilization and negotiation go hand in hand and are crucial to a successful outcome.  Make your plans to get on the bus to attend the Mass Rally in NY on July 25th.  


Keep up the pressure and we will see everyone in New York!


Regional Bargaining Report #8

Mid Atlantic Bargaining Report #8

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Your Regional Bargaining Committee spent today working on proposals to put the UNION’s agenda across the table.  You may have or soon will be receiving an e mail from Marc Reed, Verizon’s Executive Vice President explaining to you the Company’s proposal to slash your retirement security.

It will state that you have two options:

 Option A - Continue to participate in the pension plan but it freezes at 30 years and lose any company matching contributions to the 401(k) plan.

Or

 Option B - Give up future pension accrual and participate in the 401 (k) with 100% match and possible profit sharing contributions up to 3% of salary.

What the e mail doesn’t say is the Union proposed:

 Option C - Our proposals include pensions for all employees, higher pension amounts, to retain the lump sum cash out, and an improved 401 (k) plan for all employees.

While Verizon proposes to destroy your retirement security, it’s a safe bet that Marc Reed and the top executives of this corporation don’t have to worry about the size of their retirement portfolios.  Verizon should stop wasting their time writing lengthy e mails filled with propaganda and get serious at the bargaining table. 

Why would a corporation as wealthy as Verizon want to diminish retirement security from its employees?  We could think of only one reason, and it rhymes with Reed -

GREED!

Regional Bargaining Report # 9

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report #9

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee met with the Company this morning and passed several proposals regarding, Increases to Incidental Absence Caps, Breach of Identity Security Protection, Increases to Supplemental Pension Benefits and the Regional Associate Mobility Plan (RAMP).

In addition, the Union rejected the Company’s information request for copies of all contracts CWA holds with other telecommunication companies. CWA stated there is no relevance in their request of such information to what is taking place at this bargaining table.

The Company had no proposals for the Union today.

Your bargaining committee continues reviewing information provided by the company on the Pension and 401K plans. We are also working on our remaining agenda items to present to Vz on Monday, July 13th.

As we work to get a fair contract that ensures job security and other protections for all members, we ask that the mobilization efforts continue in the field. 

Everyone should be making plans to attend the rally in New York on July 25th.

Regional Bargaining Report # 10

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 10

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee met with the company today and passed proposals that affect the quality of life issues that our members face on a daily basis in the work place. Our proposals focused on providing increases in time off and greater flexibility to the membership when scheduling and taking time off the job. The union also requested data associated with the Electronic Recording of Calls, Medical Restrictions and Adherence and Handling Time.

Your bargaining team understands the stressful working conditions members work under every day. We will continue to push your agenda throughout this process and will introduce additional proposals directed at improving the working conditions for all members across Mid-Atlantic.

We appreciate all of the mobilization activities Locals are conducting daily. Every member should engage in some mobilization activity to show this greedy company IT’S OUR TURN!

The Balls keeps bouncing and our GFY is fully functional!

Regional Bargaining Report # 11

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 11

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The CWA Mid Atlantic Regional Bargaining Team met with the company today. The Union began the session by presenting several new proposals dealing with issues involving wages, retirement security and job security.

The company presented an overview of its retirement proposal. The explanation focused on cost savings for the company and freezing the hard earned benefits of our brothers and sisters. Their proposal undermines a core component of the foundation of labor, a secure retirement.

By now, we should all have gotten another “Team” note from Mr. Reed of Verizon on Health Care. Whoever writes for Mr. Reed, should read the health care information supplied by the company at CWA’s request. If they had, they would have learned that:

Since 2012 the average annual claims cost of our healthcare plans have remained flat or declined appreciably.

Examples:

MEP for an active employee, - down 17.5%

MCN for an active employee and their family – down 15.2%

But that’s not all!!

Pre-Medicare retiree MCN, is down 14.4%

Pre-Medicare Retiree and Spouse MCN is down 10.1%

Medicare Retiree and Spouse MCN is down 5.9%

And these reductions in Verizon paid claims expenses DO NOT include our premium sharing. If Mr. Reed wants to talk Health Care, he’s welcome to join us at the bargaining table.

This Bargaining committee remains committed to maintaining the standards won by CWA through decades of hard fought victories. Don't let company rhetoric sidetrack your mobilization efforts in the field. Make sure you read between the lines whenever the company issues a manifesto of doublespeak. They truly don't ever have your best interest at heart!!

THE BALLS ARE NOW IN THE COMPANY’S COURT!

IT’S OUR TURN!!

Regional Bargaining Report # 12

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report # 12

Friday, July 17, 2015

There are no meetings scheduled with the Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Team and the Company today. The regional bargaining committee is reviewing the pension information provided by the company yesterday and working on an appropriate response to the Company’s pension proposal.

The Bargaining committee is also working on our proposal to bring work back to the Mid-Atlantic Region. We are currently reviewing data associated with this proposal and will attempt to protect all work from being contracted out as well as returning work previously removed from the bargaining unit.

All Local and Regional tables are scheduled to meet with the company early next week as the expiration of our contracts nears.

Locals need to continue with their strike authorization votes and planning for the rally in New York City on Saturday, July 25th. This is our day to show Verizon that we are serious about protecting our families’ futures in this round of bargaining. Every member should make a commitment to be there to show Verizon THIS IS OUR TIME and we will stand up together and fight for what is ours.

Regional Bargaining Report # 13

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report #13

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Team met with the Company today to review its Call Sharing proposal. Under the terms of this proposal, Verizon would not have any restrictions on routing calls. The proposal would allow Verizon to route calls to any call center or vendor based on a matrix of skill sets. Verizon’s proposal does not provide for any limits on the contracting of work. Basically, Verizon wants a disposable workforce of contractors in every job title and every job function.

Verizon's proposal is an insult to every worker employed here today. It is an insult to every retiree who built this company from the ground up. Contractors have no vested interest other than a quick paycheck and a shiny spot on their resume'. This round of bargaining is not about allowing more contracting of bargaining unit work – it’s about CWA members performing the bargaining unit work. It’s Our Turn!!

The Regional table is scheduled to meet with the company again tomorrow.

By now you should have already made plans to attend the Rally in New York City on July 25th. Every CWA member has a stake in this game. We need to show Verizon we will fight to the end to protect our jobs and ensure our families futures.

Regional Bargaining Report # 14

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report # 14

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Union and the Company met this morning. The Union provided proposals on Neutrality, Sales Pro-Ration and Call Sharing.

The Union then responded with a resounding rejection of the Company’s June 22 Comprehensive proposal:

 Wages — rejected as being inadequate

 COLA, we rejected the Company’s proposal of no Cost of Living

 CPS, we rejected the Company’s proposal and referred the Company to the Union’s CPS proposal

 Differential, Premium Pay, Over Time, we rejected

 Health Care, Life Insurance, Prescription drugs and Vision coverage. Although the Company still owes the Union responses to earlier information requests, we have no interest in their proposed changes and reject the Company proposal to end bargaining for Retiree Health Care.

 401K and Pensions, rejected

 Disability Benefits Changes, rejected

 Sharing of Calls, rejected and referred the Company to the Union’s proposal

 HCBC,ACFC,TABEC,IME,Evaluative Observations, Vacation Schedule, Fiber Facility Contracting, Electronic Recording of Calls, ISP, Work at Home, all rejected.

The Union advised the Company that we will have additional proposals to present tomorrow.

Verizon reported this morning that we helped Deliver Double Digit Adjusted Earnings Growth and Strong Cash flows during the Second Quarter of 2015. Of note was the 10% year over year FIOS revenue growth. The Company proposal of give backs is an insult to every Verizon member. We all deserve better!

Regional Bargaining Report # 15

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 15

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bargaining continued today with the first of two meetings centered on the company’s retrogressive proposal on The Sickness and Accident Disability Benefit Plan. Verizon’s benefit specialist, who was brought in to try to sell this plan was met with many hard questions and facts that were either unanswered or conceded to by the company. 

It was clear to this bargaining team that the data that the company supplied for this proposal not only fell short of providing any explanation as to why they were interested in making this demand but supported the unions argument not to change this Disability Benefit. The tables recessed for a period and reconvened a short time later. 

During the later session, the union gave the company an information request to address the call sharing proposal and the work performed by contractors under the terms of the current agreement. Prior to the end of our meeting this afternoon, the union reinforced the structure of our bargaining process in an attempt to more efficiently utilize our remaining time before the August 1st contract expiration date.

We are 9 days out from the expiration of this contract and it’s time for everyone to make sure the good fight for a fair contract is being waged in every work center. The membership needs to get in managements ear every day and tell them, “We Will Settle for Nothing Less than a Fair Contract for our Members”. Actions are already occurring all across the Mid-Atlantic and every Local should join in each and every day. 

Strike Authorization Results are set to be released tomorrow once all the numbers are provided. Buses will be lining up this Saturday for the rally in New York City. If you haven’t already made your arrangements, please make plans to get to a location near you. 

Your Bargaining Committee will see you in New York Saturday morning. Special thanks to our retiree council for the gift basket that was delivered to the bargaining team today. We thank you for the benefits you have fought for over the years and the continued support that you provide today. Bargaining is scheduled to resume tomorrow.

Regional Bargaining Report # 16

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 16

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Mid Atlantic bargaining team met with Verizon today to continue the bargaining process as the contract deadline approaches in just 8 days.  The Union opened the meeting by giving the company a detailed proposal for amendments to the current medically restricted policy.

The Company rejected most of the Unions’ proposals with the same old tired message; they have no interest in increasing costs.  It is hard to listen to this whining from a company where high level executives can provide themselves 16% raises, while the people who actually make this company work every day and are the face of Verizon are seen as nothing more than costs to be controlled and even eliminated. This company is attacking and trying to eliminate benefits and working conditions the members of this Union fought very hard to secure for over 60 years.

Your bargaining team advised the Company we are extremely disappointed in its response.  The Union again made it clear that we will not sit idle and agree to contract out our work, hand over our pensions or let this company decimate our healthcare plans.  We are here to improve our contract by protecting current work and bringing work back into the bargaining units.

We are all looking forward to attending the rally at 11:00am on Saturday, where thousands of members, family and friends are coming in from all around the region to send Verizon a clear message.  We will not stand for their Concessionary Demands, Forced Overtime Tactics or Constant Threats of Suspension and Termination by Tyrannical Managers.

Now is our time Sisters and Brothers. Now is the time to get angry. Now is the time to stand up to this company. 

Regional Bargaining Report #17

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 17

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Union and the Company bargaining committees did not meet today, even though the Company made it a point on Friday to advise the Union it intended to do so.  The Union reached out to the Company at noon after not hearing from them regarding scheduling a meeting.  The Company advised they have nothing to present to the Union today.  It is not clear to your committee why they would not.  

The Union has multiple data requests pending with the company that are needed to prepare additional proposals as well as force the company to justify its own retrogressive proposals.

Five weeks into bargaining and the Union and the Company remain far apart.  The comprehensive proposal they passed would be devastating for every member. The Union came to the table and initially passed proposals based upon the thousands of surveys that were filled out by our members. Proposals that would make sure our members have a future at this company and proposals that would address the many loopholes currently in our contracts that the company uses to harass us on a daily basis. 

In 2012, during a time of great economic stress, the Company came to the Union and after 15 months of bargaining, including mediation, and reached an agreement that the company said they had to have to survive. Since then, every year they have made billions of dollars in profits and not one Executive Officer at Verizon has made a single sacrifice like they told us they needed us to do. The latest insult being Lowell Macadam getting a 16% raise in one year while we have paid more in healthcare, lost pensions for new hires, froze pensions for current members, made significant changes in incidental absence payments and made other changes to our contract that have resulted in stressful working conditions and excessive discipline to our members. 

During this round of bargaining Verizon’s first proposal was worse than what it presented in 2011.  The first proposal includes thousands of dollars in increases per year to healthcare for each employee, no retiree healthcare bargaining in the future, an employee choice to eliminate either the pension benefit or the 401k savings plan benefit, a reduction in the disability benefit, including the elimination of the accident disability benefit, further reduction to tuition assistance, further reduction in vacation selection percentages, elimination of all caps on overtime, reduced overtime rates to time and a half and pay only for hours worked over forty, contracting out exclusive fiber facilities work throughout our footprint, the ability to move you to another state on a temporary assignment,  permanent forced transfers that require home relocation,  eliminate the job security language for all employees and as a final slap in the face a list of 30 locations that they intend to close. The Union’s response was to reject the company’s offer and restate our position for this round of bargaining.

This corporation is not near bankruptcy; in fact they just posted second quarter profits of $4.4 billion.  We reviewed the company’s proposals, their explanations, the data they use to support the need for the changes and the Union cannot see the need for the changes the Company has proposed.  We advised the company we are open to hear any proposal they want to pass – but warned they need to understand we will not sit idle and agree to contract out our work, hand over our pensions or decimate our healthcare plans.

Now instead of meeting with the union, or providing the information requested by the Union or working constructively towards a contract they spent the time crafting an email to all of you trying to tell you what the Union’s initial proposals were.   As if you didn’t know what you had asked for, as if it wasn’t clear in the hundreds of meetings held by locals across the footprint in the past couple of months or as if this wasn’t clear in the many speeches held at the Rally in NY on Saturday. 

Let’s be clear.  When we went to the table we proposed a significant wage increase.  When questioned what was meant we responded with we want an increase similar to what Lowell McAdam got – 16%.  We asked for pensions for ALL employees and a cost of living increase for retirees, some who make just a few hundred dollars a month. We demanded changes in our contract that guarantee fair and respectful treatment because this Company has proven they cannot be trusted.  We also asked for Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday because IT IS ABOUT DAMN TIME. The healthcare was to return the healthcare to what it was in 2012 because the past three years have shown the Company was not economically hurting as the Company had claimed.  Job Security WAS TO MAKE EVERYONE EQUAL as are the Union’s proposals on pensions. 
The Union takes this bargaining just as seriously as the company.  These proposals were not intended as jokes; they are serious issues our members asked us to fix.  We are fighting to protect our futures with this company and create new ones for others.  Job security is not a joke.  A fair wage is not a joke.  Healthcare and Pensions are no joke.

Tomorrow, everyone should go into work and ask your supervisor questions on Verizon’s email. Ask them why The Verizon bargaining committee was not at the table on Monday. Tell them we are five days out. Tick tock. 

Regional Bargaining Report #18

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 18

July 28, 2015

The CWA/IBEW bargaining team met with Verizon’s negotiators today, noting that only four days remain until contract expiration. The Unions began with a request for clarification of information previously provided by the Company concerning the cost of prescription coverage. In addition, the Bargaining Team modified one of its proposals for hearing aid coverage.

The Bargaining Team also clarified for the Company its wage proposal for a “substantial” increase.  The Union believes 16%, the same amount given to McAdam as an annual increase in 2014 would be substantial over the term of the contract.   In light of the Company’s blanket rejection of almost all the Unions’ proposals at the previous session, the Bargaining Team after a second review, went through the Company’s proposals item-by-item and similarly rejected virtually all.

The Union remarked on Executive VP Marc Reed’s letter to employees on July 27, in which he complained that CWA and IBEW were trying to change health benefit arrangements that had been previously negotiated.  The Union observed that the Company seemed to be employing a double standard, since it now wanted to go back on its prior agreement to negotiate over future retiree health benefits. The Company was told emphatically that CWA and IBEW considered this to be a strike issue.

All retirees who today enjoy having their healthcare benefits negotiated by your Union should be angry as hell over the Company proposing to eliminate the commitment to negotiate over retiree healthcare.  Now is the time for retirees who can’t be disciplined, who can’t be intimidated by management, who do have skin in the game to make some noise.  You should be letting the Company know what you think of its plan to take away your collective voice.

The session concluded with both sides stating that they were available to meet and were hopeful of movement at the table. Your negotiators remain committed to resisting Verizon’s concessionary demands and are grateful for the support expressed by so many members.

Regional Bargaining Report #19

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 19

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Regional Bargaining Committees met today, but no movement resulted despite the approaching contract expiration.

The Union passed a proposal to eliminate the “carved-out” provisions that deny protections to Verizon Business Technicians. The Union Committee then requested estimates of savings and other justifications for various management proposals. However, the Company had little to say of substance and failed to make a compelling case for its proposals. The Company followed up by rejecting three outstanding Union proposals.

Your bargaining team continues to work on the issues and is looking for ways to move the process forward. Meanwhile, mobilization efforts within the locals are critical, including preparations for a possible strike.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Regional Bargaining Report #20

Regional Bargaining Report #20

Thursday, July 30, 2015

As many of you may have seen, Verizon spent the day making videos, rather than bargaining with the Union in an attempt to avert a strike upon expiration of this contract Saturday at midnight. 

The Union made it clear in 2012 that we would not settle a contract without caring for our members and WE DID THAT. If the company wants to use scare tactics and play the role of Bully, everyone knows what happens to the Bully. Eventually he gets his ass handed to him. 

Our members will do what is necessary to fight for a fair contract. Considering the antics of managers in 2011, our members are on to your games and we are more than prepared to protect ourselves against a “he said, she said” game. One of the terminations that Mudge spoke about on his video was one of our members putting a dent in a manager’s car when he was run over on the picket line. In fact most of the so called “Code of Conduct” strike disciplines that were videoed by management were overturned by their own video evidence. Do they think they are the only ones who know how to use a video camera and dial 911? How will management feel when every single move they make is being watched? 

If the company has anything else they would like to produce they can start with meaningful proposals that our membership would be interested in accepting. 

Regional Bargaining Report #21

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 21

July 31, 2015

The company and the Union met today at both the Regional and Local tables. At the Regional table the Union withdrew a proposal regarding corporate web access. The Union also passed a proposal to extend all MOU, MOA’s and Stipulation agreements. An additional information request was presented by the Union. The Company withdrew one proposal involving a modification to the call sharing agreement in Live Source. No progress was made at any local table today.

The Union ended today’s session by advising the company that the Union’s issues are still on the table and the Union is available to meet to work toward attaining a fair agreement.

Our Regional Bargaining Committee continues to review data associated with the company’s proposal in order to clearly see the level of give backs the Company is demanding. Mudge and McAdams keep trying to convince you to take a contract that would cost you more while destroying your family’s current standard of living. How dare they sit in their pen raking in millions from this highly profitable company, which was built by our members and then ask those same members to give back everything we fought for over the last 60 years!

Now is the time to fight for what we have earned! Now is the time to tell Verizon they will not take what is ours! Let’s send Verizon a message that we demand a fair and just contract. We are one day out! We must stand together and work together to win this fight!

Regional Bargaining Report #22

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 22

August 1, 2015  7PM

The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee has yet to hear from the Company today. As the contract expiration approaches your bargaining team remains ready to meet with the Company to bargain. Instead of focusing on negotiating a new agreement before expiration, Verizon has spent every resource available to mislead the public and intimidate employees over the last month. Through it all, our members have been unyielding with their goal to obtain a fair agreement and preserve our standard of living.

Mobilization in the field has gotten the Company’s attention and they are concerned what tonight will bring. Rest assured your committee has your back on this one!! The ball is in the Company’s court at this time.

This morning the bargaining committee participated in a rally with hundreds of active and retired members here in Philadelphia who took to the streets and marched past the company’s hotel to let them know our dissatisfaction.
Your bargaining team will keep you updated as the evening progresses.
Stay strong, stay focused and stay committed.

Special Bargaining Report Midnight Notice

August 1, 2015 12:00 Midnight

Statement to Members

After considering all of our options, your leadership has decided not to go on strike at midnight tonight, even though we have not yet reached a contract agreement.

The two sides remain far apart. Despite $18 billion in profits over the last 18 months, and a quarter of a billion in compensation to its top executives over the last five years, this greedy corporation is still insisting on destroying our job security, forcing us to pay thousands of dollars more for our health care, and slashing our retirement security.  They have basically not moved off their opening bargaining position from June 22nd.  It’s a disgrace. 

We are disgusted by Verizon’s attitude at the bargaining table.  Their greed knows no bounds.

But we are not going to let our anger allow us to walk into a trap.  It’s quite possible that Verizon is trying to provoke us into a long strike in order to try to break us.  They have spent tens of millions of dollars preparing for a strike, training managers, hiring scabs and contractors, advertising against us on TV and radio.  So your leadership has decided that if and when we strike, it will be on our terms, on our timing.

We know that you are angry.  We are all furious at this greedy company.  Now our job is to turn that anger into pressure on the job and in the community.  We cannot have business as usual.  We will rally, engage in informational picketing, build political and regulatory pressure on the company, follow all the company rules to the letter, never take shortcuts, pressure company executives and members of the Board of Directors.  We will be disciplined, militant and united.  

This was not an easy decision.  But it is the smart decision.  And if and when the time comes, we will strike the company on our terms.

We thank you for your support and your solidarity.  One day longer.  We will win.

Regional Bargaining Report #23

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 23

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee has continued working since contract expiration.  Although there has not been an official meeting with the company there have been high-level talks to try and move things along to get bargaining back on track.  The Union committee continues to review data previously requested and are working to modify several proposals.  We will report out anything new from the Bargaining table as soon as new information is available. 

Currently we are working without a contract.  In general the terms and conditions of employment continue in effect until a new contract is reached.  The Local’s will be receiving additional information from our legal group on the Legal Rights When Working Without a Contract.

What’s clear is a new contract will not be won at the bargaining table.  The bargaining committee has been inundated with pictures and messages from all Locals mobilization actions.  It is clear to your Bargaining Committee that you understand the seriousness of this fight and everything that the company wants to take back. We all know we cannot live with this Company’s demands to reduce our standard of living and we will do whatever it takes to make sure management understands it too. 

Stay strong and keep mobilizing!

Regional Bargaining Report #24

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 24
Friday, August 7, 2015
The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee spent this week reviewing data we previously requested from the company. This information is important because it is used to justify our proposals and to dispute Company arguments. We have not had any formal meetings with the Company since the contract expired.

The Mid Atlantic Regional Committee is scheduled to reconvene in Philadelphia on Tuesday, August 11th and expects to meet with the company on Wednesday. We will send out additional reports as changes occur.

Members should continue to stand strong and…
MOBILIZE

Regional Bargaining Report #25

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 25

Friday, August 12, 2015

After spending several days reviewing and analyzing various proposals, the Regional Bargaining Committee met with management today in an effort to move negotiations forward.

The Union expressed a willingness to work with management on a new Retiree Medical plan that would save the Company millions of dollars, but emphasized that retirees must not be adversely impacted. A number of counter proposals and modifications by the Union were also passed across the table dealing with Medical Restriction, continuation of the Pension Cash-Out Option, Holidays, Supplemental Pension Benefits, Dependent Eligibility for Health Benefits, and Diversification of 401(k) Investments. 
The Company returned in the afternoon and rejected most everything the Union had offered, while countering on a handful of other issues.

Turning to health benefits, the Committee pointed out that the Union has reduced the Company’s medical costs in recent years, thanks largely to negotiated changes in the plan design. Despite this, management continues to insist that employees take on a larger share of the overall costs. The meeting adjourned for the day without producing any agreements on the major issues. At this point there are no formal meetings scheduled with the Company while the Union awaits outstanding information requests on some of the major issues still on the table.

Mobilize

Regional Bargaining Report #26

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report #26

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The parties returned to the Regional Bargaining table today.  The Union offered several modifications to its proposals on ACFC, TABEC, Dental Plan improvements, and the Medical Restriction Policy.  The Union also questioned the Company about data it had provided in response to the joint requests for information by CWA and IBEW.  The Company had no responses or modifications to its proposals to offer today.
The parties are scheduled to meet again tomorrow in off table discussions regarding health care.

Almost all of the Company’s retrogressive demands still remain on the table.  The only proposals the Company has withdrawn is a proposal to eliminate the printing of our contracts and a proposal on call sharing in Livesource.
The Company has proposed major changes to our heath care plans for both active members and retirees. Not only are they demanding our members pay more in premiums for healthcare coverage, they are proposing changes to increase deductibles, increase co-insurance, increase out of pocket expenses and increase the costs for prescription drugs. These increases amount to several thousand dollars in cost-shifting per year to our members and retirees. This fight for health care is about more than just paying a premium. The Company wants us to pay more and feel it in our wallet so that we’ll think twice about visiting the doctor or seeking medical attention.

The Company continues to insist on changes to our defined benefit pension plan, including a choice between pension benefits and 401K savings plan benefits.  The Company’s proposal seeks to freeze pension accrual at 30 years of service.
The Company continues to demand the elimination of Job Security and the elimination of the 35 mile transfer provision.  The Company has proposed to increase the mileage provision to 60 miles to be eligible for home relocation benefits.  In addition, the Company has proposed to close over 25 locations that would require most of the members reporting there to relocate their homes.

Your Union Bargaining team is working hard and is committed to finding ways to address both the concerns of the Company and the needs of our members in this round of negotiations. The Company continues to have only one goal, givebacks. Their agenda continues to include retrogressive demands across virtually every area of our contracts from job security to pensions and work rules.  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.  Locals should continue to reach out to retirees to join in with mobilization activities and rallies.

MOBILIZE

Regional Bargaining Report #27

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report #27

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Bargaining committee has met in off the record conversations for the past two days in an attempt to find some common ground and move negotiations along. While there has been some frank discussion and a better understanding of both side’s positions we are still far apart on the fundamental issues.

While we continue to slowly whittle away at the company’s arguments for taking away much of what we have fought for over the years we ask that everyone continue the fight at the workplace. Your efforts are paying off and where we had hoped this would be an efficient and quick process we are fighting for every penny and every inch of movement.

There are no more meetings scheduled for this week. Your bargaining committee will travel back to Philadelphia on Monday prepared to meet with the Company on Tuesday, August 25th.

Regional Bargaining Report #28

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report #28

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

After several days of intensive review and drafting, the Union Bargaining Committee presented a Comprehensive Proposal today to address the outstanding issues on the table as a package.  

The Proposal included the withdrawal of previous proposals by both sides and set forth provisions for both economic and non-economic subjects which CWA and IBEW believe can be the basis for a settlement. 

In order to maintain and improve health benefit levels for both active and retired members the Unions offered a Medicare Advantage plan for retirees along with restrictions on compound drugs in the prescription plan that will save the Company tens of millions of dollars.  The package also included significant increases in pay, greater job security, and protection of pension benefits.

The Unions characterized the Comprehensive Proposal as a major step forward and expressed hope that the Company will respond in a way that will help to produce a settlement in the near future.  The parties will meet again tomorrow.

Regional Bargaining Report #29

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report #29

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company late tonight. The Company responded to the Union’s comprehensive proposal by rejecting the proposal and passing a modification to its original comprehensive proposal. The Union Committee will review the Company’s proposal and respond appropriately. At first glance it appears only minor changes were made to the Company’s original proposal. 

The Company’s action tonight indicates this fight will be a long one and we must do what is necessary to make this company understand we will not retreat but will continue to demand to be treated with respect. This bargaining team is determined to fight as long as it takes to make that happen.

Today, retirees from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware attended a rally in Annapolis, Maryland. Thousands of retirees rallied throughout Mid-Atlantic to show this company that retirees will not be forgotten. Keep it up and together we will win either at the table or on the street.

Regional Bargaining Report #30

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report #30

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Bargaining committee met with the company today to reject its proposal from yesterday’s meeting. The company was also advised that since they had rejected our comprehensive proposal then all of our individual proposals were back on the table. While at the meeting the committee took the time to express our anger and disgust over the lack of any significant movement from the company since we started meeting in June. It will soon be September and our members will not go through a bargaining session lasting 15 months like last time. This company must get serious at the table. 

In data obtained from the company, we identified substantial contracting out in all of our call centers. We told them if they want to get somewhere in this bargaining than they needed to start talking about adding jobs throughout our entire footprint to ensure that work is done in our centers, including fully staffing every center the company has identified as potentially being on the chopping block. We also identified the huge problems our members would face in those targeted centers, by forcing those members to the closest center, using Southwest Virginia as an example. We told the company we would never agree to forcing members hundreds and hundreds of miles away from their home especially when so much of our work is being contracted out. We also identified information that the company has still not provided making it extremely difficult to have an open and above board discussion on several issues. 

Mobilization should be going on throughout our entire footprint.  The bargaining team will continue to tell this company that we will not accept their retrogressive demands that would devastate most of our member’s lives.  This will only work if the company understands that all of you are in this fight. Keep mobilizing, keep fighting and together we will win.

Regional Bargaining Report #31

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report # 31

September 1, 2015

The Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company this afternoon to discuss the company's proposal regarding Force Transfers Requiring a Home Relocation.  The Union also requested the Company revisit the proposed changes to the Medical Restriction Policy.  The IBEW presented the company with additional proposals on dental benefits and the Advisory Committee on Career and Life Strategies (ACCLS). 

Regarding the company's proposal on home relocations, Verizon has targeted 30 locations in the Mid-Atlantic footprint they want to consolidate. These work center consolidations would result in our members being forced transferred up to 365 miles away from their current reporting location even though, in many circumstances, other work groups will still be operating at that location.  The Union has repeatedly advised the Company we will not agree to allow them to transfer employees 365 miles from their current work location.  The Union made additional requests for clarifying information on the proposal.

The Union also addressed the company regarding proposals passed amending the Medical Restriction Policy. The Union has passed two proposals trying to address members concerns with the Medical Restriction Policy. Both proposals have been rejected by the company.  The Union again stressed to the company that this issue needed to be revisited and demanded open dialog to find a way to amend the policy to address our concerns.

It is now September 1, 2015 and we have been meeting with the company for over two months with no significant progress to report. Most of the Company’s retrogressive demands still remain on the table. 

The Company has proposed major changes to our heath care plans for both active members and retirees. The Company continues to insist on changes to our defined benefit pension plan, including a choice between pension benefits and 401K savings plan benefits. The Company’s proposal seeks to freeze pension accrual at 30 years of service and to revise the pension cash-out formulas to a lesser payout. This revision would roughly result in a 25% decrease in the cash-out benefit. The Company continues to demand the elimination of Job Security and the elimination of the 35 mile transfer provision. The company also wants to eliminate double time after 49 hours, decrease differential pay treatment and include additional centers in the call sharing agreement throughout the footprint. 

Look for an invitation to a Town Hall Call soon.  We will provide an up to date status of bargaining on the call.  This will be a CWA Member only call and members will need to register in advance for the call.

Regional Bargaining Report #32

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report #32

September 2, 2015

The Regional Committee met with the company today in an off-table discussion regarding healthcare.  These discussions are an attempt to clarify information and find areas of agreement where we can move forward in these very slow negotiations.  Tomorrow, members of the committee will meet regarding local issues.  A report on the local meeting will be provided to the specific bargaining unit.

Today, we understand, Verizon released a new logo. We are sure this took months and months of heavy design costs to come up with this masterpiece.  You have to believe that if the Company has the money to design a new logo and replace it on all of the buildings, vehicles and literature than they damn sure have money for fair and equitable contract for our members. 

This weekend, most areas will be having Labor Day activities. The committee encourages everyone to get out to the events in your area.  We must take this opportunity to join with our other brothers and sisters in labor and tell the story of our fight with Verizon to other labor organizations and the public at large.

Regional Bargaining Report #33

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report #33

September 3, 2015

The Regional Committee met with the Company today. The Company opened the meeting clarifying its proposal on the list of Centers. The Company’s intent is not to close the centers but only to identify centers where they would pay an additional $5,000 in home relocation benefits to employees transferred either within or to a different bargaining unit. The Union responded that the Company has previously stated they did not have a plan regarding the centers. The Union further reminded the company of two other demands that would allow them to one, force transfer employees up to 60 miles without paying for a home relocation, and two, a proposal to eliminate job security language that currently prohibits forced transfers causing a home relocation. 

The Company proceeded to clarify the Union’s information request from early August regarding the Centers. The Company proceeded to reject two proposals the IBEW had passed on Dental and ACCLS. Finally, the Company confirmed the status of proposals currently on the table. At the end of the discussion the Union still wonders why the Company even requested to meet today.

The Union took the opportunity to acknowledge Verizon’s ad in the Washington Post this morning. We advised them that some information was missing from the ad. They forgot to mention these benefits and compensation are a result of CWA and IBEW negotiating these benefits for our members from the profits members have made for Verizon. We acknowledged Verizon may write the check but in no way do they do it voluntarily. If they did, we would have had a contract by now.

The Union told Verizon our members are insulted Verizon would receive recognition from Working Mother – as overtime has become business as usual across Mid Atlantic – and how members are being forced to work the holiday this Monday. The same was addressed for Military Times. We’d bet Military Times doesn’t understand Extended Military Leave is available if you have 6 or more months of service or that Verizon forces technicians to work on Veterans Day. Regarding the Diversity recognition we reminded Verizon how they treat Martin Luther King’s birthday.

The meeting ended with the Union offering to meet on Monday – Labor Day to continue bargaining however the Company is not available to meet until Tuesday.
As of today the Company continues to demand: 
 Elimination of Job Security 
 Thousands of dollars in increased health care costs to actives and retirees 
 Forcing you to choose between a Defined Benefit pension that will be frozen at 30 years, or an enhanced 401(k) plan 
 Elimination of Accident Disability 
 Eliminate Double Time Pay 
 Eliminate all caps on Overtime 
 Limit Sickness and Accident Disability Benefits 
 Elimination of COLA 
 Increased Contracting

Your Union Bargaining team is working hard and is committed to finding ways to address both the concerns of the Company and the needs of our members in this round of negotiations. The Company continues to have only one goal to lower the costs of the business at our member’s expense. Their agenda continues to include retrogressive demands across virtually every area of our contracts from job security to pensions and work rules. All members should continue to mobilize with your Locals. Again, your Bargaining Committee hopes you can join in Labor Day events with other labor organizations.

Regional Bargaining Report #34

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report #34

September 10, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining team spent most of this week reviewing information provided by the company. There were no formal bargaining sessions held this week. There were off table discussions with the company regarding the accuracy of healthcare information the Company had provided.

One of the most time consuming burdens we have is to ensure the information we get is accurate and complete. This takes time and it is mandatory that we are thorough, as this information is used to refute the company’s proposals and to justify ours. We are working diligently to hold this company accountable and to call them out on any incomplete information.

This bargaining team is committed to ensure we get a fair contract and language that provides relief from the constant harassment our members face daily. We are aware that this week the company has declared a Long Term Service Difficulty across most of Mid-Atlantic for FiOS work that has, in many cases, been ordered within the last 24 hours. This is unacceptable. 

We work so that we can have a good life and provide for our families. When we are forced to constantly work additional hours it takes away time from our families that we can never get back. We all understand emergency conditions may call for everyone to pitch in and clean up the trouble loads. These self-inflicted service difficulties and lifting of overtime caps are no more than the mismanagement of this company causing a 60 hour work week to be the norm for technicians. 

Working together by mobilizing in the field and holding the Company accountable at the bargaining table we hope to force this company into doing the right thing.
Almost all of the Company’s original retrogressive demands remain on the table including:
 Significant increases in healthcare costs to all active members and retirees
 Choice between pension benefits and 401K savings plan benefits
 Freeze pension accrual at 30 years of service
 Eliminate Job Security
 Increase the 35 mile transfer provision to 60 miles
 Only pay home relocation benefits when transfers increase commute more than 60 miles
 Identified over 25 locations to consolidate into larger centers that would require most employees to relocate their homes
 No Cost of Living
 Reduced Corporate Profit Sharing
 Eliminate payment for daily overtime
 Eliminate double time
 Reduce differential payments
 Reduce Short Term Disability Payments
 Eliminate Accident Disability Plan
 Contract Out Fiber Facilities Transfers and Relocations
 Flexibility to assign employees temporarily into another state
 Further reductions to Tuition Assistance
 Reduce funding to joint committees
 Reduce Vacation Scheduling Percentages
 Amend Independent Medical Examination

Your Bargaining team is committed to finding ways to address both the concerns of the Company and the needs of our members in this round of negotiations. The Company continues to have only one goal, and that is to take back years of benefits and working conditions we have bargained over years of negotiations. The Company’s agenda continues to include retrogressive demands across virtually every area of our contracts. 

It is more important than ever that we take this fight to a new level. Members must continue to mobilize. Every member needs to participate. Locals should continue to reach out to retirees to join with mobilization activities. This contract will not be won at the bargaining table alone – we need every member to participate in order to reach a fair agreement.

There will be a Town Hall Call on Tuesday, September 15th at 7:15pm to provide updates on bargaining and our fight for a fair contract. Members can register for the call at http://www.cwa-union.org/vzcall or text VZCALL to 69866. The deadline for signing up is noon on Tuesday.

Regional Bargaining Report #35

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 35

September 18, 2015

In an effort to move negotiations forward, the Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company this week in off-table discussions focusing primarily on issues surrounding Call-Sharing. While the informal discussions provided some insight to address mutual concerns, the two sides remain far apart on a clear path to resolve the issue. The Union has requested additional information on the work currently sent to vendors. The Company’s Call Sharing proposal has not changed since June 22nd. The Union made its proposal on Call Sharing on July 21st. Previously the parties have both rejected each other’s proposals on Call Sharing.

The Bargaining Committee also continues to analyze data provided by the company regarding health care. This week the chairs spoke briefly regarding an additional information request on health care. We have also agreed to participate in off table discussions regarding job security and the centers located in rural areas.

Bargaining has recessed and is scheduled to reconvene the week of October 5th. Security issues around the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia will cause challenges for traveling here over the next week.

During the recess the bargaining committee will return to their Locals to lead mobilization activities. CWA has planned a number of mobilization activities associated with events contiguous with the Pope's visit to draw attention to Verizon's attack on working families. Your mobilization efforts will help us to win a fair and equitable contract. Contact your Local today to find out what you can do to help!!

Regional Bargaining Report #36

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 36

October 6, 2015

The CWA Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee met with the company today in Philadelphia. The company passed a modified proposal on Corporate Profit Sharing and attempted to justify their position on changes in the tuition assistance program, which would completely exclude or limit dozens of areas of study. 

The Union will prepare an appropriate response after reviewing information provided.

Over the past two weeks, the Union has met informally with the company on several occasions in an attempt to find some common ground to get to a fair and equitable agreement. While some of these discussions have been meaningful and somewhat productive, the Company reached out to Local 13000 to see if they would allow technicians to be loaned in from other states to assist with the backlog of work. Local 13000 made it clear that there is no interest in discussing loans unless the Company returns the 44 laid off technicians in PA.

Mobilization efforts throughout the Mid-Atlantic footprint are having a positive impact. Legislators are now pressuring Verizon, including 14 Mayors representing over 12 million subscribers in the Verizon footprint sent a personal letter to Lowell McAdam chastising him for breaking promises to bring high-speed broadband services to their communities. Make sure you are doing your part to keep the pressure on!!

Bargaining is scheduled to resume tomorrow.

Regional Bargaining Report #37

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 37

October 7, 2015

The Union and the Company met today. The Union responded to the Company regarding its proposal on reducing the areas of study covered by the current Tuition Assistance Plan. The Union explained that significant movement was made in the last round of bargaining on the Tuition Assistance Plan and from those changes the Company has reaped significant savings. The Union also advised it has no interest in limiting further our member’s ability to take courses that potentially could benefit them in future endeavors.

The Union also presented several proposals which had some commonality to existing proposals for both parties. The Unions proposals included Tuition, Electronic Recording of Calls, Income Security Plan, Vacation Scheduling, Differential, Premium Pay and Overtime. The Company asked a limited number of questions regarding the proposals and after reviewing further will respond later this week.

The Union Committee remains focused on increasing jobs and bringing work back into the bargaining units. We will continue to fight to make gains in these areas across the Mid-Atlantic Region.

The Company must continue to see Solidarity in the Workplace. Mobilization activity must continue to put pressure on local management. The forced overtime doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon and the Company’s harassment of our members isn’t going away without our members standing up to this Company. These battles are won when everyone stands up and fights together. Members should not hesitate to file appropriate grievances when violations occur. We must all hold this Company accountable for its actions in the workplace.

If you are unsure of the situations you are presented with contact your local representative or steward.

The parties are scheduled to meet again tomorrow.

Regional Bargaining Report #38

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 38

October 8, 2015

The Regional Bargaining Committee met today. The Company responded to the proposals the Union presented yesterday. Although management responded positively to a Union proposal regarding the family care and training advisory committees, there was virtually no movement on other issues. The Company continued to insist on excluding a number of courses from the tuition assistance program, restricting vacation scheduling percentages, cutting eligibility for overtime pay, taking more time to review recorded calls for disciplinary purposes, and attaching strings to voluntary separation packages.

The Bargaining Committee expressed disappointment that the Company was not willing to eliminate more of the BS that is bogging down negotiations. Management in turn complained that the Union was not offering more concessions on health benefits, to which the Committee responded that Verizon had not demonstrated a need for employees to make more concessions.

The session ended with sharp disagreement over the Company’s claims that it is under pressure to cut costs, along with complaints by members of the Bargaining Committee that the Company is acting with callous disregard toward employees regarding forced overtime and other issues. The Union addressed the Company over the abusive forced overtime issue associated with the bogus long term service difficulty and service emergencies. From all around the District, technicians being forced to work mandatory 12 hour days have indicated that many orders and troubles were called in only hours before they were dispatched on and that service effecting troubles were given less priority than new installs. 

The Bargaining Committee hammered the company over not properly maintaining staffing levels and that the LTSD's and service emergencies were self-inflicted. The company indicated they understood our frustrations but demonstrated no desire to fix the problem.

Solidarity and Unity in our mobilization efforts should help them change their attitude. Your continued support and participation is critical to fighting off the retrogressive demands this greedy corporation has passed across the bargaining table. We have fought this fight before and won, together we can do it again! MOBILIZE!

Regional Bargaining Report #39

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 39

October 9, 2015

The Regional Bargaining Committee met with the Company today. The Union provided responses to the Company’s proposals on Job Security, Forced Transfers Requiring a Home Relocation, Temporary Assignments in Another State and Permanent Transfers involving Home Relocations. These Company proposals were designed to provide more flexibility to the Company, including allowing it to reassign employees to work locations that would increase travel up to 60 miles further than they commute today.

The Union rejected these proposals pointing out that the Company has no justification to force an increase in travel, causing a home relocation or increased commutes. The average increase in daily commutes for most of the employees affected is over an additional hour each way. Members would have a diminished ability to utilize partial day vacations, they would be potentially subjected to an increase in lateness and absence, their safety could be jeopardized as a result of fatigue and inclement weather and working parents could face issues over child care and afterschool programs for their children.

Bargaining has recessed for the week and will reconvene on Monday, October 19th. District 2-13 will hold its Leadership Conference next week where Local Officers will meet and determine what action will be taken to move this Company towards negotiating a fair and equitable contract for our members.

Regional Bargaining Report #40

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 40

October 20, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Regional bargaining committee is back in Philadelphia after meeting with the Locals at our District Leadership Conference last week in Maryland.  The committee met with the company today and the company passed three modifications on its proposals regarding Technological Change, Evaluative Observations and Electronic Recording of Calls. The Committee will review these proposals and respond appropriately to the Company.

The company also attempted to spin today’s 3rd Quarter Earnings announcement. This announcement clearly shows that Verizon beat earnings estimates with FiOS being a large part of the company’s growth. Verizon Stock rose in response to this announcement.   Yet at the table, the Company tried to somehow spin profitability as a bad thing.  CWA committee members had to repeatedly point out that Verizon continues to make money.  It’s incredible what Verizon’s bargaining committee will say to avoid recognizing that CWA members are making this company money and should be fairly compensated because of it. The facts are the facts and neither Marc Reed nor the Company’s bargaining committee can twist them to mean anything different.

The Committees are scheduled to meet again tomorrow.  Your committee is determined to do what it takes to let Verizon know that we will not accept a contract that is not fair for ALL of us. Keep Mobilizing Sisters and Brothers.

Regional Bargaining Report #41

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 41

October 21, 2015

The CWA/IBEW Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee spent the morning discussing how to move negotiations forward, then met with management for a session that lasted less than 15 minutes. The committee asked for clarification regarding two of the Company’s concessionary proposals regarding notice of technological changes and funding for the training and health care committees. 

The Bargaining Committee offered changes to two of the Union’s own proposals in hopes of persuading the Company to reciprocate. Unfortunately the Company’s negotiators had no counterproposals or withdrawals to offer. The parties adjourned for the day but agreed to meet tomorrow.

Regional Bargaining Report #42

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 42

October 22, 2015

The Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company today and responded to the Company's modified proposal on the Tuition Assistance Program. The Union reiterated that significant changes were made in the last round of bargaining to cut costs in Tuition and the potential savings from eliminating or restricting access to certain fields of study, didn't make sense. In rejecting the company's proposal, the Union expressed concerns over members being able to maintain their personal development and their ability to prepare for the future. The company responded by asking if the Company should pay for courses on making "dog garments". We honestly can’t make this up. Instead of making meaningful proposals on healthcare, contracting, retiree issues and the forcing members to work ridiculous hours and tours and many other REAL issues this company bargaining team wants to talk about eliminating dog garment manufacturing from the Tuition Assistance Program.

There were also discussions over an existing proposal regarding funding for the ACFC and TABEC committees. The Union shared its objection to language in the proposal that would have the Union forfeit rights provided it under the law.
Currently, no meetings are scheduled for the remainder of this week. The Union is scheduled to meet locally with the Potomac committee next week. The Union would love to meet with the Company at the Regional table and make some progress towards getting a contract. When we asked the company if they had proposals that would make a meeting productive the company responded with “Maybe.” Maybe? We have been in bargaining for over four months and the only response the company can give at this point is “maybe”.

Your committee has made repeated attempts to get the company to remove non critical issues from the table and focus on the issues that will get us to an agreement. Verizon has refused and this lack of sincere effort should make every member angry.

The Regional Bargaining Committee remains on call to meet subject to the call of the Chair. We stand ready to meet with this Company anytime to move these negotiations forward and encourage the Company to stop the frivolous conversation on things like dog garments. As members, maybe you should ask your local management teams what they think about dog garments and why their committee is wasting this time.

Stay mobilized and unified because it’s our turn and our day is coming…

Regional Bargaining Report #43

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report #43

November 17, 2015

The Regional Bargaining Committee met today in Philadelphia. The discussions involved the Company’s comprehensive proposal provided to the Union on November 4, 2015. The comprehensive proposal contained modifications on the Company’s Healthcare, Tuition Assistance, Electronic Recording of Calls, and State and Municipal Paid Leave Laws proposals. While the Company has modified its proposal in these areas, each of these items still represents significant negative impact to each member.

The Company has increased their wage proposal by ½ percent over 3 years. The current proposal is 2.5% after ratification, 2% in the 2nd year and 0% in the last year. They also withdrew their proposals on modifying vacation scheduling percentages, eliminating double time after 49 hours and reducing the time frame for accepting an ISP offer. 

Aside from a few paltry reductions to the massive health care increases the company has proposed, their recent offering looks very much like their initial package of June 22nd. Here is a list of a few other proposals Verizon still has in its comprehensive proposal: 

Elimination of Job Security 

Thousands of dollars in increased health care costs to actives and retirees 

Forcing you to choose between a Defined Benefit pension that will be frozen at 30 years, or an enhanced 401(k) plan 

Elimination of Accident Disability 

Reduced number of fully paid weeks of Short Term Disability

Elimination of COLA 

Increased Contracting 

Major changes to the Tuition Assistance Plan 

Reduced Differential Pay 

Elimination of Daily Overtime Pay 

Elimination of Overtime Caps

Today the Unions rejected almost every aspect of the Company’s comprehensive package and made modifications on our proposals regarding Wages, Pensions, Call Sharing, Corporate Profit Sharing, COLA, Healthcare, Electronic Monitoring, Tuition Assistance, and RAMP.

Locals must continue to mobilize to demand a fair contract during this round of bargaining. Every active and retired member should be participating in mobilization activities as the changes the Company seeks will affect all of us. We cannot fail in this fight to save our jobs and standard of living.

Regional Bargaining Report #44

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 44

November 18, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company today. The company rejected every proposal the Union passed yesterday, without making any meaningful counter proposals to help move the bargaining process forward. Clearly, the Company believes this round of bargaining should only address its issues.

The Company did pass a couple of proposals containing minimal changes. The company also passed a new proposal attempting to negate an Arbitration award regarding lump sum payments in the Absence From Duty provisions in our collective bargaining agreements. This arbitration win clearly demonstrated that the company's interpretation was completely wrong and now, in a blatant attempt to disrespect the bargaining process and arbitration proceedings, they want to add this into the equation at this late stage of the game. Shame on you Verizon!

Every member should take this as the slap in the face it is and get out and mobilize, mobilize, mobilize! Tomorrow will be a day of action across the Verizon footprint to show Verizon they need to get serious at this table. Every active and retired member has skin in this game and should be mobilizing.

Regional Bargaining Report #45

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 45

November 19, 2015

The Mid Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company today to discuss questions and issues related to Healthcare. As you are aware, the company has proposed extremely drastic changes to the existing health care plan and these changes would result in significant out of pocket expenses for every active employee as well as retirees. 

We presented the company with additional information requests on health care costs, including the cost of compound drugs and the proposal by management to implement a Medicare Advantage plan for retirees. After yesterday’s contentious meeting the bargaining team continues to look at every single thing we can and question every bit of data in order to get a fair contract. Neither side had any new proposals to make today. The company did restate their position on its demand for more employee cost sharing in the health care arena.

There were also bargaining sessions at the Potomac and New Jersey local tables.

As the rain falls today, the company should recognize that it is CWA members who are out working and making this company successful. Based upon the billions this company makes in profits, we will not stand for anything less than a fair and just contract. It will take more than just this bargaining team to do it. Every active and retired member must be engaged in this fight and be willing to walk and mobilize through good weather and bad. It will take all of us to get the contract we deserve. If you are not engaged in this fight then call your local immediately to find out about activities in your area.

Regional Bargaining Report #46

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 46

November 20, 2015

The Mid Atlantic Bargaining Committee met with the company today in Philadelphia. The company passed a modified proposal outlining modifications to the Sickness and Accident Disability Plan, Evaluative Observations and the Electronic Monitoring of Calls. The company also withdrew a proposal regarding notification requirements of a Technological Change. The Bargaining Committee will review the current company proposals and respond appropriately.

After nearly six months of negotiations with the company, almost every one of their retrogressive demands are still on the table. Every CWA member needs to turn up the heat on mobilization efforts in order to turn the corner and win a fair and equitable contract. While there are no scheduled meetings next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday the Union advised the company that they are available to meet in an effort to move negotiations along.

Regional Bargaining Report #47

Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Report # 47

December 4, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee met this week in Philadelphia. The committee reviewed Verizon’s modified proposals on Independent Medical Examination, Work at Home, Accident Disability, Evaluative Observations, and Electronic Recording of Calls, while waiting for Verizon to respond to information on medical costs requested nearly two weeks ago. 

On Wednesday, December 2nd the Company provided its response by email. Unfortunately, the company's response to our request is incomplete and fails to address the issue the Union believes would demonstrate a critical piece on the health care cost sharing regarding Medicare Advantage. The Company response actually states “it is not possible to accurately determine the cost sharing percentage for Medicare Retirees.” How the Company can think we could reach agreement without this vital economic information is unfathomable. The Committee continues to explore other health care proposals. 

The NY/New England and Mid Atlantic Regional CWA/IBEW bargaining teams also met this week in Philadelphia. It is clear now that due to the lack of meaningful movement on the company's part we are faced with taking our mobilization efforts in a "different direction". Locals will begin to ratchet up preparations to change Verizon's retrogressive agenda. 

CWA President Chris Shelton along with District Vice Presidents Ed Mooney and Dennis Trainor are currently working to arrange a meeting with Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam in an attempt to clear the path towards a fair and equitable contract. 

Every CWA member should now be completely engaged in the process. The bargaining committee has hammered the company on every issue and the Company has not made any significant movement nor have they addressed our members concerns since day 1 during this round of bargaining. It is clear that this fight won't be won at the bargaining table. The clock is winding down!!

Regional Bargaining Report #48

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 48

January 15, 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company today in Philadelphia. After high-level discussions during the last few weeks the Union bargaining teams assembled earlier this week and prepared a comprehensive proposal which they presented to the Company at today's session. CWA and IBEW bargainers believe the comprehensive proposal addresses the Company's issues related to Healthcare costs and secures provisions for Wages, Pensions and Working Conditions our members need for a fair agreement.

Talks have recessed pending the Company's response to the Union's proposal.

Your Bargaining Committee asks that every active and retired member let the Company know that if the Company is NOT serious about getting a contract, we are ready to do whatever it takes to secure our futures.

Regional Bargaining Report #49

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report # 49

Thursday January 21, 2016

In the last Mid Atlantic bargaining report we informed you that after high
level discussions between the Union and the Company during the last few weeks the Union bargaining committee gave the Company a proposal which addressed both parties’ needs.

This week the Company rejected the Unions proposal and gave another
unacceptable proposal to the Union.

CWA has made meaningful proposals yet the Company has rejected our
proposals saying they don’t go far enough to meet their needs. In fact, almost every proposal the Union has placed on the table has been rejected by the Company.

We are currently reviewing the Company’s proposal and planning our next
steps. In the meantime, we need every member to get engaged. The Company
is still not hearing us so it is more important than ever that we take this fight to a new level.

Tell Verizon management that we demand a fair contract and let them know that we are ready to STRIKE to get one!

Mobilize! Mobilize! Mobilize!

Regional Bargaining Report #50

Regional Bargaining Report # 50

Friday February 5, 2016

In our previous Mid-Atlantic bargaining report, we communicated that your CWA bargaining committee made a proposal which addressed the needs of both the Company and the Union. One of the critical issues for the Company is the cost of healthcare. The Union addressed this in our proposal which would save the Company millions during the term of the contract.

Two weeks ago the Company rejected the Union’s proposal and presented the Union with another proposal that fell short of addressing any of the Union’s critical needs.

Over the last week additional high level discussions took place. Our Union leadership told Verizon executives that since we addressed the Company’s needs, we expect the Company to address our needs.

We went back to the bargaining table yesterday to receive another proposal from Verizon. It too falls short. This newest Company proposal still contains many retrogressive demands and fails to meet many of the Union’s needs.

Earlier today Marc Reed put out another deceptive e mail about the status of bargaining. He stated that the Company has “presented proposals that would provide the Company greater flexibility in managing the work while recognizing current job security provisions”.

What the Company proposed was its willingness to withdraw its Job Security demand if the Union in turn would agree to:
  •  Forced Transfers: Consolidate centers throughout the footprint and transfer workers from one Mid-Atlantic state to a different Mid-Atlantic state. Other transfers would include an additional commute of up to 2-hours one way. A commute the Company calls “inconvenient” but not “unreasonable.”
  •  Temporary Assignments: Ability to transfer employees in one state to another state for up to 4 months.

The Company is willing to eliminate your quality of life by moving you wherever and whenever they decide. This is not how the Union defines Job Security.

These actions would not only have an economic impact but be a hardship for members and their families.

It is clear to your Bargaining Committee that this enormously profitable company- which made $18.3 billion in profits in 2015 and paid its top five executives $44.5 million in 2014, is determined to gut our contract and destroy the working conditions that CWA and IBEW have fought so hard to achieve over the last 50 years.

We need every member engaged in this fight. It is more important than ever that we take this fight to a new level.

Ready to STRIKE for a fair contract???

Mobilize! Mobilize! Mobilize!

Regional Bargaining Report #51

Regional Bargaining Report # 51

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Bargaining Committee has been in Philadelphia this week reviewing the Company’s latest comprehensive proposal in detail. We met with the company yesterday and requested detailed explanations of various items to help clarify their intent and the impact they would have on both active and retired members.
Unfortunately the Company’s proposal still includes many unacceptable givebacks and differs significantly from the Union’s last comprehensive proposal. The Bargaining Committee therefore notified the Company that it was withdrawing the Union’s comprehensive proposal, leaving the previous individual proposals on the table.

In addition to the extreme cost shifting in healthcare, the Company continues to demand the following changes to our contracts.
  •  Corporate Profit Sharing (CPS) – the Company wants to not pay a CPS for the productivity you provide this year because you did not agree to its concessions by a certain date. Rest assured Marc Reed will get his even though it is our labor that produces the revenue.
  •  Overtime – the Company wants to eliminate daily overtime. So if you work over 7 ½ or 8 hours a day you will only get paid overtime if you work in excess of 40 hours per week.
  •  Retirement benefits – the Company wants to cap your pension at 30 years. They also want to eliminate retiree’s medical benefits for employees hired after August 2008.
  •  State and Municipal Paid Leave Laws - The Company wants to escape any legislative requirement now or in the future requiring it to give you paid family leave.
  •  Sickness and Accident Disability Benefits – The Company wants people suffering from an on-the-job accident or injury to use their incidental absence days and then deny paying you the annual absence from duty lump sum payment.
  •  Sharing of Calls – The Company wants to create centers of excellence to take sales, service and technical calls and not include you but will include contractors.
  •  Permanent Transfer – The Company wants the ability to move you up to 50 miles before having to compensate you for moving your residence.
  •  Contracting Fiber Facilities Transfers and Relocations – The fiber work that we have protected as our exclusive work, the Company now wants to contract out. There go more jobs.
  •  Closing Centers – If you work in a Delaware center your new work location could be in either Maryland or Pennsylvania. If you work in a Virginia center your new work location could be Maryland. If you work in Williamsport, PA, the Company has you on the road to Scranton, PA.

Despite the Company’s unresponsiveness, the Committee is still committed to find ways to work with the Company where possible. However, the Committee will not be bullied into accepting an inferior contract just because Marc Reed says we should on his emails. (Keep your decoder rings handy to decipher his Friday emails.)

Our members deserve a contract that provides fair compensation, good benefits, and time with their families. In order to achieve this, we have to be willing to fight back. This means mobilizing at our workplaces, attending meetings, participating in calls, and being prepared to walk out the door if that becomes necessary.

Now is the time to give 100% to fight the demands of a wealthy company that wants to keep squeezing its employees. 

Now is the time to fight the arrogance of managers who don’t care about the lives of rank-and-file employees. 

Now is the time to stand with your brothers and sisters who walk on informational picket lines every day and who have mobilized from day one of this fight. 

Now is the time to stand up and say not this year, not this contract and not on my watch!

As a Union we are all one when we act together, and together we will win.

Regional Bargaining Report #52

Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Report #52

February 19, 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee was in Philadelphia again this week reviewing the latest company comprehensive proposal. The Bargaining Committee did meet with the District 1 and the IBEW Bargaining Committees on Wednesday to discuss where we are at and what it is going to take us to get a contract.  Following that meeting, on Thursday, February 18th, all Local Presidents and mobilizers in District 2-13 were called to Philadelphia to discuss mobilization  and prepare for our next steps. We have fought for eight months for a fair contract and have to be realistic about what it will take to get an agreement that respects our work and allows for a future. 

We all know that Verizon is an immensely successful corporation, enjoying record profits, yet their attitude at the bargaining table is an insult to every worker and retiree who created those profits. Everyone must understand that we are working without a contract and every active and retired member must take a more active role.  Although a strike has not been called, that is a possibility at any time. Every member must be walking the informational picket lines, going to meetings and joining your co-workers in mobilization activities in order to get a good contract. It’s just that simple. 

While the Bargaining Committee is committed to continue negotiations in an effort to reach an agreement, every member needs to be prepared and engaged.

Regional Bargaining Report #53

Regional Bargaining Report # 53

Thursday - March 3, 2016

The Mid Atlantic Bargaining Committee met in Philadelphia this week to review information provided by the company regarding health care and their proposed increases to out of pocket expenses, deductibles and plan design changes. The significant cost shifting to employees would negate any proposed increases to wages, resulting in a net loss in your paycheck at the end of the week.  

The Bargaining Committee met with Verizon Senior Vice President Manuel Sampedro on Tuesday March 1 to discuss the elimination of contractors in the construction environment. After attempting to justify their need for flexibility in the utilization of Outside Plant Technicians, we clearly demonstrated that this flexibility has resulted in increased use of contractors and the loss of traditional line work.

On Wednesday March 2, the Mid-Atlantic  Bargaining Committee met with the District 1 and the IBEW Bargaining Committee to discuss Verizon's Call Sharing Proposal, which in its current form, would give the company the unilateral ability to route any and all calls to vendors and eliminate existing job security safeguards. 

The Mid Atlantic Bargaining Committee met with Verizon Vice President Maureen Davis on Thursday March 3 to discuss Long Term Service Difficulties (LTSD), Service Emergencies and the mandatory requirement of 8 hours of overtime every week. The company recognized that there are issues that need to be addressed and indicated that the requisitions in for addition technicians may help offset the demand load and the continuous need for mandatory overtime in some areas.

The Company then presented the Union with a new comprehensive proposal which, at first glance, falls short of addressing the creation of additional jobs, the elimination of contractors, job security, health care benefits, force transfers, pensions, call sharing, wages and electronic monitoring. While there are some slight modifications in some of their retrogressive proposals, they clearly are not interested in settling this contract at the bargaining table. 

The Bargaining Committee will continue to review the current proposal and respond appropriately.

The Mobilization efforts ramped up in high gear early this week and must continue daily to fight off these additional attacks by the company. 

Back in Black is the word of the day. Ready to STRIKE for a fair contract???

Mobilize!    Mobilize!    Mobilize!

Regional Bargaining Report #54

Regional Bargaining Report # 54

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Mid Atlantic Bargaining Committee met in Philadelphia this week reviewing
the latest company comprehensive proposal. While the Company did make some
changes to its comprehensive proposal it still fails to address the Union’s agenda. Issues
like the Long Term Service Difficulty, Contracting, Overtime Administration, VCSI
Technicians moved into the core agreements and other quality of work/life issues
continue to fall on deaf ears.

On Thursday March 10th, Local Bargaining Committees met the Company at
Local tables for Potomac, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While some movement
occurred, Verizon continues to reject the Unions’ proposals.

The Company has indicated to the Bargaining Committee and through company
communications that this is not an endless process. The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining
Committee has worked tirelessly since June 22nd to find common ground that addresses
both sides’ needs. We are adamant that any agreement must address our needs and share
in this company’s success and if not the fight will be taken to the streets.

All members should be prepared in the event a strike is called and continue to
stay engaged in mobilization activities. The Bargaining Committee will continue to
meet to bring this contract to a successful resolution. It will take all of us, prepared to do WHATEVER IT TAKES, to get the contract we need.

Regional Bargaining Report #55

Regional Bargaining Report # 55

Friday, March 18, 2016

As bargaining in Philadelphia resumed this week, high level discussions took place in an attempt to find a way to move negotiations toward a successful resolution. While the sentiment reflected at this meeting outlined a genuine desire to find acceptable compromises that addresses both sides’ needs, the reality at the bargaining table was far less optimistic. 

The Bargaining Committee passed a Medical Proposal this week which would have saved the company hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the agreement and still maintained the current level of benefits we enjoy today without significant increases in costs to both active and retired members. While the company acknowledged movement in our proposal, they indicated it was still far short of their goal to shift significant increases to employees and rejected the proposal outright. They also rejected our proposal to overhaul the RAMP process and fix the major obstacles that hinder job mobility within the Verizon footprint.

On Thursday March 17th the Bargaining Committee met with Ken Lain and Kelley Kurtzman to get a better understanding of the company's call sharing and expanded electronic monitoring proposal. While the company feels that their need for flexibility is mandatory, the consequences would absolutely result in a net loss of jobs, consolidation of existing centers and even more work being farmed out to contractors. To be clear, if you currently work in a call center than the company’s current proposal would absolutely endanger your future at this company. 

We can’t stress enough the importance of everyone being ready to go out on strike on a moment’s notice. We are at a critical point in these negotiations and if this company refuses to move more in its proposals than what they are signaling than we will be forced to strike this company. Stay Strong! Keep Mobilizing! This weekend would be a great opportunity to see CWA at all wireless stores. 

Regional Bargaining Report #56

Regional Bargaining Report # 56

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Mid Atlantic Bargaining Team met in Philadelphia this week. The Unions passed
several modified proposals attempting to address both the concerns of the company and the needs of our members. The Company continues to have only one goal; to destroy our good middle class jobs by reducing healthcare coverage, shifting healthcare costs, contracting out work and reducing pensions. 

The Company rejected our proposal to limit the use of recorded calls to training and development; instead they want to continue using recorded calls to levy outrageous amounts of discipline, including terminations on our members.

The Company passed a comprehensive proposal this week that showed some slight
movement but continues to include the retrogressive demands across virtually every area of our contract. Job security, Pensions, Work Rules and Quality of Life would all be eroded if we were to agree to the latest company offer.

The company is still pitching a scenario that will ultimately send more of our work to
overseas call centers with absolutely no regard for you, your family, or the communities you reside in, who will be impacted by the loss of these jobs. Their Anti-American sentiment towards keeping jobs locally is only fueled by one thing....Corporate Greed!!

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 time every single week by participating in mobilization activities and every day talking to our friends, families’ neighbors, and community leaders.

If you have not been involved NOW is the time to get involved. Call your Local or talk to your steward 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!

Regional Bargaining Report #57

Regional Bargaining Report # 57

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bargaining continued this week in Philadelphia. Several Union
proposals were passed related to bringing work back into the bargaining
units. The proposals included a Call Sharing Agreement that would not only
bring work back to the bargaining unit but back to America. Securing
bargaining unit work secures everyone’s future. The week ended with no
significant movement toward a contract that would be fair to our members.

There was also an off table discussion with the company concerning the
Union’s proposal to make changes to the Medical Restriction Policy. The
Union addressed several concerns regarding unintended consequences that
resulted from previous changes to the policy. The Company has yet to respond
to our issues.

Many of us are getting water from a well we didn’t dig. We enjoy the
benefits of great contracts that were brought about by the blood sweat and
tears of retired and senior members. Now is our time to show this company we
will fight to keep and protect not only our benefits but the benefits of the
members who came before us. If this company thinks we will sit back and let
them pick us apart they are in for a rude awaking. A storm is coming.
IT IS TIME TO GET ANGRY, IT IS TIME TO GET INVOLVED, 
IT'S TIME TO FIGHT BACK!

Regional Bargaining Report #58

Regional Bargaining Report # 58

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bargaining continued this week in Philadelphia. The Union passed proposals related to a few of the Company’s demands regarding Independent Medical Exams, Evaluative Observations and Municipal and State Leave Laws. The Company rejected rational arguments on each of these proposals.

During an afternoon session Tuesday, the Union bargaining team invited the Lehigh County Executive, Tom Muller to join us for a discussion to defend keeping the Verizon center in his jurisdiction open and potentially adding personnel. The Union Committee spent the next hour describing the personal hardships members would face being forced to move from these rural areas. The Company had little compassion for the hardships these office moves would cause, demonstrating again Verizon has a heart of stone.

The last comprehensive proposal the Company made to the Mid Atlantic bargaining team was March 23rd. This proposal contains no movement to address the Union’s priorities. There has been no movement in wages and no cost of living. The company proposal still allows them to increase contracting and off-shoring of our work.
The Company’s proposal still contains many other retrogressive demands including:
• Job Security- Eliminate the no-layoff protections for workers hired before 2003
• 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- Eliminated
• Pensions – The Company proposes to freeze pensions at 30 years and modify the cashout option, drastically reducing the amount of our cashout.
• Closing call centers- the closing of centers that would result in transferring members up to 80 miles from their current work location
• Temporary Assignments in Other States - the ability to temporarily transfer members to other states
• Family Care Committee - reduce the funding by 40% over the life of the contract
• Future Link – funding reduced by 40% over the life of the contract
• Tuition Assistance Plan- major changes that would drastically limit some courses and eliminate entirely other courses a member could take
• Dependent Eligibility for benefits- Eliminate sponsored parents.
• Shifting Healthcare Costs – The Company’s proposal is to shift additional costs to members for less coverage. The Company’s proposal also shifts more healthcare costs on to our retirees.
• Evaluative Observations – The Company wants to eliminate advance notification, monitor during overtime hours and extend the timeframe to cover observations.

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. Verizon is the poster child for Corporate Greed!
By now Locals should have prepared for the inevitable by assigning picket duty, delivering signs and setting up member relief accounts.
CWA PRESIDENT CHRIS SHELTON WILL BE ANNOUNCING A STRIKE DATE WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

Regional Bargaining Report #59

Regional Bargaining Report # 59

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Negotiations at the Regional table have ground to a halt. Earlier this afternoon an off table
discussion was held regarding Call Sharing. No progress was made on the issue. Talks have recessed for now, subject to call by either party.

The Company has spent more time sending messages to our members giving them “bargaining facts” than they spend at the bargaining table. The Company’s “bargaining facts” emailed today to our members stated the Company had been contacted by Federal Mediation and agreed they were willing to mediate if the Unions extended the strike deadline. CWA responded with a press release stating “CWA did not authorize anyone at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to approach Verizon about
extending the strike date. Either the FMCS acted without authorization or Verizon executive vice president Marc Reed is lying.” Our guess is little Mark is lying again!

Clearly Reed’s goal is to mislead the public and our members regarding all the facts. A recent news article where Reed was quoted stated that out of the last 4 bargaining cycles the union leadership took the workers out on strike 50% of the time. Those of us that were here for the last 4 bargaining cycles remember it a little differently. We saw under Verizon CEO’s leadership, including Marc Reed, our members were forced to strike for a fair contract 100% of the time in the last 2 contracts. Enough of the bullshit, scare tactics and lies!

With less than 12 hours to go it is becoming clear this company is not taking us seriously. The clock is ticking. At 6AM tomorrow morning this company will find out just how serious we really are.  We have communicated a lot of information in these bargaining reports over the past 10 months. Tonight we want to make clear what the major issues are causing our members to take to the picket lines and withhold our labor from the greedy corporation Verizon. So here is why we are going on strike:

1). WAGES: The company offered increases of 6.5%. When you factor in the rising cost of all the other monetary items the company proposes changing, it is not an “increase”, but a step backwards. Union wage increases are negotiated once real commitments from the company are made on all of the issues affecting our members.
2). JOB SECURITY- CWA supported Bell Atlantic’s merger with GTE. Job security language in 2003 was the cost for CWA’s support. Now Verizon seeks to eliminate that job security language unless we agree to allow forced temporary transfers of employees to other states, close rural call centers forcing employees to move or commute excessive distances or quit and force employees to travel up to 50 miles more before compensating employees.
3). PENSIONS – The Company has proposed to cap pension accruals at 30 years. They also propose to lock in the life expectancy portion of the pension cash out calculation potentially costing members the 3% annual pension band increase proposed. Our members deserve pensions that will provide reliable retirement security.
4). CALL SHARING - The company contracts over 5,000 employees in the Philippines, Mexico, Dominican Republic and elsewhere. Contractors handle over a million calls originating in the Mid-Atlantic States and the company wants an agreement to lower the percentage of calls it commits to its own employees. They are also proposing call routing that will get the call to a contractor quicker. This is all designed to eliminate call center jobs. This agreement is also a job security issue for all call center employees. It is vital that the Union prevail in securing call center work.
5). HEALTHCARE – The Company seeks significant increases in healthcare contributions while diminishing plan coverage. They want us to pay more for less coverage.
6). RETIREE MEDICAL - The company proposes continuing your healthcare but they want your costs to be increased at the same pace of active employees, even though you don’t earn a paycheck, overtime or benefit from wage increases.
7). FORCED OVERTIME ASSIGNMENTS – The company has manipulated overtime in our bargaining units because they are understaffed. The Company has mismanaged out of town projects and overtime to a point where they have exhausted the existing workforce. The company has abused employees by assigning overtime almost daily and then canceling the assignment, sometimes just minutes before the overtime is scheduled to start. This practiced has caused our members to pay for daycare when it was not necessary, to miss family events and impacted quality of life issues.

It is disgraceful for this Company to demand our members and retirees sacrifice years of negotiated benefits while they sit back with fat salaries and bonuses. We will not stand by and let this Company continue to destroy good middle class jobs. The clock is ticking and time is running out.  Whether wired or wireless, none of this network works without us.

Once again, as of 6AM Wednesday, April 13, 2016 the CWA Executive Board authorized a strike against Verizon, Verizon Wireless and Verizon Connected Solutions. If you are at work, you need to immediately get up and leave. As of 6AM, we are on strike. If you are scheduled to report to work tomorrow, you should contact your Local for picket instructions.

Regional Bargaining Report #60

Regional Bargaining Report # 60

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee met with the company in Philadelphia today. The
discussion opened with the Unions’ bargaining team requesting the Company withdraw several of its proposals regarding the IME (Independent Medical Examination) and Evaluative Observations. The Company refused. The meeting became heated after the Unions outlined our member’s major issues that must be addressed during this round of bargaining. 

The Union has addressed the issue of contracting call center work at this regional table for months. The Company to date has not agreed to staff to the number of employees necessary to handle the work volume that originates in the Mid-Atlantic Region.  The Company’s demand for flexibility has led to massive contracting of Outside Plant work throughout parts of our District. This is the work that will guarantee our members job security. The bargaining team described the work environment at Vz. as nothing more than sweatshop mentality. The excessive monitoring, excessive overtime and excessive discipline of our members must stop now. We know Vz. has declared war on its own employees. There is no respect for workers or the quality of life of their families at Verizon. True to their form the Company responded by refusing to move on any of the
Unions’ issues.

The Company also restated the issues needed in its proposal. The Company’s chair restated Vz’s needs for “significant” cost savings in healthcare. When challenged over the description of characterizing its proposal as “significant” after consistently calling it “modest” the Company then offered that the “Company’s changes are significant but the cost to our members is modest,” – You cannot make this up.

The Company went on to state its proposal on pensions should address the Union’s demands for pension increases. The committee quickly pointed out that the pension increase offered is immediately lost with the restrictions the company also proposes to cap the pension at 30 years and maintain an outdated mortality table used in the cash out calculation.  

The final issue the Company addressed was the need for flexibility to close rural centers and transfer employees across state lines tying the proposal to the existing job security language. Again, the Union committee blasted the company over its attempt to hold hostage job security language negotiated years ago regarding the merger of fGTE and Bell Atlantic in exchange for the unrestricted ability to force members to endure unrealistic commutes to a new work location or work assignments taking them away from their family for weeks at a time.

The Company then announced they will not be here over the next couple of days and would return on Monday. Instead of sitting at this table and trying to reach a deal, they have left Philadelphia for the weekend. This shows just how much Verizon doesn’t care about the 40,000 workers on strike or the impact on the millions of Vz. Customers. The bargaining committee has headed back to their home locals over the weekend to help with the STRIKE since there can be no meetings in Philadelphia without the Company.

While the Company continues to spout the same tired rhetoric at the bargaining table, it is clear that our members on the picket lines and through mobilization are having a significant effect on company operations. Commitment dates on installation and repairs are already pushed out weeks and the management workers who were "trained" to perform our jobs have been floundering like fish out of water.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has been throwing temper tantrums over negative press coverage and customer traffic at the wireless stores has reduced traffic to a trickle.
Together we will win this war. Stay Strong and Stay Informed!

Message to special mobilizers "Release the Squirrels"

Regional Bargaining Report #61

Regional Bargaining Report # 61

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Union and the Company met today. The Union requested the meeting to again clarify our members’ issues for the Company. We explained how it appears Tami Erwin and Lowell McAdam don’t seem to understand what is going on at this table as they visit picket lines throughout the North and Mid-Atlantic Regions.

We highlighted our demands for additional jobs and work, improvements in the treatment of our members on the job, pension improvements and improvements in the RAMP process. We also addressed comments made by McAdam on our picket lines where he accuses the Union of providing false information to our members. Lowell told members that Vz. is not taking away job security and all of that stuff is just BS. We asked the Company to confirm who is correct – Lowell or what the Company has on the table. Vz. denied seeing the video and advised we have its proposal.

McAdam specifically stated to the picketers, the Company wants us to take the calls from customers and not the vendors. Yet when asked at the bargaining table the Company’s Chair clearly stated the Company’s call sharing proposal is intended to increase their ability to contract out our call center work, including moving that work out of the country.

How can you even begin to trust these people when they can’t even get their stories straight when feeding a line of crap to our members on the picket lines? Maybe if they focused more on making meaningful proposals rather than trying to confuse people with their corporate double talk we might have had a contract by now. Both unions continue to be available to have constructive discussions associated with this contract to negotiate improvement for our members.

Keep up the tremendous work we hear about all across the Mid-Atlantic. Your actions and activity are what is going to win this fight and by all accounts your participation is having the intended impact that we need.

There is a rally in MD, on Wednesday, April 20th. All members not otherwise engaged with picket assignments are encouraged to attend. Lunch will be provided. Please call your Local for details.
Squirrel Force Five has a message for all of our mobile teams.
“KEEP ON FLOSSING”.

Regional Bargaining Report #62

Regional Bargaining Report # 62

Sunday, April 24, 2016

It is now Day 12 of the strike and instead of the company bargaining team coming to the table to negotiate; Company executives continue to visit CWA and IBEW members on the picket lines. While our members have repeatedly told Vz executives to get back to the bargaining table they don’t seem to get the message.

Instead the Company continues to spin to the media how well compensated employees
are with the wage and benefit package Vz. provides. The Company’s message is like a broken record. The Company attempts to project its own greed onto Union members. 

Verizon has concocted an inflated $130,000 number for our wage and benefit package to make it seem as if workers are lavishly paid. But when it comes to lavish pay at Verizon, only three numbers really matter: Verizon’s $18 billion in profits in 2015, CEO Lowell McAdam’s total compensation of $18 million last year, and the more than $230 million given to Verizon’s top-five executives in the last five years.

We know the Company not only heard us at the bargaining table but they understood the
Unions’ issues are centered around maintaining good jobs for our members and yet they continue to spin lies about employees compensation to create a diversion from dealing with the real issues.

The following issues must be addressed in this round of bargaining to maintain good jobs at Verizon.
· Offshoring Good Jobs – Verizon has already contracted out work to more than
5,000 employees in the Philippines, Mexico, the Dominican Republican and other
overseas locations. These offshore workers handle customer service calls originating in
the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states. Verizon wants to increase the number of calls
— and jobs — that are transferred overseas.
· Outsourcing Work to Low-Wage Contractors – Verizon is pushing to dramatically
expand its outsourcing of work to low-wage non-union contractors. The company wants
to sharply expand the amount of contracting out of outside line work, particularly vital
work installing and maintaining telephone poles.
· Hanging Up on Wireless Workers – Verizon is also refusing to negotiate a fair first
contract for Verizon Wireless retail workers who formed a union in 2014. Verizon says
Wireless workers make the company huge profits, but it’s refusing to give them any
improvements — even though they’re some of the lowest paid people at Verizon. Also,
Verizon is failing to negotiate a fair contract for the 100 wireless technicians who
maintain the network in downstate New York.
· Call-Center Closings – Despite the high-demand for customer service, hundreds of
Verizon workers are at risk of losing their jobs or being forced to commute as much as
three hours more each day because of the company's plan to close and consolidate call
centers. Members’ families and communities would be devastated by these moves. Most
of the centers are located in Vz owned facilities and have ample space to accommodate
additional call center workers.
· Out of State Assignments – Verizon executives want technicians to work away
from home for as long as two months at a time, anywhere from Massachusetts to
Virginia, without seeing their families. Some members will be forced to choose between
caring for their kids and keeping their jobs.
. Improved Working Conditions – Verizon management has created a sweatshop
environment with its excessive monitoring and unreasonable overtime assignments.
Employees are monitored in call centers by the electronic recording of every call.
Outside technicians are monitored with a Global Positioning System tracking every
aspect of movement of the company vehicles. The mismanagement of these monitoring
tools has created high levels of stress affecting employee productivity and morale. Call
center management routinely assign overtime to employees and then without any concern
for the employee’s quality of life cancel assignments less than 10 minutes before the
scheduled overtime while directing calls to contract vendors. Outside technicians have
been forced to work overtime to the point of exhaustion because the Company has not
hired enough technicians to keep up with the workload. Members deserve better
treatment than this from Vz.

Sooner or later the company will get the message: Our members are united in the fight for good jobs and improved working conditions. Corporate greed must be stopped! CWA and IBEW members are leading the fight against Corporate Greed for all workers.
Picket lines are strong throughout Mid-Atlantic. Wireless stores have been targeted by
Locals who are moving more pickets to the stores. Internal sources have confirmed sales results are dropping in Wireless stores and Verizon stock has started to drop as well. Our members are doing a great job on picketing, rallies and dealing with the media. We have received commitments of support from the entire Labor Movement including the Utility Workers Union in Scotland who has volunteered to make this a global fight with Verizon and its contracts in Scotland.

No significant movement has been made in these negotiations since the strike began on
April 13th. The Unions’ bargaining team remains available to meet with the company to work out a fair agreement. An agreement that secures the good middle class jobs we have today.

Regional Bargaining Report #63

Regional Bargaining Report # 63

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Earlier this evening the company reached out to the bargaining committee and requested to meet. The meeting will take place Thursday afternoon.

Keep the picket lines strong at the wireless stores and the public engaged in our fight. We remain committed to reach a fair contract and need to continue to stand together.

Regional Bargaining Report #64

Regional Bargaining Report # 64

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

As reported yesterday, the Mid Atlantic Regional Bargaining committee will be meeting with the Company tomorrow afternoon. This is day 15 of the strike and will only be the third meeting with the Company since the strike was called. The other 2 meetings yielded no agreement. No one should be convinced that this meeting will either.

We need to dispel any rumors circulating by management that we will be returning to work by Friday. Our strike will remain in full effect until we reach a fair settlement to this contract.

Healthcare coverage for over 50,000 Mid-Atlantic members, spouses and their children will be canceled by Verizon beginning May 1st. CWA has pledged that no striking member or family member will go without medically necessary health care during the strike. CWA will pay for all necessary medical/hospital expenses incurred on May 1, 2016 or later. Members should be contacting their Local regarding issues of health care coverage.

Now is not the time to let the pressure up on Verizon. Now is the time to be even more vigilant and resolved to preserve good middle class jobs and the American dream.
WE LIVE HERE; WORK HERE, PLAY HERE AND WE ARE STAYING HERE!

Regional Bargaining Report #65

Regional Bargaining Report # 65

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Committee met with the Company in Philadelphia this
afternoon. The Company passed a comprehensive proposal, calling it the last best and
final proposal, which still fails to address many of our members’ concerns. We have been on strike for 16 days while the Company has been producing videos in an attempt to convince members that it has presented a deal we shouldn’t refuse.

Do not be fooled by videos that do not tell the whole story. Our strike remains in
full force and effect. Your bargaining team will remain in Philadelphia reviewing the
Company’s latest proposal and will be responding appropriately. While the Company has described its proposal as the last, best and final offer it is nothing more than a work in progress. Both sides are still obligated to continue negotiations so members should see this as just another scare tactic by the Company and not the end of the bargaining process.

Customer opinion of Verizon has hit a three-year low as Verizon executives refuse to
settle a contract that would put our skilled technicians and experienced customer service
workers back on the job. Our customers are already tired of the wait times, unsafe work
practices and poor service being provided by untrained management replacement workers.

Keep your picket lines strong! Verizon is feeling the heat. Keep standing up and
fighting back – they started this fight and we will finish it!

Regional Bargaining Report #66

Regional Bargaining Report # 66

Friday, April 29, 2016

While the CWA Mid Atlantic Bargaining Committee was meeting with the company
this morning questioning the Company’s latest proposal, CWA members across the region were receiving overnight packages from the Company. Sent through a NON-UNION mail carrier, a summary document attempts to justify the Company’s latest version of its retrogressive demands. 

The cost of this mailing alone exceeds the total cuts the Company is attempting to make in the Tuition Assistance Plan. This act clearly demonstrates the
lengths this greedy corporation will go to chip away at every employee benefit.

Every proposal Verizon attempted to justify through its shady car salesman videos and half-truth emails has been questioned and explored to the nth degree. The Company’s pat response has been it needs to reduce the costs of the business. When we explore further we either get blank stares or "I don't knows". After 10 months of bargaining and 17 days of a very effective strike, the Company is clearly starting to wilt.

Not one of the Company’s proposals can they defend as a need. This round of bargaining has been about the Company taking on the Union members that make a significant part of the profits for the mother corporation. This is about a Greedy Corporation.

The Union and the Company are scheduled to meet again this afternoon. 

Bargaining is a two way street and if Verizon truly wants things to get back to normal, they will have to demonstrate that philosophy at the table!!

Regional Bargaining Report #67

Regional Bargaining Report # 67

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining committee met with the company at 3pm this afternoon. The Union responded to the Company’s latest proposal rejecting parts of its comprehensive package. The Union advised the Company we would respond to its other proposals as soon as the information requested earlier today was provided.

The Union passed a comprehensive proposal addressing the issues our members need for job security and improved working conditions. In the majority of our bargaining units members hired after August of 2003 will continue to have limited job security unless we are successful in securing work that is now being contracted out.

This includes all call center work. Whether you are a technician or a consultant working in a call center, Verizon gives over half of your work to vendors outside of your bargaining unit. The Union has proposed this work be returned to the bargaining unit into the Sales, Service and Collection Centers. If the work was being done in the bargaining unit some of the centers where the Company wants to force
members over 70 miles into mega centers would not be on the chopping block. Instead, there would be several thousand additional employees working throughout all of the centers.

The same goes for the tech centers, the FSC and EVRC. Better than half of the work that should be performed in these centers goes to contractors. If that work was brought back into the bargaining unit members would not be at risk of being surplused every other quarter.

Outside Plant Technicians do not escape Verizon’s penchant for cheap, low quality contractor labor either. Over $480 million dollars was paid to contractors performing outside plant work in the Potomac area alone during the years 2013, 2014 and 2015. Again, unless some of this work is secured for the bargaining unit fewer and fewer members will have any type of job security.

Regarding improved working conditions, excessive overtime and excessive monitoring (including Electronic Recording of Calls and Global Position System Tracking) must be addressed at Verizon. The Union explained the concerns members have communicated about the excessive discipline, increased stress and overall unhealthy work environments. The Company has refused to engage in any conversation or discussion to develop and implement any corrective measures to monitoring or overtime.

Your bargaining committee has attempted to work with the company on the issues it claims are important to reaching an agreement. We have made proposals that would provide significant savings in healthcare to the Company without destroying the plan designs our members have worked hard to obtain. Then instead of working with us on our needs the company returned after approx. 40 minutes and rejected our comprehensive proposal. This company is hell-bent on intimidating workers with its
announcement of a last best offer.

The company rejected the Union’s proposal without countering or engaging in any type of constructive dialogue. The actions by the Company are a display of arrogance and contempt for their own employees. The Union has attempted to protect the quality of life for current members and ensure opportunities for Americans who don’t want to move to the Philippines to find a job. The idea of negotiating is still something that the company is unfamiliar with. There are 50,000 lives that are affected by this company’s refusal to be reasonable and find a way to resolve the issues facing both sides.
Verizon claims in newspaper ads that a better offer would be hard to find. We gave them one and they said no! 

The Strike remains in full force. Your bargaining team remains available to meet with the Company to hammer out a fair agreement.

The Company sent members a summary of its last, best proposal. Members should know that the devil is in the details. The following summary provides a few details missing from Verizon’s summary.
WAGES:
WHAT THEY SAY: YOU WILL RECEIVE A 7.5% INCREASE OVER THE TERM OF THE CONTRACT.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THE 7.5% IS TO ENTICE YOU TO LOOK NO FURTHER AT THEIR OFFER. IF YOU DO YOU WILL FIND 7.5% WILL BE EATEN UP BY PAYING MORE FOR PRESCRIPTIONS; COPAYS; DEDUCTIBLES AND PREMIUMS. YOUR GAS COST WILL INCREASE DUE TO TRAVEL THAT
WILL INCREASE ABOVE YOUR CURRENT COMMUTE. WHAT THE COMPANY WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE YOU WILL PUT IN ONE POCKET, THEY ARE TAKING OUT OF THE OTHER.

JOB SECURITY:
WHAT THEY SAY: IF WE AGREE ON 3 WORKFORCE FLEXIBILITY PROPOSALS AND YOU HAVE JOB SECURITY TODAY YOU WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE JOB SECURITY FOR THE TERM OF THE CONTRACT.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THIS PROPOSAL IS A PATH TO ELIMINATE ALL OF US. THESE 3 WORKFORCE FLEXIBILITY PROPOSALS MEAN 1). WE AGREE TO SELL OUT OUR MEMBERS HIRED PRIOR TO AUGUST 2003 AND ALLOW THEM TO BE TRANSFERRED AN ADDITIONAL 50 MILES-FROM THE
COMMUTE THEY HAVE NOW AND 2). IF WE AGREE TO CLOSE 11 OFFICES AND FORCE 123 MEMBERS TO DRIVE UP TO AN ADDITIONAL 70 MILES ONE WAY 3). DIRECT A SPECIAL INCENTIVE OFFER TO JOBS THEY CONTRACT OUT WITH NO GUARANTEES OF BACKFILLING THOSE JOBS
WITH INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL HIRES. THEN AND ONLY THEN CAN WE HAVE JOB SECURITY AND ONLY FOR SOME.

PENSION:
WHAT THEY SAY: YOU WILL RECEIVE CREDIT UP TO 30 YEARS. YOU WILL RECEIVE THREE 1% INCREASES. YOU WILL NOT EARN CREDIT BEYOND 30 YEARS. THE MORTALITY TABLE IS LOCKED IN.
WHAT THEY MEAN: SIMPLY PUT, VERIZON WANTS TO FREEZE THE PENSION PLAN FOR ELIGIBLE ASSOCIATES AT 30 YEARS. THOSE CWA MEMBERS WHO HAVE ALREADY REACHED 30 YEARS OR
MORE WILL NO LONGER ACCRUE SERVICE CREDIT FOR ANY ADDITIONAL YEARS WORKED. THEY ARE ALSO PROPOSING TO MODIFY THE CASH OUT OPTION. THE CALCULATION METHOD PROPOSED WILL SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE YOUR LUMP SUM CASH OUT IF YOU ELECT THAT OPTION UPON RETIREMENT. THE 1% ANNUAL INCREASE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE NEGATED BY THIS NEW CALCULATION.

STATE AND LOCAL LEAVE LAWS:
WHAT THEY SAY: ASSOCIATES ELIGIBLE FOR TIME OFF UNDER STATE AND PAID LEAVE LAWS WOULD USE EXISTING PAID TIME OFF IN A SPECIFIED ORDER.
WHAT THEY MEAN: MOST LAWS PROVIDE FOR MORE TIME OFF WHICH THE COMPANY IS NOT AGREEING TO GIVE. THEY ARE TRYING TO REWRITE OUR CONTRACT TO CARE FOR NONEXISTENT LEGISLATION. THEY WILL FORCE YOU TO USE DAYS THAT GIVE YOU MORE FLEXIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN TIME OFF FIRST.

RETIREE BENEFITS:
WHAT THEY SAY: 3 CATEGORIES FOR NEW HIRES; PRE-RETIREES AND MEDICARE ELIGIBLE. FOR NEW HIRES-NO CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARD RETIREE MEDICAL OR DENTAL-WILL BE REQUIRED TO PAY FULL COST OF COVERAGE. PRE-MEDICARE RETIREES-GET SAME CHANGES TO PLAN DESIGN AS ACTIVE MEMBERS. MEDICARE RETIREES WOULD BE PLACED IN THE MEDICARE ADVANTAGE.
WHAT THEY MEAN: FOR FUTURE RETIREE HEALTHCARE BENEFITS-THIS CAN BE BROKEN DOWN INTO 2 VERY DIFFERENT PARTS. ONE ASPECT IS NEW HIRES FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS CONTRACT WILL RECEIVE NOTHING TOWARD RETIREMENT HEALTHCARE. IF THEY
BETWEEN THE LINES - 
WHAT DOES THE COMPANY’S OFFER MEAN:
HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK A FULL THIRTY YEARS WITH VERIZON, THEY WILL HAVE NOTHING TO ASSIST THEM WITH HEALTHCARE IN RETIREMENT.  FOR RETIREES - THIS PLAN WILL INTRODUCE AND/OR INCREASE DEDUCTIBLES TO ALL RETIREES. ALSO THE COMPANY WILL HAVE THE SOLE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE ANY
ADMINISTRATIVE DETAILS OF THE PLAN WITH NO SAY SO BY THE UNIONS. IF THE COMPANY DECIDES THE PLAN BECOMES TOO EXPENSIVE THEY HAVE THE SOLE DISCRETION TO CHANGE THE PLAN TO ONE OF THE COMPANY SPONSORED MEDICAL PLANS. IT ALSO INTRODUCES A
FORMULARY INTO THE PRESCRIPTION PLAN, MEANING THE COMPANY WILL DECIDE IF THE DRUG IS THE BEST ONE FOR YOU BASED ON COST, NOT ON DOCTOR RECOMMENDATION.

DISABILITY:
WHAT THEY SAY: AFTER A DEFINED PERIOD OF TIME RECEIPT OF DISABILITY BENEFITS IS CONDITIONED ON THE EMPLOYEE SEEING A PHYSICIAN.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THE COMPANY WANTS TO CONTROL WHO YOU SEE FOR YOUR ILLNESS.  WHETHER YOU HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH OR MUSCULOSKELETAL ISSUE, THE TYPE OF DOCTOR YOU SEE IS DETERMINED BY THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU MISS. IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE HEALTH ISSUES YOU’LL HAVE TO SET-UP A DIFFERENT TREATMENT PLAN FOR EACH ONE. THE IDEA OF YOUR DOCTOR TREATING YOU FROM INITIAL DIAGNOSIS UNTIL RECOVERY IS NOT THE MAIN FOCUS OF THE COMPANY’S PROPOSAL. WE ALREADY HAVE A PROCESS TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. IT IS CALLED AN IME AND THE COMPANY PAYS FOR THE IME. REQUIRING YOU TO SEE A SPECIALIST INTERFERES WITH YOUR CARE AND IS AN ADDED COST TO YOU.

CORPORATE PROFIT SHARING (CPS):
WHAT THEY SAY: THERE WILL BE A CPS FOR 2017 PAYABLE IN 2018.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THE UNION’S PROPOSAL MAINTAINS CORPORATE PROFIT SHARING(CPS) FOR 2016, 2017 AND 2018; SIMILAR TO OUR LAST CONTRACT. ALL THREE YEARS OF THE CONTRACT NOT JUST THE ONE THE COMPANY IS PROPOSING.

LEGAL RELEASE FOR INCENTIVE OFFERS:
WHAT THEY SAY: EACH ASSOCIATE WHO TAKES A VOLUNTARY INCENTIVE OFFER WILL BE REQUIRED TO SIGN A LEGAL RELEASE WAIVING CERTAIN CLAIMS AGAINST THE COMPANY AND THE UNION.
WHAT THEY MEAN: LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS ARE PASSED TO OFFER PROTECTIONS TO WORKERS AND THE ABILITY TO SEEK COMPENSATION IF A WORKER IS TREATED UNFAIRLY UNDER THIS LAW; AN EXAMPLE OF THIS IS WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION FOR WORKERS
INJURED ON THE JOB. THE UNION HAS CONCERNS THAT THIS “RELEASE” COULD ALLOW WORKERS DUE SOME TYPE OF COMPENSATION OR RELIEF TO BE UNFAIRLY DENIED.

INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS:
WHAT THEY SAY: AFTER HCOC REVIEWS THE COMPANY MAY SELECT IME VENDORS.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THE COMPANY REACHED A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON THE HEALTH CARE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (HCOC) WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE REVIEW AND SELECTION OF IME VENDORS. NOW THE COMPANY WANTS TO HAVE TOTAL CONTROL OVER THE
SELECTION OF THE VENDOR AND PROVIDE A RESTRICTED PERIOD OF TIME FOR REVIEW BY THE HCOC. THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF FIXING SOMETHING THAT IS NOT BROKEN.

EVALUATIVE OBSERVATIONS AND ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF CALLS:
WHAT THEY SAY: IN THE SALES/SERVICE CENTERS ELIMINATE REQUIREMENTS TO GIVE ADVANCE NOTICE AND EXTEND THE TIME FOR FEEDBACK TO 2 BUSINESS DAYS AND ALLOW EVALUATIVE OBSERVATIONS TO BE CONDUCTED AT ANY TIME.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THE COMPANY ALREADY RECORDS 100% OF ALL CALLS. THESE PROPOSALS WOULD ALLOW THE COMPANY MORE TIME TO LISTEN TO CALLS, LESS TIME FOR COACHING AND DEVELOPMENT WHICH EQUATES TO MORE STRESS AND DISCIPLINE.

INCLEMENT WEATHER:
WHAT THEY SAY: IN NEW JERSEY ELIMINATE THE POLICY AND AGREEMENTS.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THE COMPANY WANTS TO TAKE AWAY ATTENDANCE OPTIONS THAT MEMBERS CURRENTLY HAVE WHEN THERE IS INCLEMENT WEATHER CONDITIONS.

TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT IN ANOTHER STATE:
WHAT THEY SAY: TECHNICIAN CAN BE TEMPORARILY ASSIGNED OUT OF STATE FOR UP TO 60 DAYS. EACH STATE CAN HAVE TECHNICIANS TRANSFERRED IN FOR UP TO 120 DAYS.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THIS WILL BE WITHDRAWN IF CBA IS RATIFIED BY MAY 20, SO IT MUST NOT BE CRITICAL TO THE COMPANY. THIS TYPE OF PROPOSAL SHOULD NOT BE PART OF BARGAINING
AT THIS LATE STAGE. “INVOLUNTARILY ASSIGNED” MEANS FORCED. THE COMPANY WANTS TO FORCE YOU, TO ANY STATE AT THEIR DISCRETION, TO WORK AND THEN HAVE YOU TRAVEL BACK TO YOUR HOME REPORTING LOCATION DAILY. THIS WILL BE DONE 60 DAYS PER YEAR
ALWAYS AT THE COMPANY’S PREFERENCE.

CALL ROUTING:
WHAT THEY SAY: CURRENT CALL ROUTING WITH 2 CHANGES. 1). A CALL CAN BE ROUTED DIRECTLY TO NYNE OR MID-ATLANTIC REGARDLESS OF WHERE THE CALL ORIGINATES 2). IF NO ASSOCIATE AVAILABLE BEFORE ROUTING TO CONTRACTOR COMPANY CAN CHOOSE TO ROUTE
SALES/SERVICE CALL TO ASSOCIATE IN NON-LIKE FUNCTION CENTER. IN SALES/SERVICE HANDLES LESS THAN 53% IN ANY 6 MONTHS NO LAYOFF FOR 6 MONTHS. IN TECH SUPPORT HANDLE LESS THAN 53% IN ANY 6 MONTHS NO LAYOFFS FOR 6 MONTHS. HIRE AT LEAST 400 NEW HIRES INTO SALES/SERVICE AND TECH SUPPORT IN LOCATED MID-ATLANTIC.
WHAT THEY MEAN: VERIZON'S PROPOSAL ON "ENHANCED" FLEXIBILITY IN CALL ROUTING IS JUST A SHELL GAME IN DISGUISE FOR ROUTING EVEN MORE CALLS TO CONTRACTORS AND OVERSEAS CALL CENTERS. EXPORTING OUR WORK AND GOOD MIDDLE CLASS JOBS IS CLEVERLY CAMOUFLAGED WITH THE PROMISE TO HIRE 400 NEW HIRES IF WE AGREE TO ALLOW THEM TO CONTINUE CONTRACTING OUT NEARLY 50% OF ALL CALL VOLUMES WITH NO GUARANTEE TO MAINTAIN ANY STAFFING PERCENTAGE. CURRENTLY VERIZON EMPLOYS ABOUT 5000 ASSOCIATES IN FOREIGN CALL CENTERS AND THIS CURRENT PROPOSAL PROVIDES A FAST-TRACK FOR ADDITIONAL WORK TO BE EXPORTED AS WELL. DATA PROVIDED BY VERIZON INDICATES ITS OWN CALL CENTERS ARE UNDERSTAFFED BY MORE THAN 650 JOBS IN MID-ATLANTIC ALONE.

INBOUND DEMAND CENTER (IDC) CALL SHARING:
WHAT THEY SAY: THIS PROPOSAL IS TIED TO UNION AGREEING TO COMPANY’S CALL SHARE PROPOSAL AS IT
WHAT THEY MEAN: THE UNION ALSO HAS A PROPOSAL ON IDC CALL SHARING. OUR PROPOSAL INCLUDES GUARANTEES THAT THE EXISTING CENTER WOULD REMAIN AND ANY WORK THAT VERIZON HAS TRANSITIONED TO VZB FOR MEDIUM BUSINESS WOULD RETURN TO THE
BARGAINING UNIT.

TUITION ASSISTANCE:
WHAT THEY SAY: COURSES ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT MUST RELATE TO A CAREER WITHIN THE COMPANY. CERTAIN SPECIFIED COURSES ARE EXCLUDED FROM REIMBURSEMENT.
WHAT THEY MEAN: THE COMPANY WANTS TO COVER ONLY COURSES THAT APPLY TO JOBS WITHIN THE COMPANY. TUITION ASSISTANCE WAS NEGOTIATED TO ALLOW INDIVIDUALS TO IMPROVE JOB RELATED SKILLS AS WELL AS PERSONAL GROWTH. THIS PLAN WAS NEGOTIATED
YEARS AGO TO OFFER A PATH FOR MEMBERS TO MOVE TO OTHER CAREERS, BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY. IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE A REPLACEMENT FOR THE COMPANY JOB TRAINING.

HEALTHCARE:
WHAT THEY MEAN:
MANAGED CARE NETWORK (MCN)
CURRENT 2018
DEDUCTIBLE $0 $325
OUT OF POCKET $1050 $1700
EMERGENCY $75 $120
ANNUAL CONTRIBUTIONS
CURRENT 2018
INDIVIDUAL $660 $1224
FAMILY $1320 $2448
ANNUAL CONTRIBUTIONS HMO AND EPO
CURRENT 2018
INDIVIDUAL $990 $1836
FAMILY $1980 $3672
PRESCRIPTIONS
TODAY WE HAVE AN OPEN FORMULARY, MEANING THE PLAN COVERS MEDICATIONS YOUR DOCTORS DEEM NECESSARY. THE COMPANY PROPOSES A CLOSED FORMULARY, MEANING THE PLAN WILL ONLY PROVIDE MEDICATIONS THE INSURANCE COMPANY DEEMS NECESSARY BASED ON COSTS FOR ANY PARTICULAR CONDITION. IN ADDITION, THE COMPANY PROPOSES TIERING DRUG CO-PAYS ON DRUGS THAT ARE PREFERRED AND NON-PREFERRED. BELOW ARE THE COPAYS TODAY AND THE COMPANY PROPOSAL FOR 2018.
Retail Mail Order
Today 2018 Today 2018
Generic $9 $10.60 $18 $21.60
Preferred brand $28.09 $34.99 $56.18 $69.98
Non-Preferred Brand $28.09 $58.32 $56.18 $116.64

Regional Bargaining Report #68

Regional Bargaining Report # 68

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

As we enter the 4th week of the strike against Verizon, the Mid Atlantic Bargaining Committee continues to meet with the company attempting to move our member’s issues.

In the first session, the company provided more details on its pitch for a new call sharing proposal. After further discussions, the Union rejected the Company’s proposal as well as every other proposal in the company's comprehensive package from April 28th. 

We reiterated that in order for this bargaining committee to bring a contract back to the membership for ratification, there are needs of our members that need to be addressed. There was a lengthy off record discussion regarding overtime and holiday schedules in the Outside Plant and Commercial/Marketing workgroups.

In a second meeting the Union passed a proposal addressing the cancellation of overtime and the holiday scheduling and posting in the Commercial/ Marketing Organizations. The company advised they would review and respond to the Union on these proposals.

The solidarity and resolve of the CWA membership is taking its toll on this company. Support from community leaders, legislators, and activists groups along with the entire labor movement is wearing them down. No longer can a one page newspaper ad touting their spin on our wages, benefits and working conditions hold sway with the public. The communities we live and work in are wise to their deceptions and are actively working to assist us. This is a battle that affects every working class person whether they are in a Union or not. 

This Union and your Bargaining Committee are committed to fighting until our demands are addressed.

Regional Bargaining Report #69

Regional Bargaining Report # 69

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee met with the Company today. The Union passed several proposals on Overtime Administration. The Company later rejected the proposals claiming they would restrict its ability to manage the business. The committee challenged the company’s rejections citing the stressful work environments that have been created by the excessive amount of overtime technicians are forced to work throughout Mid-Atlantic. The Union Committee pointed out to the Company the cost of the excessive overtime compared to hiring additional workers. This still did not result in any movement on the Company’s position. It is clear this Company has no compassion for its employees or their families. Your committee will continue to fight every day at the table to reach a fair contract and end this strike.

Today was the shareholders meeting in Albuquerque, NM. CWA and IBEW members from around the country descended on that meeting to send a message and let those shareholders know how Lowell and his bunch are ruining lives and running this company into the ground.

In addition to the shareholders meeting, today was a National Day of Action to support Workers fighting against corporate greed at Verizon. Rallies and pickets across the country were held by our brothers and sisters in labor and many other allies joined us in our fight against Verizon’s Corporate Greed.

As we continue to work hard at the table we appreciate everyone working hard on the picket lines. It is what you do there that makes the biggest difference here. Keep the pressure up!

Members should stay in touch with their Locals for bargaining information. These bargaining reports are sent to Locals and posted on Facebook and websites to provide members with a brief update on bargaining. We understand there are many rumors circulating and want to remind all members not to participate in the rumor game. If you have questions contact your Local Union for answers.

One Day Longer and One Day Stronger!

Regional Bargaining Report #70

Regional Bargaining Report # 70

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Bargaining Committee continues to work in Philadelphia to reach an agreement as quickly as possible. We met with the company on Monday with a small group to discuss COBRA, life insurance and other issues that Verizon is making difficult for our striking members. We are proud to report that in just 11
days CWA has already helped members needing medical care with over $380,000 in COBRA payments.

While we have not met formally this week with the company regarding the core issues in dispute, we have spent many hours reviewing data on health care and pensions we had requested the end of April. We have also spent time working with our attorneys and research department on other open issues. There are
many moving parts currently in play in these negotiations.

We continue to do an amazing job on the picket lines. We can’t stress enough how the work that you do there is making an impact here. This round of bargaining has been like no other and Verizon is pulling out all
the stops. They continuously try going to the courts and the picket lines attempting to stop us from picketing but we remain vigilant. It is obvious we are having an impact. 

It is important, though, that any incidents that happen while picketing are reported and an incident report gets filled out and sent up immediately. Any
member approached by Company management threatening your job for not crossing the picket line and scabbing, should report this information immediately to your Local.

In the next few days we will be receiving yard signs that members and supporters can put up in their yards as another message to the public about our fight. Thousands and thousands of signs in our communities will keep our message out in the public.

As the rain, wind and storms continue to provide divine assistance to our strike, the committee would like to thank all of you for the time and effort you and your families have given out on the picket line. 

All of us standing together will win this fight!
 

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