Final Bargaining Report, Tentative Agreement and MOU

Final Bargaining Report, Details of Tentative Agreement & Memorandum of Understanding

39,000 CWA and IBEW members struck Verizon on April 13th because after 10 months at the bargaining table, management had totally refused to address the most important issues for our members. These issues included, most importantly, job security, limiting contracting out of both plant and customer service work, closing of call centers, preserving the Force Adjustment plan, protecting pensions and retiree health care, limiting the company’s ability to transfer us away from our families, abusive supervisory practices, and finally, winning a first contract for retail workers at Verizon Wireless.

The company believed they could win our cooperation on limiting health care costs-AND shove the rest of their demands down our throats at the same time. The unity and determination of our members for 6 ½ weeks on the street-in the great tradition of 1971 and 1989-proved that management was wrong. Our members stood up and fought back, and turned back virtually every concession that remained on the table when we went on strike on April 13th .

Most important, we preserved our job security language, kept call centers open, increased the amount of call center work performed by union members across the footprint, reversed plant contracting initiatives, protected our pensions, 2 gained 1500 new union jobs, AND won a fair first contract for the Verizon Wireless workers.

What follows is a detailed bargaining report. As you read it, you should be proud of what you and your fellow members accomplished for yourselves, and for the entire labor movement, over the last seven weeks. You proved that when working people stand together and fight back, they can win.

Click here for the detailed summary of the Tentative Agreement

Click here for the Memorandum of Understanding

Back To Work Agreement

BACK TO WORK AGREEMENT
For CWA District 1 NY and NE
May 29, 2016

Employees whose tours begin Tuesday night, May 31, 2016, and extend into Wednesday, June 1, 2016, will report to work for those tours.

All other employees will return to work for their tours that are scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

Returning employees will return to work on the same tours to which they were assigned immediately prior to April 13, 2016.

In unusual circumstances, the Company will excuse employees, without pay, from reporting for a reasonable period not to exceed 72- hours from 5:00 pm, May 31, 2016. Members in this situation need to notify their supervisor prior to the start of their tour.

Employees on approved leaves of absence, approved medical leaves, suspensions or scheduled vacations shall report to work following expiration of such leaves, suspensions or vacations.

For two weeks following the return to work date, the provisions of the Collective Bargaining regarding overtime caps will not be in effect in order to reduce the work backlog resulting from the strike. Overtime will be assigned with due consideration to the safety and health of employees.

No employee will lose service or pension credit or life insurance as a result of participating in the Strike.

Unused vacation days and Excused Work Days remaining from 2015 which were still available on April 13, 2016, and which were not paid in lieu of during the Strike, may be taken pursuant to normal scheduling no later than September 30, 2016.

Floating holidays that were scheduled during the Strike may be rescheduled no later than September 30, 2016 and taken no later than December 31, 2016.

Congress Finally Passed the Zadroga Act

Dec 18, 2015

Picture by Stan Honda/AP

The cloud of uncertainty on health care coverage for 9/11 first responders and survivors has been removed. This is the best Christmas present for those in need.

I’m ecstatic for those who will benefit from this bill, but we all know Congress should have done this a lot sooner. Let’s be honest. It took too long for politicians to respond, and American heroes died.

We did everything the politicians asked us to do and they still didn’t act when they had prior opportunities to do the right thing. I’m angry about how business is done in DC. There’s a disconnect between the members of Congress and real people who need help.

I don’t think they did this because they wanted to for moral reasons. I think they did it because they had to for political reasons.

I’ll never apologize for the tactics we used calling out members of Congress in their offices and in the halls of Congressional buildings.

A lot of people came together to make this happen. There are too many people to list. But the point is, we did this together. It’s our story to tell. And we thank you for your support.

Thank you.

John Feal
FealGood Foundation

Source: change.org

Zadroga Act finally passes through Congress; health care program extended 75 years for 9/11 first responders – Daily News story here

Open Enrollment – Verizon – Nov. 9-20

Open Enrollment is now open – November 9 – 20. Go to www.verizonbenefitsconnection.com to see your enrollment options. Under the Affordable Care Act, Verizon is required to provide a paper copy of the Summary Benefits and Coverage (SBC) to you to compare plans and make an informed choice. 

Call 1-855-489-2367 and request a paper copy of your SBC. It is not sufficient to just view the SBC on line. Ask for a copy to be mailed to you. 

Steward & General Membership/Finance Meetings in November

The next Local 1101 Stewards Meeting will be Thursday, November 12 at 5:30pm, at the High School of Fashion Industries, 225 West 24th Street, between 7 & 8 Avenues, New York, NY. The Local 1101 General Membership/Finance Meeting will be Monday, November 23 at 5:30pm, at the High School of Fashion Industries, 225 West 24th Street, between 7 & 8 Avenues, New York, NY. 
Our contracts, our fight, our future.

NYC Labor Day Parade – Saturday, September 12th

The 2015 New York City Labor Day Parade is Saturday, September 12. CWA will be meeting at 45th Street (between 5th Ave. & 6th Ave.) at 10am.

This is a great chance to publicize our struggle for a good contract at Verizon with other labor unions and the public.

We’ll make our message clear: We are standing strong in our fight to protect our jobs and our future.

We have to keep our message front and center in New York City.

Be There! Be Loud! Be Visible!

View or download the parade poster here.

We’re Not on Strike… Yet

The Leadership of the CWA & IBEW have decided not to go on Strike against Verizon… Yet.

At this time, your bargaining team has decided that working without a contract is the strongest tactic we have. We can decide to strike at any time. The key issues on the table remain job security, health care, retirement security, contracting out and off-shoring of jobs. There are several reasons why your union leadership has made this decision:

The company expects a strike and has been preparing for months. They have spent tens of millions hiring contractors, recruiting scabs, and training managers to climb poles and do the rest of our work. They have spent tens of millions in the media to portray themselves as the good guys. Why should we give them what they expect, and maybe even want? Let them pay the scabs and pay their hotel bills while we work.

The company is under significant pressure from elected officials and regulators because of their refusal to build out FiOS or meet the obligations of FiOS franchises they have already been granted. We are going to use this time continuing to build additional public pressure on the company.

Staying on the job enables us to send the message to the public and to elected officials that we want to provide the highest quality service to the public.

NO BUSINESS AS USUAL

We will not simply be working as usual. We will be doing informational picketing, rallying, seeking community and political support, pressuring company executives and members of the Board of Directors. In short, we will do all the things we normally do when we’re on strike.

  • Negotiations will continue.
  • You will still earn a paycheck.
  • All benefits, including health care and pension, will remain in effect.
  • The grievance procedure continues, but the company has the right to discontinue the arbitration procedure. Discipline can be negotiated at the bargaining table.
  • You have the right to participate in “concerted activity.” This means you can mobilize on the job, including filing group grievances, leafleting, informational picketing, etc.

We’re Not on Strike Flyer

CWA & IBEW LEADERS AT VERIZON ANNOUNCE PLAN TO STAY ON THE JOB & CONTINUE FIGHT FOR A FAIR CONTRACT

Despite $18 Billion in Profits in Last 18 Months, Verizon Still Insisting on Slashing Job Security, Health Care, and Retirement Security; Unions Will Continue to Fight for Good Jobs, FiOS Buildout, and Quality Service. With Company Refusing to Bargain Seriously, Union Bargaining Teams Leave Round-the-Clock Talks; Unions Remain Prepared to Bargain.

CWA Press Release
Aug 1, 2015

New York – Leaders of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers announced that 39,000 Verizon workers up and down the East Coast will work without a contract when their collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight tonight, and continue their fight for a fair agreement while on the job.

Working without a Contract – December 7th, 2011

The union leaders also announced that they will leave the sites of round-the-clock bargaining in Philadelphia and Rye, NY, where union and management teams have been meeting since June 22nd in what has so far been a vain attempt to reach a contract. The unions have informed the company, however, that they are prepared to schedule regular bargaining sessions, and urged the company to begin bargaining constructively.

“Despite our best efforts, Verizon refuses to engage in serious bargaining towards a fair contract,” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President for CWA District One, which represents Verizon workers in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. “Verizon has earned $1billion a month in profits over the last 18 months, and paid its top handful of executives $249 million over the last 5 years, but continues to insist on eliminating our job security and driving down our standard of living. We’re not going to take it, and we’re going to keep the fight going while we’re on the job.

“The company has barely moved off its initial June 22nd proposal that made outrageous demands of Verizon workers. If this company is serious about reaching an agreement, it needs to start bargaining constructively and now, “said Ed Mooney, Vice President for CWA District 2-13, whi​ch represents Verizon workers from Pennsylvania to Virginia. ​“Right now there isn’t even anyone across the table from us who’s got the power to make any decisions.”

Verizon has not significantly moved off its outrageous initial bargaining demands, made on June 22nd, which includes the following proposals:

  • Completely eliminating job security and gaining the right to transfer workers at will anywhere in the company’s footprint.
  • Increasing workers’ health care costs by thousands of dollars per person, despite the fact that negotiations in 2011-2012 have cut the company’s health care costs by tens of millions of dollars over the life of the past contract.
  • Removing any restrictions on the company’s right to contract out and offshore union jobs. This comes on top of Verizon’s outsourcing of thousands of jobs in recent years.
  • Slashing retirement security.
  • Reducing overtime and differential payments.
  • Eliminating the Family Leave Care plan, which provides unpaid leave to care for sick family members or care for a newborn.
  • Eliminating the Accident Disability Plan, which provides benefits to workers injured on the job.

At the same time, Verizon refuses to build out FiOS to many underserved communities up and down the East Coast, and has abandoned upkeep of the traditional landline network, leading to extensive service problems for consumers. In these negotiations, the union members’ interest is linked directly to the public interest, since our jobs involve maintaining quality service on traditional landlines and building and servicing Verizon’s state of the art FiOS broadband network. Even in New York City, where Verizon pledged to make FiOS available to every customer by the end of 2014, the City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications issued a report finding that the company was evading the buildout commitments it made under its 2008 video franchise agreement.

86% of our members have voted to authorize a strike if necessary, but we’re not going to walk into a trap set by Verizon. We’ll strike when we think it is the right time to strike, and that is not tonight,” Mooney added. “The ball is in their court – we are waiting for them to get serious.”

Background

39,000 workers are currently negotiating new contracts at Verizon. Fortune Magazine ranked Verizon the 15th largest corporation in America in 2014, with revenues of $127 billion, profits of $9.6 billion, and market capitalization of $198.4 billion. Verizon had profits of $28 billion over the last five years, and paid its top five executives $249 million during that time.

On July 21st, Verizon reported profits of $4.4 billion in 2Q2015 on revenues of $32.2 billion. This came on top of $4.2 billion in profits in 1Q2015, which means Verizon has made $1 billion in profits every month for the last 18 months. The company also reported that during the first six months of 2015 it has paid out over $9.3 billion to shareholders in dividends and stock buybacks, an increase of almost $5.8 billion over the first half of last year. In the Wireline division, Operating Cash Flow rose to 23.5%, and operating income doubled, from 2.6% to 5.3%. FiOS continues to expand and succeed, now constituting 79% of Verizon consumer revenues on the wireline side, and achieving penetration rates of 35.7% for video and 41.4% for internet in markets where it is competing.

A damning audit of Verizon’s FiOS rollout in New York City found that Verizon has failed to meet its promise to deliver high-speed fiber optic internet and television to everyone in the city who wanted it. During its negotiations for a city franchise, Verizon promised that the entire city would be wired with fiber optic cables by June 2014 and that after that date, everyone who wanted FiOS would get it within six months to a year. The audit found that despite claiming that it had wired the whole city by November 2014, Verizon systematically continues to refuse orders for service. The audit also found that Verizon stonewalled the audit process.

In addition, rates for basic telephone service have increased in recent years, even as Verizon has refused to expand their broadband services into many cities and rural communities, and service quality has greatly deteriorated. Verizon’s declining service quality especially impacts customers who cannot afford more advanced cable services, or who live in areas with few options for cable or wireless services.

In 2005, New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) eliminated automatic fines for Verizon’s telephone service quality failures, reasoning that “competition” would improve services. Instead, service quality plunged. In the 3rd quarter of 2010, Verizon cleared only 1.2% of out of service complaints within 24 hours, almost 79 percentage points lower than the PSC’s 80% requirement. Rather than reverse course, the PSC changed its measurements, cutting out 92% of customers from service quality measurements and consolidating 28 repair service bureaus into 5 regions. On paper, terrible service quality was almost miraculously transformed. In reality, service quality continued to decline.

Strike Vote = Yes

See more photos here
Mass Rally NYC 7-25-15

Verizon Bargaining Updates here

CWA News
Jul 25, 2015

New York – At a rally today with thousands of workers and supporters, the Communications Workers of America announced that 86% of Verizon workers voted over the last two weeks to authorize a strike if necessary. The contract expires at 12 midnight on Saturday August 1 and covers 39,000 CWA and IBEW represented telephone workers from Massachusetts to Virginia.

“Our members are clear and they are determined – they reject management’s harsh concessionary demands, including the elimination of job security, sharp increases in workers’ health care costs, and slashing retirement security. Verizon made $9.6 billion in profits in 2014, and reported $4.4 billion in profits just in the 2015 second quarter alone. Their demands are completely outrageous and unwarranted,” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President for CWA District One.

The union and its supporters also pointed to the company’s refusal to build out its state-of-the-art FiOS network and its lack of investment in maintaining the original copper network.

“On the one hand, Verizon refuses to build its high-speed FiOS network in lower-income areas. And on the other, they are systemically ignoring maintenance needs on their landline network,” said Ed Mooney, Vice President for CWA District 2-13, which covers Pennsylvania to Virginia. “This leaves customers at the mercy of a cable monopoly or stuck with deteriorating service while Verizon executives and shareholders rake in billions.”

A damning audit of Verizon’s FiOS rollout in New York City found that Verizon has failed to meet its promise to deliver high-speed fiber optic internet and television to everyone in the city who wanted it. During its negotiations for a city franchise, Verizon promised that the entire city would be wired with fiber optic cables by June 2014 and that after that date, everyone who wanted FiOS would get it within six months to a year. The audit found that despite claiming that it had wired the whole city by November 2014, Verizon systematically continues to refuse orders for service. The audit also found that Verizon stonewalled the audit process.

In addition, rates for basic telephone service have increased in recent years, even as Verizon has refused to expand their broadband services into many cities and rural communities, and service quality has greatly deteriorated. Verizon’s declining service quality especially impacts customers who cannot afford more advanced cable services, or who live in areas with few options for cable or wireless services.

In 2005, New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) eliminated automatic fines for Verizon’s telephone service quality failures, reasoning that “competition” would improve services. Instead, service quality plunged. In the 3rd quarter of 2010, Verizon cleared only 1.2% of out of service complaints within 24 hours, almost 79 percentage points lower than the PSC’s 80% requirement. Rather than reverse course, the PSC changed its measurements, cutting out 92% of customers from service quality measurements and consolidating 28 repair service bureaus into 5 regions. On paper, terrible service quality was almost miraculously transformed. In reality, service quality continued to decline.

“The 2.5 million members of the New York State AFL-CIO will stand side by side and shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters of CWA and IBEW in their fight for fairness,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. “It is through their hard work and dedication that Verizon continues to rake in huge profits. Yet bargaining proposals offered by Verizon punish workers by taking away job security, reducing pension benefits, and increasing health care costs. The dedicated men and women of CWA and IBEW deserve better. Our brothers and sisters will have the full resources of the NYS AFL-CIO at their disposal until a fair contract is reached.”

Background

39,000 workers are currently negotiating new contracts at Verizon. Fortune Magazine ranked Verizon the 15th largest corporation in America in 2014, with revenues of $127 billion, profits of $9.6 billion, and market capitalization of $198.4 billion. Verizon had profits of $28 billion over the last five years, and paid its top five executives $249 million during that time.

On July 21st, Verizon reported profits of $4.4 billion in 2Q2015 on revenues of $32.2 billion. The company also reported that during the first six months of 2015 it has paid out over $9.3 billion to shareholders in dividends and stock buybacks, an increase of almost $5.8 billion over the first half of last year. In the Wireline division, Operating Cash Flow rose to 23.5%, and operating income doubled, from 2.6% to 5.3%. FiOS continues to expand and succeed, now constituting 79% of Verizon consumer revenues on the wireline side, and achieving penetration rates of 35.7% for video and 41.4% for internet in markets where it is competing.

But at the bargaining table, the story is different. Verizon is demanding:

Elimination of long-standing job security protections including protections against layoffs and forced transfers.
Slashing retirement security.
Sharply increasing health care cost contributions. Higher deductibles, co-pays and premium sharing. Remove the union’s right to negotiate over retiree health care.
Vastly increasing ability to contract out of work.
Off-shoring call center jobs.
Elimination of cost-of-living raises.
Eliminate Accident Disability Plan for workers injured on the job.
Eliminate 20-year old Family Care Leave policy.