Mass Contract Rally at Verizon

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Mass contract rally to demand good jobs and FiOS for all.

When: Saturday, July 25th

Where: 140 West St. @ 11:00am

Make plans to come. Bring your family.

Every member should be there!

Our contract! Our fight! Our future!

Click here to download the flier.

PSC Public Hearing on State of Telecommunications in NYS

Wednesday, July 15 at 7pm. WE NEED TO BE THERE!  Last year CWA, together with consumer groups, petitioned the PSC to study the impact of deregulation on the telecommunications industry. We all know what the impact has been!  The PSC has finally called for public hearings throughout New York State on the state of the copper plant, customer service quality, and the FiOS build, We need to make sure the PSC hears the real story of what is happening.

CWA representatives will be testifying, and we need a strong member presence at the hearings. This is our job and our future. We all need to be there! Wear red.

Wednesday, July 15 at 7pm
NY Institute of Technology on Broadway
1871 Broadway, between 61 & 62 St
NY NY 10023

Click here to download the flier.

Regional Bargaining Report # 12, July 13, 2015, CWA District 1 NY/NE

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CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees reconvened today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York.  The Union worked on proposals, reviewed information provided by the Company and continues to wait for more information that has been previously requested.  There were no meetings with the Company today.

We are less are than 3 weeks from expiration and Verizon is hell-bent on destroying this Union and its members standards of living.  Locals and members need to continue their mobilization efforts.

Keep up the FIGHT for a fair and just contract!!

Every member is expected to attend the Rally on Saturday July 25, at 140 West Street.

CWA District 1 NY/NE Regional Bargaining Report #6, June 30, 2015

CWA District 1 NY/NE and IBEW NY/NE Regional and Local Bargaining Teams met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY. The Regional Committee presented proposals to the Company including a proposal to eliminate all Contracting and to stop plans for future contracting.

The Company responded to some of the Unions requests for information and the Committee spent the rest of the day reviewing the information that was provided.

The Regional Committee is scheduled to meet with the Company tomorrow morning to receive information on the utilization on the medical plans.

We need to continue to stand strong and get our message out that we are more committed than we’ve ever been to fight to protect our wages, benefits and working conditions.

Mobilize! Mobilize! Mobilize!

Benefits Divide Threatens Labor Peace

The Wall Street Journal, By Vipal Monga and Kimberly S. Johnson,Tue, 30 Jun 2015
Many big companies are pushing to cut spending on employee benefits — from pensions to health insurance — and could face labor strikes as a result.

In all, major employers have about 400,000 union workers whose contracts are up for negotiation this year. They include the Detroit auto makers, whose workforces have a combined 140,000 members of the United Auto Workers; a group of railroad operators including CSX Corp., with 142,000 union employees; and telecom companies like Verizon Communications Inc., which is in talks with about 40,000 wireline workers.

Most labor talks involve some head-butting over benefits. But what’s different this time, corporate finance chiefs say, are a looming “Cadillac tax” on health-care plans and pension burdens that are dragging down profits.

At New York-based Verizon, executives want to “redesign and reshape” health plans in a bid to cut overall cost, said Fran Shammo, chief financial officer.

Verizon also aims to rein in pension expenses. Its obligations for defined-benefit pensions — the kind that guarantee retirees a set payout — totaled $25.3 billion at the end of 2014, up 10% from 2013.

The company began talks last week in Rye, N.Y., and Philadelphia with the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Neither union liked its opening offer, which included pension-plan changes, increases in employee health-care premiums, a 2% boost in wages this year and next, and a lump-sum payment of $1,000 per worker in 2017 in lieu of a raise.

“They’re going to be very difficult negotiations,” said Mr. Shammo.

Verizon said in a statement that its union health plans for a worker with one or more family members cost an average $20,000 a year, well above the $16,800 national average.

The unions say they made many concessions during the financial crisis, and with companies raking in record profits, don’t want to give up any more.

Quarterly earnings for S&P 500 companies almost tripled from the first quarter of 2009 and this year’s first quarter, making hardship a tougher sell.

“Workers have been told to toe the line, but corporate executives are not toeing the line,” said Candice Johnson, a CWA spokeswoman. The union points to the company’s top five executives, who receive $44 million in pay last year.

“As far as unions are concerned, the bad times are over,” said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial-relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. With the economy growing, they “will try to back out of concessions they made in the past,” he said.

But big employers are looking ahead to 2018, when a hefty excise tax kicks in on generous employee health-care plans. The tax is spurring them to consider moving workers to less costly plans, such as those with high deductibles. The tax, meant to help fund insurance for the previously uninsured under the Affordable Care Act, is 40% a year on the amount by which employer-sponsored plans exceed $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage.

The Detroit auto makers say health costs already are growing unsustainably fast, and they will be looking for ways to keep them in check. The three companies say they will spend over $2 billion on medical coverage for hourly workers in 2015, or at least $14,800 per active worker.

Bob Allard, who fixes machines at General Motors Co.’s powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio, says he will vote against any cuts in health-care benefits. Since 2009, he has paid a $25 co-payment for primary-care visits. Before that, he paid nothing.

“I’m not giving another penny back,” said Mr. Allard.

According to Kristin Dziczek, at the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research, Mr. Allard’s $28.79-an-hour pay rises to $55 an hour, if benefits are included.

Fredrik Eliasson, CFO of Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX, said his company will be subject to the Cadillac tax and has implemented consumer-driven plans and co-pays for prescription drugs to try to “ratchet back” costs. About 85% of the company’s workforce is unionized.

The labor talks offer companies an opening to reduce pension burdens, which have ballooned since the financial crisis, leaving many plans underfunded and weighing on profits.

At the end of last year, GM had a $76.7 billion pension obligation for its U.S. workers, 35% more than the auto maker’s market capitalization of $55.3 billion.

GM pared its pension obligations by $28 billion in 2012 by offering white-collar retirees lump-sum payments and handing responsibility for their pensions to Prudential Financial Inc. through a group annuity contract. But GM, whose talks with the UAW are set to start July 13, needs the union’s nod to do the same for its hourly workforce.

“This bargaining is absolutely critical” to the car companies, an industry official said.

The UAW, which represents workers at GM, Ford Motor Co., and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV previously said it is prepared to strike as a last resort.

In the last round of talks, in 2011, the UAW agreed to move newly hired workers into defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s, making them responsible for investment decisions. Workers and retirees got no pension increases for the first time since 1950, when the auto makers instituted pensions.

Regional Bargaining Report #5, June 29 2015

CWA District 1 and IBEW met with the Company today in Rye New York where the Company made a presentation on Excise tax, which is a potential tax on health care plans related to the Affordable Care Act. Last week, in the Company’s propaganda they boasted about offering a wage increase to 38,000 workers. As usual, when dealing with this greedy corporation the devil is in the details. Here are some of the other things that Verizon has proposed:

JOB SECURITY- Remove the protections against layoffs and forced transfer.

NO COLA

CORPORATE PROFIT SHARING at risk if not settled by certain date. Eliminate the minimum payout.

DIFFERENTIALS AND PREMIUM PAY -Eliminate Saturday and Sunday Differentials and premium pay. Tour differentials only paid for time worked between 9pm and 6 am. Eliminate all but 10% differential.

SUNDAY TOURS- Include Sunday as part of basic work week.

OVERTIME – only paid after 40 hours worked. No payment of more than one and half time
(1 ½ X). Eliminate caps on Overtime.

TECH CHANGE NOTICE- reduce notice given to the Union of any major technological change

BENEFITS- the Company proposes major reductions in medical benefits including higher deductibles, co-pays, premiums and co-insurance. The Company also proposed to remove the Unions ability to negotiate retiree health care benefits. Eliminate Class II/Sponsored Child coverage.

PENSIONS- Eliminate the lump sum pension. In addition, employees would have to choose between keeping the defined benefit pension, capped at 30 years, or choose an enhanced 401K. If you choose the defined benefit pension there is no 401K match. If you choose the enhanced 401K your pension is frozen where it is now. 401K Plan changes- begin charging a quarterly administration and a $50 fee for processing new loans.

DISABILITY BENEFITS- Eliminate Accident Disability Plan. Establish a rolling 5 years period for 100% payment on Sickness Disability. Once 100% is used – members are paid 50% (currently full pay benefits recycle after being back at work for 13 weeks)

CALL SHARING- give the Company additional leeway to route calls out of our bargaining units and to contractors while giving contractors the handling of all new products and services.

TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENTS- Ability to transfer employees to any state in Verizon footprint.

TUITION ASSISTANCE- Expanding the list of “Excluded” studies

FORCE ADJUSTMENT PLAN- changes to the FAP that would eliminate job security provisions.

WORK FAMILY- Reduce funding by $900,000. Added limitations if not agreed to by a certain date.

FAMILY CARE LEAVE- eliminate

EXCISE TAX- Company wants ability to change medical plans, health care spending account or premiums to avoid excise tax without negotiating with the Union.

PRE TEST TRAINING – Eliminate

INCOME PROTECTION PLAN – Would require employees to sign a Disclaimer to receive an IPP.

This is not a Company facing a financial crisis. They are extremely profitable. This is not a Company coming to its union employees seeking ways to work together to face the challenges of the future. Their proposals seek to destroy our future.

We need to send a very clear message that this is not acceptable, that we will not be passive as they seek to gut our contract. MOBILIZE!!!

Regional Bargaining Report #4, June 26, 2015

CWA District 1 and IBEW Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY. The Regional Committee continued making proposals to the Company to improve the working conditions and quality of life for our members. We are waiting for information and data that we have requested from the Company.

Regional bargaining will resume and Local bargaining will start on Monday, June 29, 2015 in Rye, N.Y.

We need to continue to stand strong and get our message out that we are more committed than we’ve ever been to fight to protect our wages, benefits and working conditions.

Regional Bargaining Report #3

The CWA District One and IBEW New York/New England Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company today in Westchester, NY. The first session of the day focused on the questions the committee had for the company on some of their proposals.

During the second session, the Union Committee made it very clear to the Company with a proposal on job security how important this issue is to the Union and the Members. We pointed out examples where the Company has declared surpluses as they continue with their plans to contract out work our Members perform.

We need to continue to be united and mobilize so the greedy executives at Verizon understand we will do whatever it takes to gain a fair and just contract.

Regional Bargaining Report #2, June 23, 2015

In response to Verizon’s opening day bargaining position, Vice President Dennis Trainor said claims about the pay increases they put on the bargaining table yesterday are simply a smokescreen designed to hide the harsh reality of their concessionary demands; deep cuts to pension benefits, skyrocketing increases in medical costs , and the complete elimination of job security.

Despite $9.6 billion in profits in 2014 and $44 million in compensation to their top five executives, Verizon wants to eliminate middle-class jobs and let customer service deteriorate. Their proposals would slash thousands of jobs and leave our remaining members with a diminished standard of living at the end of any new contract.”

There was no formal bargaining session today at the Regional table. The Union bargaining committee spent most of today reviewing the company’s proposal from yesterday’s session.

Regional Bargaining Report #1

CWA Districts 1, 2-13 as well as IBEW New York (NY), New England (NE) and New Jersey (NJ) opened negotiations with Verizon today. CWA District 1 and IBEW NY and NE are negotiating for new contracts at the Rye Town Hilton in Westchester County. CWA Districts 2-13 as well as IBEW NJ are negotiating for new contracts in Philadelphia. Dennis Trainor, Vice President District 1 gave an opening statement to the Company at the Regional Bargaining table in NY.

Dennis closed his statement by stating, “We are united in our commitment to grow with Verizon. The Company cannot keep claiming surplus after surplus while hiring more contractors or moving our work. It is not fair to our members and your employees to tell them there are too many of them but yet you need contractors to do their work.

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.

Verizon – it is time to stop the greed. Enough of the givebacks. It is time to negotiate a contract that is fair to your employees, one that protects good union jobs and that gives our membership the opportunity to grow with the company. Verizon – it’s time to set the right priorities in these negotiations. This means meeting its responsibilities to employees, as well as investors, executives and consumers.”

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

The Regional Bargaining Committee attended a rally tonight at the Rye Town Hilton, which was hosted by Local 1103. The rally was a huge success and was attended by hundreds of CWA and IBEW members from New York State and New England.