The Union has received many questions regarding if members are eligible for retirement with a service pension and medical benefits the following is the guide from the Summery Plan Description for the NY/NE Associate Pension Plan – Also the entire Summery Plan Description can be viewed on the Verizon Benefits Connection website.

Your Age / Net Credit Service

Any Age / 30 Years or more
At least 50 / 25 years or more
At least 55 / 20 years or more
At least 60 / 15 years or more
At least 65 / 10 years or more

The Union and the Company have reached an agreement on an upgraded EIPP offer. We encourage all members interested in taking this offer, to begin to speak to a financial advisor and plan accordingly. The details of the offer are as follows -

With respect to any employees who elect to voluntarily leave the service of the Company pursuant to the Enhanced Income Protection Plan (EIPP) offer made on November TBD, 2014 (“the Offer”) under the terms of the Force Adjustment Plan of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement, the parties agree as follows:

A. One Time Supplemental Voluntary Termination Bonus
Those employees who leave the service of the Company pursuant to the Offer shall receive a lump sum amount of $40,000, less taxes and withholdings, in addition to the EIPP payment and related benefits and the voluntary termination bonus and continuation medical coverage to which the employee is otherwise eligible under the terms of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.

B. Raising of Caps on EIPP Payment
Those employees with greater than 30 years of net credited service will have their EIPP payment calculation capped at forty years of service, rather than thirty years.

C. Waiver of Age-Based Pension Reductions for Early Commencement
The Pension Plan will be amended such that Service Pension eligible employees who leave the service of the Company pursuant to the Offer will not have the age-based reduction for early commencement, if any, applied to the calculation of their pension.

D. Lump Sum Interest Rate
The Pension Plan will be amended such that, regardless of the specific date on which an employee leaves the service of the Company pursuant to the Offer, the determination of the interest rate and mortality basis used for converting such employee’s single life annuity to a lump sum amount will be based on the better of (a) the applicable interest rate and mortality basis as of such employee’s elected pension commencement date following his or her actual separation from service or (b) the applicable interest rate and mortality basis as of a December 2014 pension commencement date, provided that such employee’s age will be determined in accordance with his or her elected pension commencement date rather than a December 2014 pension commencement date.

II. Employees who elect to leave the service of the Company pursuant to the Offer will be separated from the Company on one or more dates in 2014 and/or 2015 to be selected at the discretion of the Company. The Company, in its discretion, will determine how many employees will be separated on each date in each job title and work location. The Company will honor requests by seniority, to the extent consistent with the requirements of the business, when assigning the date on which each employee will be separated. Notwithstanding the provisions of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement, there shall be no layoffs in a title, work group and work location during the time period between the first and last off payroll dates if there are employees in the title, work group and work location who are designated by the Company to be separated in 2015.

III. Except as modified by this Memorandum of Agreement the Income Protection Plan provisions of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement shall apply.

IV. The Company agrees that through June 30, 2015 there will be no layoffs of Administrative Assistants, Special Assistants, Facility Assigners, Driver As or Driver Bs.

V. There will be no involuntary force transfers of over 35 miles pursuant to the Force Adjustment Plan through June 30, 2015, except to locations where the union demanded that the Company declare a surplus which are set forth in Attachment A. VI. There will be no office consolidations on or before June 30, 2015, except those consolidations announced by the Company prior to October 1, 2014.

VII. In relation to the Offer, the Company will use best efforts to ensure that individuals who request pension calculations receive their calculations within 14 days.

VIII. The two Wage Table 51 employees in the Traffic bargaining unit will be upgraded to Wage Table 31 effective XXXX.

IX. The titles that will receive the Offer are specified below:

Administrative Assistant 76
Building Equipment Mechanic 3
Central Office Technician 81
Customer Service Assistant 6
Driver A TBD
Driver B TBD
Equipment Installation Technician 5
Facilities Assigner 20
Fiber Customer Support Analyst 6
Fiber Network Technician 4
Material Attendant 3
Network Services Coordinator 11
Operator 12
Outside Plant Technician 28
Service Assistant 3
Service Representative 15
Special Assistant 31
Splice Service Technician 368
Toll Assigner 1
Translations Administrator 3
Transmission Technician 1

Rhode Island General Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th, 2014. The following are Labor endorsed candidates, IBEW Local 2323 leadership and Political Action Committee ask you to please consider and support these men and women with your vote on election day.

RI Governor
Gina Raimondo

RI Senator
John “Jack” Reed

RI Congressmen
David Cicilline
James “Jim” Langevin

RI Lieutenant Governor
Catherine Taylor

RI General Treasurer
Seth Magaziner

RI Attorney General
Peter Kilmartin

RI Secretary of state
Nellie Gorbea

RI HOUSE

District 4 – Rep. Aaron Regunberg
District 9 – Rep. Anastasia Williams
District 12 – Rep. Joseph Almeida
District 16 – Rep. Peter Palumbo
District 18 – Rep. Art Handy
District 26 – Nicholas Denice
District 28 – Rep. Scott Guthrie
District 29 – Rep. Lisa Tomasso
District 32 – Rep. Robert Craven
District 36 – Rep. Donna Walsh
District 37 – Rep. Samuel Azzinaro
District 39 – Rep. Larry Valencia
District 43 – Rep. Deborah Fellela
District 46 – Rep. Jeremiah O’Grady
District 50 – Rep. Stephen Casey
District 56 – Shelby Maldonado
District 58 – Carlos Tobon
District 62 – Rep. Mary Messier
District 71 – Rep. Dennis Canario

RI SENATE

District 6 – Sen. Harold Metts
District 9 – Sen. Adam Satchell
District 13 – Sen. Teresa Paiva-Weed
District 16 – Sen. Elizabeth Crowley
District 22 – Sen. Stephen Archambault
District 23 – Sen. Paul Fogarty
District 27 – Sen. Hanna Gallo
District 30 – Sen. William Walaska
District 31 – Sen. Erin Lynch
District 32 – Cynthia Coyne
District 34 – Sen. Catherine Cool-Rumsey

.

nee

OP-ED BY GEORGE H. NEE

On Nov. 4, Rhode Islanders will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not they wish to convene a Constitutional Convention (Con Con). We stand on the brink of a dangerous precipice. If Question 3 is approved, the floodgates will be opened to out-of-state special interests, and our Constitution could be radically altered and our rights stolen.
Individuals have written about the dangers a Con Con would be to our civil rights. We have heard from those who remember the 1986 Con Con and the detrimental attacks that were made on the rights of women and minority groups in our state. Rhode Islanders were right to be worried then, and they are right to be concerned now. We can expect those attacks to resume, and this time we can expect that they will include the rights of workers in the Ocean State.

The landscape has changed drastically for the working class since the 1986 Con Con. Attacks on unions nationwide have weakened our economy, and the ripple effects have left us all reeling. The middle class is shrinking. Wages have stagnated. Worker safety is no longer a priority. The rise of Right-to-Work laws have had a detrimental effect on workers in states across our country. Collective bargaining rights have been limited in places like Wisconsin. The recent Supreme Court ruling in Harris vs. Quinn reminds us that the war on workers’ rights is ongoing!
It is well known that our economy and the rights of workers go hand in hand. Many Americans still look back to the “good old days,” when our middle class was strong and union membership was at its peak. Well, our economy has gone the way of the unions. Union membership is down (as a percentage of the workforce) and the gap between the rich and the poor is rising.
Here in Rhode Island, attempts have been made to introduce Right-to-Work legislation to our General Assembly. Workers in states that have passed such legislation earn lower wages and experience higher workplace fatality rates. Fortunately, attempts to pass such legislation in Rhode Island have failed, but, should we convene a Constitutional Convention, you can bet that workers’ rights will be on the chopping block. This is a route our state cannot afford to take. Public employee bargaining rights and private sector prevailing wage laws could also be threatened by the convening of a Constitutional Convention.

I have heard those who are in favor of a Con Con refer to those of us who are rightfully concerned about our civil rights and worker rights as fearmongers. Nothing could be further from the truth. RenewRI, a group that recently formed in support of a Con Con, counts as one of its members Mike Stenhouse, the CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, a champion of Right to-Work-laws for Rhode Island. Under the guise of government reform, this group will encourage Rhode Islanders to ignore our concerns. Do not be fooled! They do not support our best interests!
The recent Preparatory Commission report estimated that the cost of holding a Con Con would be millions of dollars. At a time when valuable community services are at risk, our taxpayer dollars would be better spent in any number of ways. To convene a Con Con when we already have an effective system in place to amend our Constitution would, put simply, be a waste of our money. To proponents of a Con Con, the millions of dollars spent is not a lot of money, but consider how that money could better help our communities.
Rhode Islanders are no strangers to fighting for what is right. We have a proud history of standing up for the rights of workers. Our constant vigilance keeps us aware of what is really at stake. Come Nov. 4, I know Rhode Island’s workers won’t be let down. Vote to reject Question 3.
George H. Nee is president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.

Business Manager’s Report June 2014

On Monday, May 19th, the New England Work and Family Committee Hosted their third health fair in Local 2323. Over the last decade many of these events have been hosted in our call centers, and the Union is very excited to have been successful in getting this negotiated benefit extended to the technicians who make up such a large part of our membership. Many vendors were on hand to give free screenings ranging from blood sugar and cholesterol levels to blood pressure and BMI readings. Verizon EAP was also present with many pamphlets that cover the wide array of issues that they are prepared to help our membership with. The Local was pleased to see so many members participate and believe that this was a great way to not only help our people get a quick “check-up” but also inform them about the many benefits that the Work and Family Committee have to offer, such as summer camp, daycare, and gym reimbursements that, again, are a negotiated benefit to us all. I would be remiss not to include our Locals own MAP program that has been an excellent source of help to so many members, and that if any member is in need of help they can contact the hall for information on a wide array of resources that are accessible to them.

As of Tuesday, May 27th, Verizon Services Corp has taken civil action against the T-6 Council of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Local 2322. A member of Local 2322 has brought charges against another member for going to management about a steward. This led to the steward getting suspended for 10 days for harassment in the workplace according to the Return to Work letter. Verizon Services Corp believes that we are interfering with their management rights clause and therefore has filed suit against us. Verizon is also pointing to a letter of agreement signed by the T-6 Chairman and the Business Manager of Local 2324 Brother John Rowley, which they believe, helps in the in their case.
The company has notified the Union that they are declaring a surplus under the provisions of Article G25 of our collective bargaining agreement. The company will offer the provisions of an Enhanced Income Protection Plan to regular employees in the surplus job titles at the work locations involved.

EIPP offers will be distributed to the affect employees by June 2. An employee’s election to accept the offer must be in writing and transmitted to the company within fifteen days from the date of the offer which is June 16th. The decision is irrevocable after such fifteen day period. The final date of employment in this case for those accepted volunteers will be June 28th.

The total surplus for the T-6 is 381 with 26 in Rhode Island including:
3 COT’s at 1 Greene St in the Rodriguez organization
5 OPT’s – 3 in Smithfield, 1 in Warwick, and 1 in Towerhill
18 SST’s – 6 in Smithfield, 7 in Warwick, 2 in Towerhill and 3 in Newport

On Monday, May 19th the IBEW and CWA met with Verizon management to discuss the call sharing numbers. It appears that the company is making progress in the routing of calls to our bargained for members prior to utilizing vendors. In March of 2013, we took 37% of the calls and in March of 2014 we took 56% of the calls and as of May 19th we were at 74% for the month. Our collective bargaining agreement states that we must take 60%.
We continue, in the SST job title, to have an ongoing problem with the DU schedule and vacation selection. Recently, management has given a hand-out to our SST’s regarding the V Force Administration Processes and Rules. There are many things in this hand-out that we don’t agree with and we are in the process of setting up a meeting to resolve these problems. Also, we have fielded numerous calls from members who are having difficulty in using their left-over days from 2013. This has prompted me to request a list of any and all members who carried over days, as well as, how many times they were denied the ability to use these days. It appears that the very basic concept of getting our entitled vacation and EWD days off is becoming extremely complex for no apparent reasons.

In the FSC, we continue to make progress in making the fiber center a better place to work. However, there is always work that can be done. The tremendous growth in the FSC is coming to a close, the last external class expected to start June 16th. Final head count in the FCSA title is expected to reach 316 members:
236 on the floor now
40 in training currently
40 more slated (20 – June 2nd & 20 – June 16th)

With the additional staffing, a new canvas of hours is expected to be conducted in the FSC sometime in June, with an effective date of July 8th. Management is currently looking at the possibility of having start times on the half hour increments (IE – 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30 etc.). Details are still being worked on with management and will be communicated to the members as they develop.
W@H Trial is set to end in July. Many questions from members currently assigned to this project center around what will take place at that time? The Union has asked management repeatedly about the viability of extending this program, and is currently waiting on the company for a reply and is prepared to meet with management once they’re prepared to discuss.
Monthly informational meetings continue to be held @ 234 Washington St for our members to attend. With half the membership now located at 234 Washington St.
and many new members it is critical that the Union have a strong presence and we reach these members.
On the Sales front, one of our Service Rep’s that was displaced from the LPC has been recalled. The Union was pleased to learn Michelle Belliard was recalled from the Taunton CSSC and will report to the Warwick LPC effective June 2.

In the MCO, we continue to wait for additional information regarding the move from Boston to Providence. We are also waiting for information surrounding the canvass of our members from COT’s to FNT’s. Verizon Labor Relations has notified me that they intend on moving the last portion of work out of the MCO to complete the regionalization of the HSI work in accordance with the Transfer of Jobs agreement.

The first semester of the Pathway to a College Degree is about to conclude. Local 2323 and Local 99 have opened up the program to other IBEW Locals who have members that live in Rhode Island but may work in Connecticut or Massachusetts. We also opened the degree program to all affiliated Locals of the AFL-CIO. Currently, we are in the process of gathering portfolios of our current students to determine the avenue each member will need to travel towards obtaining a degree.
While the Pathway to a College Degree program was established for our members to participate in college level courses classes and remove any anxiety or apprehension with applying to and attending a college, as well as, to utilize our Union Hall to its maximum capabilities. There is also a program called NACTEL, for our members who would like to further their education online. This program is set-up as a partnership with Verizon, AT&T, Frontier, the CWA and IBEW. NACTEL provides a path for our members to earn an Associates, Bachelors, and Master’s Degree as well as certificates in the Telecom field. For more information please contact the Union office or go to their website www.nactel.org.
The Unions primary job aside from organizing the unorganized is to elevate the standard of living for all working men and women. One of the many ways we attempt to do this, for our members, is through education. Every contract the Union fights for tuition assistance for our members in an attempt to help with the inflated cost of earning a college degree. Our current collective bargaining agreement provides up to $8000 a year in tuition assistance. Please take the opportunity to utilize your negotiated benefit, either through our Pathway to College Degree program, NACTEL, or any other avenue that works for you.

Business Manager’s Report February 2014

The IBEW and CWA met with the company yesterday to discuss the Call Sharing numbers for second half of 2013. The Call Sharing Agreement states if the aggregate regional call volume percentage is less than 59% during the last six months of 2013 there shall be no layoffs during the first six months of 2014 of New York/New England footprint Tech Support Center associates. The company has informed us that the aggregate number of calls for the second half was 55%. Therefore, our members who work in the FSC and EVRC will have job security for the first six months of 2014.
Verizon management has notified the System Council T-6 that they intend on putting cameras in the motor vehicles department. According to management their reason is due to a change in vendor, policy and overall shrinkage of inventory. This change in policy has increased the amount of supplies from 2.5 to 5.8 million dollars of inventory on hand. The T-6 has requested bargaining regarding the camera installation and at this point have met with Verizon once on January 29th. We have requested information from the company and are awaiting another meeting.
Verizon notified the union that they would be changing the long standing policy regarding the treatment of employees who lose their license while assigned in a job requiring a driver’s license. The Union has requested bargaining on this issue with the hopes of reaching an agreement that will protect our members who lose their license. We continue to negotiate this issue and as information becomes available we will put it on the tape, website and share it at the meetings.
Verizon has also notified the Union that they plan on recording the calls made in and out of the Dispatch centers. The T-6 has requested bargaining on this issue and has had a series of meetings to date with the hope of reaching an agreement. If an agreement is reached on the recording of calls, our intent is to have the language cover all call centers in the Plant section of the collective bargaining agreement.

The negotiated CPS award will be paid to you in your regular paycheck/direct deposit on March 14.
The Solidarity Committee has put together an IBEW Local 2323, family, and friends night with the Providence Bruins on April 6th at 3:05 p.m. Tickets are $17 each please contact Ray Silvestri (401)413-8937 the deadline for tickets will be March 6th.

The political season has begun and we are looking for our members to get actively involved politically. If you are interested in getting involved in our Political Action Committee please call the Union office. Also, if you have a candidate that you would like to endorse or attend a fundraiser for please contact the Union office.

Lastly, we are looking for help from our membership (specifically the OPT’s). Verizon has made a conscious decision to stop the placement of 50’ and 55’ poles in our set areas. It is our understanding they will have National Grid perform this work citing safety reasons. Our OPT’s have set numerous 55’ foot poles, safely and we believe they have the ability to continue to do so in the future. If any member knows of a 50’ or 55’ pole that has been set by National Grid in our set area, please call the Union office immediately.

Success on the field requires dedication, study, and preparation
Success in your chosen field requires the same thing

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” – Vince Lombardi

Advance your studies by enrolling for Fall courses now!

NACTEL give you choices for your technical education

A.S. Degrees
• Telecom
• Video
• Mobile Technology
• Networking
• Wireless Networking
• CyberSecurity (coming soon) B.S. Degrees
• Telecommunications
• Technology Leadership (coming soon) M.S. Degree
• Internet Technology

NACTEL’s Telecommunications education is designed specifically for working adults like you.
These credentials are stackable and aligned to technical career paths in your industry, so there are no wasted courses when moving up the educational ladder with NACTEL.
Take the first step and attend a Virtual Open House on September 16 to hear from and ask questions of the university staff. It is quick and easy! Register at www.nactel.org/ibew/voh
To learn more about these NACTEL programs, visit www.nactel.org/ibew