Business Managers Report
November 2014
We have 2 upcoming events in the Local. First we have the Annual Feed-A-Family Event that has been an overwhelming success the last 2 years feeding over 400 less fortunate families.
This year, the event will be held on November 23rd at 9:00 a.m. in the Union office. We encourage every member to make a donation to such a worthy cause as well as participate in delivering the baskets. Please see a union steward to donate.

On Saturday, December 6th at 7:00 p.m. IBEW Local 2323 Solidarity Committee will be holding our Christmas Party at Twin Rivers Casino – Wicked Good Bar & Grill in Lincoln. The cost for this event is $10 per person and includes prime rib and pasta buffet.

There will be a Rally against Fairpoint that will take place on Saturday, November 8th at 12:00 p.m. held at Monument Square in Portland Maine. Also, there has been a relief fund established to help our sisters and brothers on strike in the Northern States. To donate please go to our website at www.ibew2323.org and click on the gofundme link.
The Union and the Company continue to work towards finalizing the details in regards to the Enhanced Incentive offer for our members. As the details become available we share them through our website, informational tape and membership email list.

In the FSC, we are committed to making the center a better place to work every day and have been successful over the last two years. Recently, after months of negotiating, we were able to gain two new additional tours a 7:30- 4:00 and a 10:30- 7:00. These tours may seem insignificant to some but for our members who have been forced on tours that prohibits them from spending quality time with their families, it was a huge success. The shift in tours has afforded many of our members the ability to get the tour they prefer rather than being forced to one. Also in the FSC we continue to conduct our new member orientations with fewer than 30 left to be done.

In the MCO, the company continues to canvas our members to see who wants to move the fiber network title. The training is set to begin just after the first of the year.
Assistant Chris Buffery and I met with both Area Managers for I&M on Monday to discuss numerous topics. The first was the new established staff craft positions for I&M, the companies plan to get back to doing T2D and trialing a new business version of the program, the closing of the Newport garage, construction at the Towerhill garage and Portsmouth C.O. and lastly the low-filled cable project which includes rolling over C.O.’s to strictly fiber.

IBEW Local 2323 has several upcoming events planned we encourage all members to attend. We had an amazing turnout for the Thanksgiving Feed A Family event over 150 members and familes attended and were able to again feed 200 less fortunate familes. Thank you to all who attended and donated to make this such a successful event.

Saturday 5:00pm November 29th, 2014
Christmas Tree Lighting Event @ the Union office.
22 Amflex Drive Cranston, RI 02921

Saturday 7:00pm December 6th, 2014
IBEW Local 2323 Christmas Party
Wicked Good Bar & Grill
Twin River Casino

Attend a Retirement Planning
Workshop

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
6:00pm

IBEW Local 2323 Union Hall
99 Amflex Drive
Cranston, RI 02920

Spouses are welcome! Refreshments will be served!
To RSVP, or for more Plan information, please call
Steve Raymond at:
(978) 239-6999
Attention IBEW Local 2323 Members
We have been working with IBEW Members for more than 35 years

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

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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.