Over the past month, Local 2323 has been extremely proactive in many aspects, rather than being reactive which is the nature of the business we are in. We have entered into a partnership with management, to establish a Safety Committee in all of our I&M locations, as well as, entering into a trial where our SST’s will be performing the door to door canvassing of fiber migrations. While we continue to think outside the box to create work, find jobs, and maintain a level of safety in which each and every one of our members goes home each night, the reactive work continues to pile up.
The safety committee is an idea we brought to management following an alarming amount of injuries, accidents, and, most disturbing, fatalities throughout Verizon. We believe the current implementation of safety practices and training are despicable, our goal was to find a way to help our members embrace and understand the important role they each play in their own safety.
We were able to negotiate two safety coaches for the Local, but I don’t believe two people can police the safety of 300 SST’s and OPT’s. The Safety Committee will take over the responsibility of the Thursday morning safety meetings with more of a hands-on approach. The safety flashes that were previously thrown on the table for members to read or sent to your blackberry and tablet will now be supplemented by our safety committee, followed by discussion and interaction between our members. Again, this is a partnership with local management; we believe that if a member calls his manager, they too should know Verizon’s safety practices and how to implement them. We have reached out to Construction to see if we could implement the same ideas but management believes that their workers should already be doing this and that they don’t need to identify specific people to address safety (the Director told us that each and every member should be doing this already).
Our goal is to heighten the awareness around safety, reduce safety accidents and to never have another fatality on the job!
While still relatively new, the door to door trial that we entered into with Verizon is showing positive results. The trial consists of our SST’s performing door to door work that had previously been traditionally done by contractors and management. The trial is something that has never been done before by bargained for members and we are excited to have the opportunity to do it. We believe that thinking outside the box and exploring new opportunities to keep our members working is vital to our strength and longevity.
While we continue to explore new opportunities, our day to day work continues to grow. The Saturday scheduling issues for our FCSA’s, FNT’s and SST”S remains one of our top priorities with ongoing talks about solutions and alternatives taking place. We have recently submitted information requests about increases to night tours, and have been informed that other areas are planning to increase the night shift as a means of reducing overtime. The consolidation of centers throughout Mass and RI, specifically the movement of our Collections group to Lowell is still a work in progress.
Verizon’s decision not to allocate any money to the build for 2013 is extremely concerning for not just our members in Construction but for all of our members. Chris and I met with the Construction management team last week to discuss their plan for 2013. John Populo, the Director, gave us a run down of numbers comparing 2012 to 2013; the capital program for 2013 is less than half of what it was in 202. Although 2012 was a record low year in terms of premises’ passed, this year will pass about 10% of homes in 2012. Fiber placement for cell projects and inter office runs is also extremely low. The department projects to be able to keep line forces busy with dual pole work through year end, but with little cable placement our splicers will have less work to be issued. They have identified 500 low filled C.O. cables in Mass and RI with 50 workers or less and 16 F1 cables in RI with zero workers, the thought is to move these remaining customers over to Fiber and remove the cables. In Scituate, they have 6 F2 cables with zero workers that they intend on removing.
Overall, the picture for Construction is something to be concerned about, not just for our construction techs but I&M also. The reason I&M has been so busy in the past is due to new wire centers opening up and an over abundance of customers wanting our service. As you can see, the decision to not build for 2013 will have a huge impact on our membership across the board.
A growing concern for Local 2323 is the decision of Verizon to contract out more and more bargained for work, more concerning is the thought that some of our members are helping the problem. The idea of our members calling Park-Side to help with same day assists is mind blowing to me. If we have the ability to perform the job with a 2nd pair of hands, a snake to fish a tape, or a shovel to direct bury the drop, then WE need to do the work!! The decisions to take the path of least resistance and call the JEP desk for a same day assist from a contractor rather than calling your boss for help, a snake, or a shovel needs to stop today!!! We must do everything we can to protect our work not give management a reason to contract it out.
Lastly, I would like to remind everyone what separates Union from non-Union workforces; Safety and Quality Craftsmanship. Please take the time necessary to perform your job safely and with quality craftsmanship.