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.

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.

As the New Year begins it is imperative for our members to know that Local 2323 has an excellent Member Assistance Program (MAP) which, in conjunction with Local 2222’s assistance, is second to none.  Members and their families who are having difficulty with any number of issues can get the resources and help they need by contacting the local office.  MAP programs are similar in structure to the company’s own Employee Assistance Program (EAP), with the intent being that we, as a brotherhood, can lend a hand to one another in a proactive way, rather than with our member’s more common reactionary involvement with Verizon EAP, usually resulting from disciplinary action. Any member who is interested in getting involved is asked to contact the union office.

I am proud to report great news in our Local.  On January 13th we will have our first class of new hirers, hired into the Fiber Solutions Center, since 2007.  This is the first time in many years that any Local has had any actual true growth to their membership.  We look forward to the addition of new members and we ask all of our members to show our new members a warm welcome.

The 4th quarter surplus is still ongoing with the company offering EIPP B’s to all SST’s through-out Mass and RI.  We are still awaiting notice from the company as to how many members took the offer and what locations.  Those members who elected to take the EIPP B must have a qualified replacement in order for them to leave.  The proposed termination date will be no later than March 2, 2014.

Verizon continues to consolidate offices in Mass and RI and just over two months ago notified Local 2222 that they intend to move roughly 800 members out of the Greater Boston area.  Local 2222 was able to reach an agreement which would protect over 400 members from having to leave Boston.  The rest of the members will have to decide from Lowell, Taunton or Providence.

The Boston MCO-COT’s will have the opportunity to select a job in Providence as a Fiber Network Technician.  The company has identified that the DSL work is slowly dropping off; therefore, they are offering those COTs jobs as FNTs which would be a natural progression (similar to SSTs doing copper moving to FiOS).  This agreement also allows our COTs, in the MCO in Providence, the ability to be canvassed for FNT jobs as well.  Our major concern at first, for our members in Local 2323, was that our current FNTs that have a service date after 2003 would be vulnerable to surplus sometime in the future due to a drastic increase in headcount in that work group.  However, the COT’s that move over to the FNT position will perform both jobs DSL and FiOS.  Therefore, there will be no direct increase in the FNT title which has just enough work for the current work group.

In the FSC, we have been going round-and-round with management in regards to the work at home trial (WAH).  The trial was set to conclude on Dec. 31st with upper management looking to extend the trial another six months.  The problem with extending the trial was the company didn’t want to re-canvass for those WAH positions, rather continue to use the members they have.  With management entrenched in their position not to re-canvass, we thought it was in the best interest of our members to try and negotiate something rather than end the program that many of our members have an interest in.  After many discussions, we were able to negotiate for an additional 15 members to be canvassed strictly by seniority for the work at home trial.  The company intends to conclude the trial in June after collecting all of the data relevant to the trial and will then determine if the trial was a success.  If the company determines that it was a success they will then re-canvass ALL members for a permanent work at home position according to the language in the CBA.

Verizon has informed us of a re-organization under Vice President Alison Cole organization.  Currently, we have two Directors under Alison, John Puopolo for the construction side of the house and Jack Sordillo for the I&M side.  As of Jan 6th the two positions will be consolidated to one under a new Director: Paul McManus.  We have reached out to Paul and will be meeting with him shortly to find out his plans for each department during 2014.

President Musard has notified me that the Local’s Treasurer position is being declared vacant.  Any member who is interested in putting their name in for the Treasurer’s vacant seat should send a letter to the Union office at 22 Amflex Dr Cranston 02921 c/o President Dan Musard by close of business January 22, 2014.  The Executive Board intends on filling the position at this month’s Executive Board meeting which will take place on Jan 23rd at 6 p.m.

Finally, we have our new Local 2323 website.  We started the process in April and after a long road our new website is up and working.  We were looking for something easy to use for our members and we believe this new site will give us just that.  Please take a sometime to check it out.

Local 2323, has a Member Assistance Program, which in conjunction with Local 2222’s assistance is second to none. Members and their families who are having difficulty with any number of issues can get the resources and help they need by contacting the local office. MAP programs are similar in structure to the company’s own Employee Assistance Program (or EAP), with the intent being that we as a brotherhood could be proactive in lending a hand to one another in a proactive way, rather than with our member’s more common reactionary involvement with Verizon EAP, usually resulting from discipline. Any member who is interested in getting involved is asked to contact the union office.

Safety continues to be the number one issue for the Union. Last week in Texas, there was a technician who was seriously injured due to coming into contact with overhead power lines. The job that our members perform is extremely dangerous and must be performed using all of the proper safety tools and precautions necessary. In Rhode Island, we continue to move forward with our safety committees in the I&M garages. These safety committees have been working to educate our members on safety and to promote awareness surrounding safety. Verizon management notified us that they will be conducting a day of safety for all SST’s and OPT’s over the upcoming months.

The Union and the Verizon management met in Boston on October 29th to discuss the state of the business year to date, in regards to the New England region, consumer and mass business departments. The total revenue year to date is 36 million compared to last year’s 40 million. The total expense is down 20 million due to the negotiated content cost (last year content cost was 57 million compared to this year’s 33 million). The reason for the savings in content cost is due solely to having more customers on the video portion of fiber network which gives the content providers more viewers which gives Verizon leverage to negotiate the price.

The year to date expense and capitol, for direct expense; projected was 166 million and the actual 186 million, management is looking at operational surpluses, favorable work, overtime management, and efficiency improvements to curb the direct expense. The year to date Capitol expense was; 96 million projected and the actual expense was 104 million due to some incremental build and the IIP program. The FIOS performance year to date is concerning, last year we had 100K NATB compared to this year’s 56K. It takes 4.5 installs for the company to keep one customer. The penetration rate for Massachusetts is 39.6 with Marshfield’s penetration rate over 60%. In Rhode Island the penetration rate is 28.6, with Coventry’s penetration rate over 46%. The number one cause for our poor penetration rate, in Rhode Island, is due to non-payment.

In the meeting we also covered the fiber migrations, specifically the Tech2door trial started in Rhode Island. Alison Cole, the Vice President of National Operations, thanked our Local specifically for the work our members have done to make this initiative a success. This work has been done by contractors and local managers, until we entered into a trial to perform this work. This year we have migrated 18k with a close rate of 67%, which is head and shoulders above the contractors and management.

We also covered the Lead to Succeed program where we were informed that N.E. has produced 4.8 million sales, compared to Florida, Texas, and California who produced 21 million in sales. We discussed quantum sales, which has increase 2.78 times compared to the 1st and 2nd quarters. Verizon management expressed how we must do a better job in quantum sales, stating that customers who are upgraded to quantum speeds don’t leave Verizon as a carrier, as well as, quantum is a direct revenue builder for the business.
The Union in many parts of the country continues to negotiate with Verizon. Local 824 in Florida, started bargaining in July has made little to no progress. Local 289 in N. Carolina, began bargaining in September, also has made little to no progress. Local 543 in California, began in July, no progress. The CWA in California has been negotiating for months and remain far apart on many issues. Both parties agreed to enter into mediation but have not made any progress.

Local 2323 now has a Member Assistance Program, which in conjunction with Local 2222’s assistance is second to none. Members and their families who are having difficulty with any number of issues can get the resources and help they need by contacting the local office. MAP programs are similar in structure to the company’s own Employee Assistance Program (or EAP), with the intent being that we as a brotherhood could be proactive in lending a hand to one another in a proactive way, rather than with our member’s more common reactionary involvement with Verizon EAP, usually resulting from discipline. Any member who is interested in getting involved is asked to contact the union office.

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.

First and foremost, on behalf of IBEW Local 2323 I want to sincerely thank all of our members for their courageous participation in our strike on August 6th. The Union realizes that this was not an easy decision for our members to make, with huge numbers of Americans out of work and the nation’s economy on the brink of another recession.