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.

President Dan Musard has notified me that the Local,  Treasurer position is being declared vacant.  Any member who is interested in putting their name in for the vacant seat must send a letter to the Union Office – 22 Amflex Drive, Cranston RI 02921 C/O President Dan Musard by close of business Jan 22, 2014. The Executive Board intends on filling the position at this month’s Executive Board meeting which will take place Thursday January 23, 2014 at 6:00pm.

IBEW Local 2323 Education Committe is please to announce we will be holding a film screening of INEQUALITY FOR ALL by Robert Reich

January 18, 2014 @ 6pm

22 Amflex Drive, Cranston RI 02921

“The rich are not the job creators. The job creators are the vast middle class and everyone aspiring to join them, whose money businesses need in order to justify expanding and hiring.” Quoted for Robert Reich, author of “Aftershock”, the book that inspired the movie “Inequality for All”. The movie is a documentary to raise the awareness of the country’s widening economic gap.

Robert Reich is an American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 -1997. He has been a professor at Harvard University, Brandeis University, and is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He was voted one of the top 10 best cabinet members of the last 100 years by Time magazine.

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.

Verizon Benefits Open Enrollment Open Enrollment for Plan year 2014 is now open for active employees till November 7th 2013. If you wish to keep the coverage selections you had for 2013 NO ACTION is necessary. If you wish to make changes to coverage or to complete the Health Assessment Questionnaire for an additional $100 annual savings toward 2014 premiums, please do so prior to November 6, 2013. Retiree Benefits Open Enrollment is set to begin November 7th through November 21st 2013. Any question please contact the Union office.

Monica Igbinovia-Reid a new member to local 2323 who bid into the Providence FSC, sadly passed away this past Friday. Monica was a longtime member of our sister local IBEW 2222 in Boston. Details for the arrangments are below. October 18, 2013 Monica Igbinovia-Reid, 52, of Plymouth died suddenly at Quincy Medical Center on October 18. Beloved wife of Waldemar “Wayne” Reid of Plymouth, loving mother of Courage Reid of Plymouth. Monica was born in Binie City Nigeria, Africa. And she also leaves her mother and several brothers and sisters there. Monica worked for Verizon as an Account Representive. She has lived in Plymouth for 14 years coming from Weymouth. Monica loved going to school she has degrees from North Eastern University, Clark University and Boston University, Economics, Computer Science, and Clinical Laboratory Technician. Visiting hours will be held at the Richard Davis Funeral Home 619 State Road (Rte 3A) Plymouth (Manomet) on Friday October 26 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Saturday October 26, at 11:00 AM. Burial will be in the Vine Hills Cemetery Plymouth, MA. In lieu of flowers donations in Monica’s memory may be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box417005, Boston, MA 02241-7005

It with a heavy heart the local has learned that longtime Local 2323 member & steward Joe Stravinsky from Allens Ave has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer.

Joe and his family face a very difficult fight in the months ahead. We ask all our members to rally around Joe these next few months. The family ask we all keep Joe in our thoughts & prayers.

A fund has been set up to assist Joe and his family information can be found at the link below. Additionally stewards around the local will begin weekly collections on behalf of Joe to help in his difficult fight in the months ahead.

www.gofundme.com/44dxx8

Cards of support can be sent to:

Joseph Stravinsky
Rhode Island Hospital
Main Building, Room 830
539 Eddy Street
Providence RI 02903

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Chuck Austin Memorial Golf Tournament. The day was a huge success which couldn’t be possible without your participation. Also, a special thanks to everyone who helped run the event- Ray Silvestri, Jen Silvestri, Becky Barbieri, Cindy Silva, Kelly San Souci, Lisa Stravinsky and Joe Stravinsky. Thank you!