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.