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.

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