Regional Bargaining Report

CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees spent Tuesday and Wednesday at the Rye Town Hilton in Westchester.

However, no formal bargaining took place with Verizon. Several hours of off-the-record conversations were conducted. The talks have ended for this week and the bargaining teams are returning to their locals. Further bargaining dates are being scheduled for next week.

While the tone of the conversations was somewhat better than talks prior to expiration, the company HAS NOT GOTTEN OFF A SINGLE ONE OF ITS CONCESSIONARY DEMANDS. Among those demands are:
• Elimination of Job Security
• Thousands of dollars in increased health care costs to actives and retirees
• Forcing you to choose between a Defined Benefit pension that will be frozen at 30 years, or an enhanced 401(k) plan
• Elimination of Accident Disability
• Elimination of the Family Care Leave
• Elimination COLA
• Increased Contracting
• And more…
Now is the time to intensify our Mobilization efforts. This is the time to follow all the directions you receive from your local unions. We will continue to pressure this company until a fair contract is won but we need your help.

We know that working without a contract is challenging and that sacrifices have to be made. But at this time your Bargaining Team believes that we are pursuing the most effective available strategy. Keep up the good work and be sure to do nothing but a quality job.

The next scheduled meeting of the Local will take place on Wednesday, August 19th at the Union office located at 22 Amflex Dr in Cranston. There will be a morning meeting at 9:00 a.m. with breakfast being served at 8:30 and an evening meeting at 6:00 with a cook out starting at 5:30 p.m. Please make every effort to attend and hear the facts about bargaining and our mobilization activities.

Please continue to work, think and act like a Union member.

In Solidarity,
Steve Murphy

We are NOT on strike. All members are expected to report to work on time bau.

We are working under the old contract minus arbitration rights. A strike or Lock out can come at any time we need members ready and mobilized.

A membership meeting is being held Aug 2, 2015 at 6:00pm. We need every member to attend to hear the facts on the next phase in our fight for a fair contract.

Sisters and Brothers,

Over the last three years, our Local has taken the necessary steps to be able to stand toe to toe with Verizon at this very moment. To highlight a few, Our Solidarity Committee has put together more events which have been well attended (our Christmas party had over 300 people in attendance), we have made the necessary decisions financially, and our membership’s response to our mobilization plan has been the best in the history of the Local.

It is imperative to understand that when we perform our mobilization tactics, it is not only to show the company that we stand together united, but it is also to let YOU know that you aren’t alone in this fight. Many of us overlook that simple fact because we get caught up in the day-to-day stress and pressure to perform your job. Going out on strike is not something anyone wants to do, but Verizon has no social conscience or moral obligation to its workers, their families, or the middle class of this country. Therefore, there are times when the line has to be drawn in the sand. WE, as union members, have to fight to keep our standard of living at its current level the way members in the past have done for us. If we don’t do it, who will?

It is no secret that all of our contractual benefits have been fought for, and there is no reason that we should be ashamed that we demand to be treated fairly from the employer that gets rich from our labor. Sadly, Corporate America has no limit as to how far they are willing to go for their greed. What sort of working conditions will our children work in, what sort of wages will they make, and how would they provide for their family if this erosion of the middle class continues? It is our moral obligation as union members–and as a member of a dying breed in the middle class–to say enough is enough. We have demonstrated at the rallies in New York last week and in Boston last night that we are ready and willing to take that stand.

As we come closer to the expiration of our collective bargaining agreement, I’m sure the stress, anxiety, and rumors are running rampant. Over the last month, we have done the best we can to communicate what has been happening at the bargaining table in an attempt to help put those things to rest. Many of us have a fear of the unknown and unfortunately the bargaining process plays into that fear. I want to assure you that regardless of what happens on August 1st at midnight we will get through it together! We always have in the past and this will be no different. So in closing I ask that you remember that this fight is not only for you, but for your sisters and brothers next to you and for the working middle class of this country, because WE set the standard!

In solidarity,

Steve Murphy

Regional Bargaining Report

CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees resumed negotiations with Verizon today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY.

This afternoon, the Union team presented a package proposal to management which made substantial movement on several issues. Now the ball is in the company’s court. The clock is ticking it’s time for the Company to get serious and agree to our demands. It’s not like they can’t afford a fair contract their sale of the Wireline properties in California, Texas and Florida netted them $10.5 billion in income. They should use that money to expand FiOS in the Northeast, upgrade the crumbling network where they are not building FiOS, and reward their employees with a fair contract.

Yesterday, we told the company that our members’ interest in jobs and job security is directly linked to the public interest because maintaining the legacy network, and building and installing FiOS, is what our members do and what the public needs. That’s why the Mayors of Syracuse and Kingston, backed up by four other letters of support from elected leaders, came to the table with us yesterday to argue for FiOS builds in their communities.

Not to mention that Governor Cuomo has created a $500 million New York Broadband Program that is available to subsidize Verizon’s buildout of high-speed internet in underserved communities. That money would provide a 50% subsidy to the cost of building out FiOS.

Verizon’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Marc Reed, suggests in his recent emails to employees that he is concerned for you and your family. But if he really cared about you and your family, why is he proposing to gut the contract that provides for you and your family? Why is the company unwilling to build-out FiOS and properly maintain the copper network to protect jobs as well as ensure good service for customers?

In solidarity,

Steve Murphy

Recently our members received a letter from Verizon’s Marc Reed discussing potential strike misconduct. This letter was highly misleading, for example it references members terminated for misconduct and not receiving back pay upon re-in statement.

That statement is factually true, what Marc Reed failed to tell you is that, at best the allegations were weak, the Union felt confident they would be successful challenging the allegations, however after consulting with the members a settlement on returning to work was agreed to in order to avoid a very lengthy process returning them back to work through a challenge. The letter the union signed referenced in Marc Reed’s letter was part of that settlement offer.

The Union always ask that the membership picket responsibly and safely. We have firm rules of our own regarding misconduct of our members on the picket lines, which has been covered with all of our picket captains.

It has also come to our attention Verizon has increased scrutiny on varying Social Media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. We have received numerous reports over the past few days of members receiving friend request from newly created profiles from people they do not know. Emotions run high when so much is at stake, the Union can’t stress enough to please be mindful of what you post and who can see it.

The last thing anyone would want is putting themselves or another member in a difficult situation of being accused of strike misconduct. We encourage every member to review their friends list, and settings on the varying Social Media platforms and set them to private. If you have any questions please see a steward or contact the Union office.

Regional Bargaining
Friday, July 24, 2015

CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met with the Company today in Rye, NY.
Today the company asked questions about some of the Union’s initial set of proposals, then immediately following, they rejected just about all of the Unions Proposals on Job Security, Pensions and Healthcare.
It is clear that Verizon’s agenda has not changed. The Company is still hell- bent on retrogressive demands regarding Pensions, Healthcare, Job Security, Disability, Work- Family Issues and more.
We need to send a very clear message that this is not acceptable, that we will not be passive as they seek to gut our contract. This is not a Company facing a financial crisis. They are extremely profitable, yet with their proposals, they seek to destroy our future.

Tomorrow, thousands of CWA and IBEW members and retirees will be at the Rally at 11AM at Verizon headquarters at 140 West Street in New York City. Every member should be at his rally, and should bring their families, neighbors and friends. Remember to wear RED!!!

We just about a week away for the expiration of our collective bargaining agreement, we need to mobilize now more than ever!

In Solidarity,
Steve Murphy

Regional Bargaining Report
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

CWA District 1/ IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York. The Union continued to ask Verizon about safety issues involving work being done by Contractors. All members should remember that safety should be their #1 concern. The Union also raised concerns about the closing of the LPC stores which are now staffed with unqualified contractors.

Today we met with the Company’s “subject matter experts” on Absence, Disability and Family Care Leave. Part of the Company’s proposal was to eliminate Accident Disability and to greatly reduce the Sickness Disability benefits. Another portion of their proposal was to eliminate the Family Care Leave that has been in effect for over twenty years. There is no end to how low Verizon will stoop. They want to take benefits away from sick and injured employees, and from people who are caring for seriously ill family members. Verizon also wants to separate employees from the payroll who were hurt on the job, after 52 weeks of disability.
Your Union Bargaining Committee repeatedly reminded the Company Bargaining committee that we had rejected their proposal and we made it clear that we think this is a disgraceful and heartless attack by Verizon on our members and their families. You have to wonder what kind of people make up these proposals.

This morning a Verizon Vice President visited workers in a Brooklyn garage and told them that there is significant progress being made at the Bargaining table. We would love to know where he gets his information from since there has not been any agreement on any issue and not one of the Union’s proposals has been addressed by the Company’s Regional Bargaining Committee.
It’s shocking how Verizon executives continue to lie to their employees about the status of bargaining.

With only 10 days left until the contract expiration this Company needs to get serious about bargaining.

In Solidarity,
Steve Murphy

Regional Bargaining Report

Monday, July 20, 2015

CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY.

On Friday the Company responded to the Union’s request for information on call centers which we requested over two weeks earlier. After reviewing the information over the weekend we found that it was incomplete and incorrect. Today the Union criticized the Company’s committee for not providing all the data. The Union also blasted Verizon on the Company’s plan to go forward with the contracting of pole work in Suffolk County and possibly Albany, Syracuse, and Utica.

Next on the agenda was a presentation on the Company’s Pension Proposal. After listening to 5 minutes worth of their retrogressive and insulting pension presentation/proposal, the Union made it clear to the Company that we are looking for improvements to the Pension Plans not diminishments to our retirement security.

This Corporation has no respect for the members of our Union who have built this Company. All members should be as angry as the Bargaining Team. It is time for every member to make it clear to management that we are not going to accept these retrogressive demands.

In Solidarity,

Steve Murphy

Regional Bargaining Report

Thursday, July 16, 2015

CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York. The Union spent most of the day reviewing data that the Company provided late last night. We continue to wait for more information that has been previously requested.

All employees in the East will be greeted by Mark Reeds latest e mail. After reading it you may come away with the belief that Verizon is financially struggling.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We can’t allow Mark Reed to keep lowering the bar. The only reason for a Company who is making enormous profits like Verizon to take away from their employees is GREED! They want you to get less while Corporate Pigs like Mark Reed take more. Instead of taking more from our members they should share Verizon’s financial success with the workers who made those profits possible.

It would be more advantageous for Verizon to start having serious discussions around issues at the bargaining table rather than taking time away from this process by sending misleading e mails to our members. For example when Reed explained Medicare Advantage, he states that there would be “reduced costs”.

Guess whose costs would be reduced? Verizon’s- not yours. Their Medicare Advantage Proposal would save Verizon tens of millions of dollars and they have the nerve to propose increasing the cost for Retirees. They are despicable.

In Solidarity,

Steve Murphy

Regional Bargaining Report

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

IBEW New England, IBEW Local 2213 and CWA District 1 Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York.

We met in the morning and afternoon to submit more Union proposals highlighted by a comprehensive proposal on call sharing which would assure all calls would be handled by a CWA or IBEW union member.

Locals are in the process of conducting a Strike authorization Vote. We need to send the Company a strong message that we will do whatever it takes to achieve a fair and just contract.

Don’t forget about our annual summer union meeting tomorrow. The morning meeting will start at 9:00 a.m. with breakfast and a bargaining update to follow. Then at 5:00 p.m. there will be a cookout followed by a bargaining update. Please make every effort to attend one of these meetings in order to hear the facts not the propaganda from the company. If you can’t make one of those times please feel free to stop by the hall and we will be glad to give you an update on bargaining.

In Solidarity,

Steve Murphy