Your Bargaining Team met with the company in Rye this afternoon for approximately 2 1/2 hours.
We made some compromise proposals in a number of areas, designed to kick-start the bargaining process. One of these proposals included a plan that would give the company greater flexibility in routing customer service calls, while at the same time limiting the amount of contracting out of that work overall.
The company completely dismissed our proposals without even asking clarifying questions. They told us that when we start to move on their major demands, they would address our proposals more seriously.
They continue to insist that we cave in on all of their major proposals that would destroy our jobs and job security. These job-killing proposals include:
· Insisting on closing 5 call centers, which could lead to subcontracting and offshoring of our work.
· Slashing the percentage of call center work handled by our members.
· Insisting on expanded contracting out of field technicians work, including replacing, maintaining and moving hardware on poles.
· Eliminating the job security unless we agree to transfers and retirement incentives out of seniority order.
· Reduction of disability benefits.
· Freezing pension accruals at 30 years.
· And there is still not one word about improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of Verizon Wireless retail store employees or a fair contract for the VZW techs.
The company is testing us. They think the combination of cutting off health benefits and spending something like $500,000 sending every member a FedEx package with their so-called "last, best and final offer" will break the strike. They think we are not prepared to fight. They think we are about to fold.
They are wrong!
The strike grows stronger by the day. It becomes clearer every day that the replacement workers don't have a clue about what they're doing and the company is falling further and further behind on FiOS installs and dealing with troubles. The picketing of wireless stores is expanding, and on Thursday, there will be a National Day of Action to spread the Wireless picketing across the country, with the help of other CWA Districts and our allies like Jobs with Justice and the AFL-CIO. On Thursday, we will challenge the company at their Annual Shareholders' Meeting in Albuquerque.
The key is to keep the picket lines at Wireless strong, and to keep following the scabs. Pretty soon, the company will get the message--they will not break us. We will win. Stay strong!