The IBEW & CWA bargaining teams from both the NY/NE and Mid Atlantic met last week in New York to review information and proposals from Verizon. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find any common ground between the unions and Verizon based on Verizon’s proposals. We are still very far apart. As we have been saying all along, the company could not come up with one proposal from the unions that they would legitimately even consider, except for benefits for new hires from their first day of service. So, with the major concerns of the elimination of job security, major pension changes and unlimited contracting, it makes it very difficult to negotiate anything we would consider fair for both sides. Verizon’s repeated position is they do not want to add any costs to this contract and that they want flexibility, a code word that keeps coming up in Mark Reeds emails…. this flexibility is to eliminate more jobs by layoff and send more work to contractors. The negotiating process is obviously slow and we remind all members to continue to save their money as this process lingers on.
As everyone is hearing the rumors and reading Facebook posts, no strike has been called (yet) but that remains a distinct possibility based on Verizon’s rejections of union proposals and insistence on the unions accepting theirs. We will keep members informed as the process continues.
The unions have concerns regarding the loss of work due to the sale of the Verizon assets in FL, CA, & TX, which will leave many unionized workers without work, including one whole group, the VPS Sales group in this local. We have been trying to get the company to find jobs for these people, so far the company has not indicated what jobs will be made available. The difficulty here is that all Verizon departments/workgroups are looking to downsize and not add headcount. We will keep you updated on any progress. The sale is set to finalize by March 31, 2016.
Verizon is still moving forward with their plans to move the APC & Dispatch groups out of the Lowell. At the present time, they have not begun any canvassing of the groups or come up with a new date for the move, as the February 27th date they had does not seem likely. The company has caused all sorts of chaos miscommunicating their plans and identifying work and job functions in the new location(s). There is also major concerns are many for the FA’s in the group, as they too will be losing a significant amount of work when the sale of CA, FL, and TX goes through as well. As more information develops, we will pass it on to those affected.
The new Massachusetts Sick-time law went into effect January 1st. This should have been communicated to the workers. It will allow for people to use VAC or EWD days, which cannot be denied for their family medical needs in addition to their own. Dr. appointments, leaving work because a child is sick, Dr. appointments for you and your family, etc.…
While this issue itself is on the bargaining table and not resolved yet, members can use these days in half hour or fifteen min increments after they use one hour. Even management who was supposedly advised of this is screwing up what they have been told. Any issues, call us in the union office.