April 13, 2016
Brothers and Sisters of the IBEW System Council T-6,
As Business Managers our primary goal and concern are ensuring that our Members best interest is always at the forefront. As a Council we never lose sight that you, the Member, count on providing for your family. It is for that reason that we along with the CWA have decided to call for a Strike of Verizon. The company has during this round of negotiations purposefully targeted your family. We haven’t had to ask why. They have told us. Because they can and because they want to. No hidden agenda. No underlying reason. August 2, 2015 signaled an opportunity for Verizon to seek to dismantle our lives and also the lives of our retirees. They did not need to, they choose to. Extracting everything in the name of profit has been the sole goal of Verizon.
The company has been far less than honest with its propaganda. There are no rules or laws that prohibits them from lying, deceiving or misreporting facts. They know that. In the coming days and weeks Verizon will likely employ a barrage of commercials intended to portray the Union as unreasonable and unrealistic. It will be up to all of us to tell the truth. Wanting to continue to provide for our families is our goals. Working for a multi-billion dollar corporation and not accepting working for less is not unreasonable. It is in fact a clear and decisive reason to Strike. A Strike that is being called prior to the company imposing its terms. We have continued to work without a contract since last August. Made incredibly difficult choices to meet what CEO Lowell McAdam told the Union was required to reach a contract. Instead of breaking the log jam in the bargaining process, the result was last and final proposals and new deadlines. Deadlines that signaled the company was going no further without completely acquiescing to their demands. That is not bargaining. It’s strong arm tactics.
We cannot continue on such as course. We now turn to you the Members. Your efforts on the picket line, wherever they may be, will be the deciding factor in this Strike. Above all we implore you to be smart. Do not put yourself into a position that will enable the company to take action against you. We are engaged in a war with Verizon for our future. Do not allow yourself to be taken hostage. Stay focused on making this company regret forcing us to Strike. Together we can and we will see this through.
Myles J. Calvey – Business Manager IBEW Local 2222
Rita Sweeney – Business Manger Local 2313
Steve Soule – Business Manager Local 2320
Craig Fields – Business Manager Local 2321
Eric Hetrick – Business Manager Local 2322
Steven Murphy – Business Manager Local 2323
John Rowley Sr. – Business Manager Local 2324
David Keating – Business Manager Local 2325
Peter Mclaughlin – Business Manager Local 2327
The CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met yesterday at the Rye town Hilton.
Last week during off the record discussions the Union laid out to the Company a path to a contract by addressing the Company’s critical needs. We also made it clear to them that in order to reach an agreement they would have to address the Union’s critical needs and drop all of the remaining retrogressive demands.
Yesterday the Company gave us a proposal that contained no movement from their previous proposal to address our critical needs. There was no movement in wages, it continues to freeze pensions at 30 years and still allows them to increase contracting and off-shoring of our work.
The Company’s proposal still contains retrogressive demands that include:
- Job Security- Eliminate the no-layoff protections for workers hired before 2003 unless the Unions agree to other concessions
- Disability- a diminishment of our disability plans for members who get injured on the job
- Call Sharing- the elimination of home based routing, a reduction in the percentage of calls and the ability to route all calls for new products or services to contractors for 9 months
- Corporate Profit Sharing- Eliminate
- Closing call centers- the closing of centers that would result in transferring members up to 80 miles from their current work location
- Force Adjustment Plan- the ability to declare surpluses and offer IPP by organization which would circumvent seniority within your title
- Work/Family– reduce the funding by $600,000 over the life of the contract
- Tuition Assistance Plan– major changes that would drastically limit the courses a member could take
- Dependent Eligibility for benefits– Eliminate sponsored children and Class II dependents effective 1-1-18
In their proposal, the Company also had the audacity to threaten our members that if a contract isn’t ratified by May 20th they would have the right to temporarily transfer technicians from Massachusetts to Virginia for up to 60 days while allowing technicians to be transferred into your state to do your work and make Sunday part of your regular workweek.
The Company’s proposal also shifts more healthcare costs on to our retirees even though the Union had agreed to allow the Company to implement a Medicare Advantage Plan that would save them tens of millions of dollars.
Verizon is a hugely profitable and greedy corporation that is intent on driving down the living standards of the workers who make their profits possible – not because they “need” the savings, but because they “want” the savings and they believe they have the power to do so.
At this point, every member should be ready to strike at a moments notice!
CWA PRESIDENT CHRIS SHELTON WILL BE ANNOUNCING A STRIKE DATE WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS
The CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees spent many hours at the Rye Town Hilton this week working on ideas that we believe address the Company’s most important concerns in reaching a new contract.
No formal proposals were passed across the table, but we had an informal discussion with the Company today in which we communicated these ideas. But in those sidebar discussions, we also made it crystal clear that the unions will make no further movement at the bargaining table unless the Company addresses our members’ critical needs and takes their remaining retrogressive demands off the table.
Our committees have worked hard to grapple with and respond to the company’s concerns. Time is running out. Now is the time for the company to address the concerns of the hard-working union members at Verizon. If the Company wants to avoid a Strike they must seize this opportunity.
The parties are scheduled to meet on Monday.
Mobilize! Mobilize! Mobilize!