We have reported on issues throughout the past year related to the ongoing contract struggle between management at Verizon and the IBEW and CWA. A source familiar with these matters forwarded us this email from their bargaining unit which we quote in full:
Regional Bargaining Report
Friday February 5, 2016
As you know from prior bargaining reports the CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees made a proposal which addressed needs of both the Company and the Union. One of the critical issues for the Company is the cost of healthcare. The Union addressed this in our proposal which would save the Company over $200 million during the term of the contract.
Another critical issue for the Company is workforce flexibility and the Union made a proposal to help the Company reduce the workforce in a way that would not hurt our members.
Two weeks ago the Company rejected the Union’s proposal and gave the Union another unacceptable proposal which did not address any of the Union’s critical needs.
Over the last week there have been more high level discussions where our Union leadership told Verizon executives that since we addressed the Company’s needs, we expect the Company to address our needs.
We went back to the bargaining table yesterday to receive another proposal from Verizon. The Company still has many retrogressive demands on the table and has failed to meet any of the Unions needs.
Earlier today Marc Reed put out another deceptive e mail about the status of bargaining. He stated that the Company has “presented proposals that would provide the Company greater flexibility in managing the work and the work force while recognizing current job security provisions”. What their proposal really means is that the Company will withdraw their Job Security proposal if the Union agrees to all of the following:
- Transfers: Close centers and transfer workers up to 99 miles.
- Force Adjust Plan: Change the way the Company declares surpluses which could be done by Article 8 area or organization (impacting thousands of members)
- Temporary Transfers: Ability to transfer employees anywhere in the footprint (Virginia to Massachusetts).
- Article 8: Destroy the definition of our Article 8 units.
Giving the Company the ability to move you wherever and whenever they want is not how the Union defines Job Security.
In New York, Verizon’s Vice-President Jay Beasley implemented a new process called QAR, where managers are required to sit employees down and question them for hours about their daily activities. We demanded that they stop this practice of intimidation and harassment and told them if they want a new process in the future they must bargain over the issue.
It is clear to your Bargaining Committee that this enormously profitable company- which made $18.3 billion in profits in 2015 and paid its top five executives $44.5 million in 2014- is determined to gut our contract and destroy the working conditions that CWA and IBEW have fought so hard and earned over the last 50 years.
We need every member engaged in this fight. It is more important than ever that we take this fight to a new level.
Ready to STRIKE for a fair contract!!!
As we have said in our previous reporting, this is a major struggle to support. If Verizon were to win this struggle, it would be a massive loss for private-sector unions, as detrimental as the forthcoming Supreme Court case over public sector unions are expected to be. It is extremely important to show support for labor here and stand in solidarity in any way possible.