CWA 1109

Regional Bargaining Report #60

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
On July 19, 2012, CWA and IBEW requested the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in our contract negotiations with Verizon. The Company first refused the Union’s request for Mediation but we have been notified that the Company has agreed to Mediation and we are scheduled to meet with the Federal Mediator on Wednesday in Washington DC.
At this point, it appears that this enormously profitable company—which made nearly $22 billion in profits over the last five years and paid its top five executives nearly $350 million during that time—is determined to destroy your benefits and destroy the middle class jobs that CWA and IBEW have fought so hard to create over 50 years.
After negotiating for over one year we are still far apart on many of the issues involved in these negotiations.  Here is a list of the many items the company has proposed in order to lower our standard of living.

1. Wages

  • 2011 - 0%
  • 2012 - 1.75%
  • 2013 - 1.50%
The Company has offered 0% wages for the first year. You read that right- 0% - the company has no money on the table for wage increases for their employees for the first year of the contract. The company did make a proposal that would give 1.75% in the second year and 1.5% for the third year but the 1.75% for the 2nd year would not go into effect until the first Sunday after ratification of the 2012 MOU. The company is making it clear that they will not pay any retroactive wages to our members.
2. Health Care Benefits 
This is not only about premiums. The company’s proposal would diminish the benefit plans we enjoy today and we would be paying more for everything we use. The Company’s plan is for you to pay more when you need these benefits. Verizon hopes that if you have to pay more for your benefits, then you will not use them.
Premiums The Company proposed Premium Contributions for all medical plans (HCN - Health Care Network, MEP HC PPO – Medical Expense Plan, and HMO – Health Maintenance Organization.)  Today there are no contributions for any plan.
These are the premiums that the company proposed for each of the plans
That’s right; they want to increase your premiums each year by 6%
Tobacco users would add $600 to the annual premiums.  Family coverage would require that everyone covered did not use tobacco products in order to qualify for the lower premium.
Deductibles and Out of Pocket Maximums
Today our Deductible in the MEP Plan is $250 for individual and 2.5 x individual for family
In the HCN plan the deductible is $0 in network and $250 in the out of network
Today our Out of Pocket in the MEP is $700 for in and out of the network and for the family : the maximums are per individual per year; combined family max is not applicable
For the HCN Plan – the OOP Max is none in-network and $1500 out of network and for the family: the maximums are per individual per year; combined family max is not applicable
Here is what the company has on the table now for Deductibles
and Out of Pocket Maximums
Today there is no coinsurance for most services for in network use – the company proposes co- insurance of 90%.  This means the member pays 10% of the charge for the service.
Today the following services are covered in network at 100%.  The Company proposes these services be covered at 90% and the member pay 10% of the cost.
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hospital Room and Board
  • In Hospital Physician Visits
  • In Hospital X-ray and Lab Tests
  • Newborn Baby Care
  • Birthing Centers
  • In Patient Surgery / Out Patient Surgery
  • Anesthesia Services
  • In Patient Substance Abuse
  • Ambulance Services
  • Today a physician office visit is $15 – the company proposes $20.
  • Today X-Rays are paid at 100% - the company proposes $20 co-pays
  • Today Maternity care is paid at 100% - the company proposes $20 co-pays
  • Today Second opinions are paid at 100% - the company proposes $20 co-pays
  • Today Urgent Care is a $15 co-pay – the company proposes a $80 co-pay
  • Today Emergency Care is a $15 co-pay and $5 co-pay for Medicare eligible – the company proposes $170 co-pay and $85 co-pay for Medicare eligible
Today Out of Network services under the MEP are mostly at 100% with a few at 98% and a couple at 80% - the company proposes to make the co-insurance 70%, so you will pay 30% for any out of network services.
Prescription Drugs
Today there is no deductible for prescription drugs – the company proposes a $25 deductible for every individual in your family. So you would have to lay out the first $25 for each member of your family and then your prescription benefit would kick in.
Today there is a $400 annual out of pocket maximum for each member of your family. So no matter how much your prescription bills are for the year, you would not have to pay any more than $400 for each member of your family. The company wants to eliminate this benefit.
The company also proposed significant increases in co-pays for prescription drugs both retail and mail order. So, now you will get to the $400 amount faster but since the company has proposed to eliminate the out of pocket maximum, you will continue to pay for all of your prescriptions.
In addition to the Medial Premium the company has proposed an annual contribution for the Dental Plan.  An individual, non-tobacco user, annual premium would be $36 and family non-tobacco users premium would be $108. A tobacco user would add $60 to both amounts.
The Company has also proposed that retirees pay annual premiums for coverage and additional costs for services as well.
3. Pensions – there is no increase to your pension and the company proposes to:
  • Cut pension accruals in half. For anyone currently on the payroll your pension will be capped at 30years. Beginning November 1, 2012, your pension plan will only accrue at 70 %.
  • Eliminate the Pension Lump Sum option.
  • Modify the 401(k) Plan
  • Eliminate the Sickness Death Benefit
For those currently on the payroll, after November 1, 2012 your current pension benefit will be frozen and from that point forward you will only earn 70% of the current pension band value until you reach 30 years of service.  After 30 years of service you will no longer accrue time towards your pension.  If you currently have 30 or more years of service, your pension will be frozen on November 1, 2012 and no longer accrue time toward your pension.
Anyone hired or rehired on or after August 1, 2012 (“Pension New Hire”) will not be eligible to participate in the Pension Plan.
The Pension Lump Sum program will terminate.
4. Eliminate Job Security:
  • Eliminate the Job Security Provisions for all employees.
  • Eliminate the Movement of Work Protection
  • Increase the mileage on the 35 mile transfer provision
  • Eliminate provisions in Force Adjustment Plan
  • Eliminate New Contracting Initiatives agreement – which would allow them to increase the level of contracting
By eliminating the Job Security Provisions in the contract, members hired before August 3, 2003 will not be covered by the no-layoff, forced transfer and loss of compensation commitments that was contained in the Job Security Letter
By eliminating or modifying the movement of work protection, the company will have the opportunity to move more of our work to other areas of the country. If this is allowed and without the protection of the Job Security Letter, more of our members will be laid off.
By eliminating the “new Contracting Initiatives Agreement” – the company will be able to increase the level of contracting and without the protection of the Job Security Letter, more of our members will be laid off.
By increasing the mileage in the 35 miles provision of the contract, the company would be able to close more garages, close more offices and transfer more employees longer distances then they are allowed today.
By eliminating provisions in the Force Adjustment Plan (FAP), the company will be able to declare more surpluses and without the protection of the FAP more of our members will be laid off.
5. Absence
  • Maximum of six (6) paid incidental absence days per year.  New hires receive a maximum of five (5) incidental absence days per year.
  • Company still wants the ability to administer the Absence Control Plan with this limited amount of paid incidental absence.
6. Next Step Program –
  • The Company wants to eliminate the Next Step Program
7.  Excused Work Days (EWD) –
  • Eliminate the ability to take EWD’s on short notice
8. Sharing of Calls
  • The company wants the ability to implement and expand upon sales and service call routing capabilities for the routine transfer and/or routing of calls between centers performing like sales and service call functions on a next available representative, balanced load or any other determined by the company. Accordingly, calls may be transferred and routed between and among centers in NY/NE, the former GTE areas and any other locations that are not a center staffed by employees of the 2012 South MOU Companies.
  • The company wants no limitations, geographic or otherwise, on the Companies’ right to share calls and work between and among CSSCs, BSBCs, MSSCs and VCCD and individuals working at home, and contractor locations that perform like functions, except the Companies may not transfer or route calls between and among centers staffed by employees of the 2012 South MOU companies. 
  • Additionally, there will be no limitations, geographically or otherwise, on the Companies right to share calls and work between and among the following Centers and individuals working at Home, and contractor locations (to the extent not staffed by employees of the 2012 South MOU companies) that perform like functions CFS-MMCC, OCO, MCO-HIS, DRC,NAC, TPM and APC.
We are working on percentage of calls that can be shared and Verizon still demands their call sharing proposal with their percentages of calls that can be shared.
The Company has withdrawn the portion of the proposal that would give us more protection in our EVRCs and FSC because we did not accept their proposal with their percentages on Call Sharing.
  • In addition, the company may require representatives in any CSSC, BSBC, MSSC, VCCD,  FSC, or EVRC to handle customer inquiries and request that can be resolved with the aid of written or electronic instructions or guides if such inquiry or request is either part of a misrouted or a secondary request or inquiry that is part of a properly routed call.
9. Sales Compensation Plan Titles
The Company has proposed two new sales job titles with variable compensation:
  • Customer Contact Sales Associate (“CCSA”)
  • Business Sales Associate (“BSA”)
Paid at Seventy (70%) percent of the Service Representative and Representative titles pay rate with the remaining thirty (30%) percent to be made up by commission sales. 
The Company does not want to negotiate the 30% Commission portion with the Union – they want us to trust them that they will do the right thing. They also do not want the commission plan to be subjected to a challenge in the grievance and arbitration section of the contract. Again the Company wants us to trust them. Now, what do you think – should we trust them that they will do the right thing
  • These titles do not receive the Corporate Profit Sharing Award.
  • The Company wants the ability to change the terms of the commission plan as they see fit and again – we must trust them on the terms of the plan
We need Verizon to hear us at the Bargaining Table
We have made meaningful proposals on wages, on changes to our healthcare plans, absence, medical, job security, call sharing, just to name a few.  Yet, the Company has rejected every one of our proposals saying they don’t go far enough to meet their needs.  At the same time, almost every proposal the Union has placed on the table has been rejected by the Company.  Bargaining will continue in Washington DC on Wednesday with the Federal Mediator.  In the meantime, we need every member to get engaged. 
Verizon is doing more than its part to destroy middle class jobs in this country.  The Company is still not hearing us so it is more important than ever that we take this fight to a new level. Our members must continue to mobilize. Every member needs to commit to spending 4 hours per week participating in mobilization activities.
On Saturday, August 11, 2012 Americans from all over the country will be in Philadelphia,  for the “Workers Stand for America Rally” to stand up for the middle class and urge all Americans, especially our elected officials, to stand with us.  It is time for every member to stand up and be counted.  Contact your Local for information on transportation to the rally.
If you have not been involved it is time to get involved.
Call your Local and find out what you can do today to help.
Mobilize! – Mobilize! – Mobilize!


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