Local 2252

AT$T Bargaining

Legacy T Bargaining Report #33

Legacy T Bargaining Report #33

April 22, 2015

Another day was spent discussing benefits but, as usual, the Company will not respond to our proposals when we make them. They have to get back to their leaders in Dallas before they can give us a response.

We received a message from a member via the website: he wanted to know why we were still passing proposals now and why we didn’t start bargaining earlier. We are still passing proposals now because that is how bargaining works. Each side puts a lot of demands on the table when bargaining starts and then, as each side counters the others’ demands, there is hopefully movement until you end up with a Contract both sides can agree on. Extending the process doesn’t mean you reach an agreement earlier. It just takes away the urgency of coming to an agreement.

What mainly pushes the Company is the pressure we put on them away from the table - Mobilization activity on the job, going to the Shareholders Meeting and talking to the Press, holding rallies that the public can see, reaching out to the community on issues like AT&T’s off shoring of work. Working without a Contract so the Company does not know if or when we will strike also puts pressure on them to wrap this up. So keep doing what you are doing and then ramp it up a notch. No business as usual.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #32

Legacy T Bargaining Report #32

April 21, 2015

The Company accepted our demand that our Monitoring language continues unchanged. At the beginning of bargaining, the Company made a big issue of wanting to be able to “coach” (and discipline) individuals for what is heard during process monitoring and they also wanted to take away the right of our call center workers to demand side-by-side monitoring. This would tremendously add to the stress (and discipline) of our members. Today we preserved our original language.

From there it went downhill. While the Company changed some of the specifics of their benefits proposal, the results were the same. Our members would be paying a lot more than they pay now. The Company then rejected ALL our proposals on wages, pensions, JOG, the watermarks, absence and the wage supplement for those making under $50,000.

In addition to the mobilizing going on in many workplaces, this Friday many of our Locals are attending the AT&T Shareholders Meeting in Spokane, Washington. They will tell the top management of AT&T, the Board members, the Press and every Shareholder who attends how AT&T is treating its employees. If those in Dallas who are controlling this bargaining haven’t gotten the message yet, maybe that will push them a step closer to fairness.

You Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #31

Legacy T Bargaining Report #31

April 20, 2015

After attending a march and rally from the AFL-CIO Headquarters to the office of the US Trade Representative, to protest TPP (which is another reason we need strong job security language), your bargaining team went to the table expecting responses to our last proposals. Instead the Company proposed to carry over two letters which are already in the contract - no response on wages, no response on pensions and no response on medical.

Every day it looks more and more like the Company is either incapable of getting down to serious bargaining or is just refusing to. If they think we will sit here for months and our members will go back to business as usual they are seriously mistaken.

You Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #30

Legacy T Bargaining Report #30

April 17, 2015

Today the Union rejected the last proposals by the Company and presented our proposals on wages, SSP, the watermark for the full workforce and Article 43, JOG, absence and several proposals on our health benefits. The CWA Research Department is working with us every day to help us prepare for our proposals on health benefits.

The Company had nothing new to present today but hopefully they will have something for us over the weekend. Your elected Bargainers, who haven’t been home since the first week in March, are still here awaiting some progress.

We know many of you were disappointed that we did not go on strike Tuesday. The Bargaining Team was also. If we do go, it must be because we are stalled at BOTH our table and District 4 so we can have a unified action. Your disappointment, however, should not be an excuse to back off one iota from taking action every day to show the Company you are angry at their proposals. You are the ones who do the work. You are the ones in every workplace who should be able to figure out, while you are working, how to make your feelings known. Remember, it is the COMPANY who has stalled these negotiations, not the “National” or your bargaining team.

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #29

Legacy T Bargaining Report #29


Today at the Bargaining table the Company made such a miniscule increase to their wage and healthcare proposals it was hardly worth talking about. Their proposal on our “watermark” also very slightly improved, bringing us from our current 3700 to 3000 at the end of the agreement, only 100 up from their last offer. This is a ridiculous way to bargain to continue to bring us insultingly small changes from their previous proposals.

At the table CWA Elected Bargaining team member LaNell Piercy talked about a CEO in a company called “Gravity Payments” who cut his pay from $1 million to $70,000 so he could increase all of his employees pay to $70,000. AT&T won’t even guarantee its lowest paid workers $15 an hour or provide a supplement to its lowest paid workers so they can pay for health care - meanwhile AT&T’s CEO makes $22 million.

Since we attended an Anti-Fast Track rally at the Capitol to oppose TPP this morning, Bill again raised that AT&T supports that anti-worker bill and continues to offshore our jobs (where a security breach just cost the company $25 million in fines). If they would just bring that work back AT&T would have no problem meeting our current watermark of jobs.

He also pointed to several other CWA Contracts with companies a lot less profitable than AT&T, who have managed to bargain much fairer health care benefits with us.

We are working without a contract but it is not business as usual. The terms and conditions of the current agreement stay in place. Keep up activity on the job.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #28

Legacy T Bargaining Report #28

April 12, 2015

The first post-expiration meeting did not go very well. Though the Company’s “package” was a bit better than their first proposals, they were still nowhere near where they need to be to get a Contract. They are still proposing freezing pension and giving no pensions to new hires, only a 401K. This proposal, for everyone hired after 2003, freezes their CBA account and moves them into the BCB2 plan, which has a much lower payout.

Their wage proposal was insulting and does not come near to covering any increases in the cost of living or in health care costs. They rejected our proposals to raise the pay or pensions of our lowest paid titles.

Their personal illness proposal took away the decreases for those under 25 years but capped the over 25 at 10 days and are still proposing NO PAID ILLNESS for new hires.

Though they moved on their JOG proposal it still would not cover those hired after April 2012.

On employment security, they moved our watermark from 3700 to 2900, which will not protect us from losing more work to the regional companies, contractors, managers and layoffs as AT&T moves to an all IP network. They also rejected maintaining the watermark for Article 43 and rejected any new certification programs.

The Union rejected their proposals and countered on all of it:

- We need fair pension increases and a pension for new hires;

- We need a wage proposal that improves the standard of living of our members;

- We want paid personal illness for everyone;

- We want JOG to cover employees hired under the 2012 agreement;

- We need a high enough watermark to force the company to keep jobs in our unit or bring in new work and we want the training to do that work.

There will be a call with the Local Officers Monday afternoon to give them an update.

Keep up the fight. The new deadline is Tuesday at Noon EDT.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report 27

Legacy T Bargaining Report 27 ~ April 11, 2015

 

As you all should know by now the Company and Union agreed to extend the Contract until Tuesday, April 14 at 12:00 Noon EDT. We decided that as minutes clicked closer to midnight and we were making some progress on some of our demands.

We made progress on renewing very good funding for the Alliance which is crucial for preparing our members for future jobs, certifications, improving skills for jobs inside and outside the company. We made progress in improving the termination pay schedules for Article 43 and 45. We got a small improvement in the bi-lingual differential. We fixed an injustice in Article 15 for people who transfer in yet get lower pay than some new hires. They continued to reject other items that are important to us that we continue to work on in the Articles.

 

However the BIG TOPICS – health care costs for actives and retirees, pensions, short term disability, paid illness absence and wages are still far from being resolved. As of late yesterday afternoon, the Company had still not presented a wage proposal. The Union decided to present ours first. We proposed a fair improvement in wages at all steps, a Cost of Living increase in the third year and a $15 minimum start rate for AT&T. We were amazed to see that some of the start rates in our wage tables are below the completely inadequate $7.25 minimum wage and though the company complies with the law but bypassing the first step when they hire in those titles, it is a disgrace that a company like AT&T has wage rate lower than a living wage. $15 an hour has been a rallying cry around the country and AT&T, which claims to be a “good corporate citizen” still pays some of its employees so little. For the rest of us, we also have not had raises over the last few Contracts that keep up with the increases and productivity and, as health care cost keep rising, we all need also need a substantial increase.

 

The bargaining team is frustrated and angry as we go back to the table Sunday morning. We will keep fighting for what we all deserve. So should you. Keep up the pressure and keep preparing for a strike with the new deadline on Tuesday at noon.

 

Your (extremely tired) bargaining team.

 

Your bargaining Team,

Bill Bates
Mary Ellen Mazzeo

Laura Unger
LaNell Piercy

Lois Grimes-Patow
Roy Hegenbart

Martha Flagge
Cindy Neumeyer
 

Conract Extended

 

Contract Extended

After bargaining all day and evening we have made some movement on a few items but are still awaiting proposals on some of our key issues. The Contract has been extended until Tuesday, April 14th, at 12:00 NOON, EDT.
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #26

Legacy T Bargaining Report #26

April 10, 2015

Here we are, one day from expiration, and not only did the Company NOT give us a wage proposal but they had the nerve to give us a terrible proposal on job security and then tie that to US accepting their ridiculous absence proposal - a reduction for everyone of paid days, a maximum of five (5) sick days for anyone and NO PAID sick days for new workers.

Their JOG proposal not only limited JOG to people hired before 2005 (which takes it away from all of those hired until 2012, which is in our current agreement) but it also says if someone doesn’t qualify for a job they will be considered “declining” the position. So, they can virtually offer nothing by constantly offering jobs they know people cannot qualify for. To make matters worse they can completely cancel JOG if there are “severe economic or business conditions” (as determined by them) or a cessation of a line of business and other things.

Their “employment security” proposal was just as bad. They completely eliminated the watermark and the only protection they left in was that they would not involuntarily lay off more than 800. They also removed the watermark from Article 43. Without a watermark, if they layoff 800, continue VTP offerings (which are consider voluntary) and JOG people to other AT&T Companies, they can virtually eliminate Legacy T.

Needless to say, the team was furious. To bring this proposal to the table at this point in bargaining is an outrage. Bill pointed to the $25 million dollar fine AT&T has to pay for the foreign workers selling confidential information, the $40 million they had to pay because their lawyers messed up a court date, the 33% pay increase the Company gave John Stankey this year and the $133 million they spent to buy out their managers on March 31st . This Company can clearly afford to give us job security and give us fair wages and benefits yet with a day of bargaining left they have NOT put ONE POSITIVE proposal on the table for our members. With no other proposals forthcoming, OUR team left the bargaining table.

We are positive about one thing: we will not take the garbage they have offered. We will fight every day and strike if we must! They can put that in the bank!

Get ready!

Your - extremely pissed off - Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #25

Legacy T Bargaining Report #25

April 9, 2015

The teams met yesterday, both at the full table and in subcommittees, on health care and monitoring. Several Articles that are not being changed were TA’d. After our rejection of their proposal the Company did not pursue their demand to change the mileage from 35 to 50 in Article 16 for transfers and Article 24 for relocation allowance. Aside from that no important issues have been settled.

Meanwhile, there is news of another fine for AT&T. This time it is for $25 million for “failing to prevent a string of data breaches affecting 280,000 of its customers, whose confidential data was used to facilitate the trafficking of stolen mobile phones. Workers at AT&T call centers in Mexico, Columbia and the Philippines accessed the private information of the US-based customers, including their social security numbers, and passed it on to third parties. Investigators believe it was then used to unlock stolen mobile phones so they could be resold.”

For years the CWA has warned AT&T of this danger as we fought to bring that work back to the United States. As we push for JOB SECURITY for our members we keep reminding them that there would be plenty of work for every one of our members, and more, if they would just bring all this work back. So far they have been deaf to that demand.

That $25 million and the $40 million they had to pay last month, because their lawyers missed a court date, would go a long way to help improve health care and pensions for both our active members and our Retirees.

Keep up the pressure. Remember to take home your personal items from your work locations when you leave today. The clock is ticking.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #24

Legacy T Bargaining Report #24

April 7-8, 2015

AT&T and your CWA Bargaining Team continue to meet in subcommittee on benefits and other issues.

THE CLOCK IS TICKING! (See attached flyer)

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #23

Legacy T Bargaining Report #23

April 6, 2015

There is not a lot to report today. The Bargaining Team spent the whole day together planning our proposals and responses to Company proposals. While we have TAed many parts of the Contract that are not changing, we are still far away on many issues.

Wages have not been discussed yet but that is generally one of the final issues at the table. We have a mandate from the AT&T Bargaining Council that our members MUST end up with more in their pockets at the end of this bargaining than they did at the beginning and that is what we plan to do. It is time for us to get our fair share.

The clock is ticking toward expiration. Turn up the heat.

Your bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report 22

Legacy T Bargaining Report 22 April 3-4, 2015

 

Most of our discussions with the Company were spent arguing over benefits. The Company wants us to pay the same share of the healthcare costs as managers do (which is higher than us). WE argue that most managers make a lot more than the bargaining unit people do. We are fighting for fairness and we know, looking at the percentage of salaries spent on benefits, we are already paying a bigger percentage than they are.

With less than a week to go before expiration, it is time for AT&T to take a hard look at what they are proposing and make some real movement toward fairness. The pension freeze, the 401K for new hires, the cut in disability weeks, the decrease in paid sick days… all of those are still on the table.

This is the time to really turn up the heat. MOBILIZE. MOBILIZE. MOBILIZE.

Your bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

Laura Unger

LaNell Piercy

Lois Grimes-Patow

Roy Hegenbart

Martha Flagge

Cindy Neumeyer

 

Legacy T Bargaining Report 21

Legacy T Bargaining Report 21

April 2, 2015

Today in bargaining we reviewed and TA’ed many letters from the back of the contract that we are either renewing with no changes or eliminating because they refer to things that were completed during the last few years and don’t need to be continued. Subcommittees continued to meet.

We will be meeting tomorrow and over the weekend but since our Clerical staff is off we will not be posting another bargaining report until Monday.

In the meantime, those working tomorrow and this weekend, keep the pressure on the Company.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #20

Legacy T Bargaining Report #20

April 1, 2015

 

As we count down to April 11th, we still have not received responses on some key issues. The Company has not responded to us since we rejected their elimination of JOG. They have not responded to any of our proposals on the watermark and have not given us any new commitments on training for Workforce 2020.

Meanwhile, while Pensions, Disability, Medical Care and monitoring are still being discussed in subcommittees, no real progress is being made there either. The Union has rejected their absence proposal and the Company’s own data proves that while absence is a problem for some people, the overwhelming majority do not abuse their paid illness time.

So, here we are, moving into another weekend. Despite the holidays, the bargaining teams are all staying in town and will be bargaining.

Every Local should be ratcheting up its Mobilization activities this week. Every manager in every office should know how you feel about the Company’s actions at the table.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neymeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #19

Legacy T Bargaining Report #19 / STRIKE VOTE Results

March 31, 2015

 

The votes were counted last night for the Legacy T Strike Vote and a large majority voted YES. Now we need to show the Company that we are serious about that. Locals should be preparing picket assignments and improving Local communication (phone trees, text messaging, etc.) Members should check their desks or trucks for personal items they might need to take home next Friday. Personal “crib sheets” should not be left for Managers or Scabs to use.

At the table the Company again refused to discuss a pension increase for current Retirees. They refuse to even discuss it across the table, leaning on the fact that it is a “permissive subject” of bargaining. We will continue to raise it. We also presented a proposal to improve the payout for the Success Share Plan (SSP).

The remainder of the day was spent in subcommittee discussions on the Medical Benefits.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #18

Mar 30, 2015

Legacy T Bargaining Report #18
 

Over the weekend the Company rejected our proposal for a pension increase and made no modification to their original proposal to freeze our pensions and push all new hires into 401Ks. They have a lot of nerve.

The Company financial report attached to the Proxy statement for the upcoming shareholders meeting shows: Stephenson Pension Benefit Plan - Nonbargained Program: $1,481,965 / Pension Benefit Make Up: $6,861 / SRIP: $2,552,134 / SERP: $44,279,447
 

Stephens Pension Benefit Plan - Nonbargained Program: $1,145,761 / Pension Benefit Make Up: $52,609 / SRIP: $338,018 / SERP: $11,381,495
de la Vega Pension Benefit Plan - Mobility Program: $157,712 / BellSouth SERP: $15,414,455 / SERP: $7,018,064
 

Stankey Pension Benefit Plan - Nonbargained Program: $1,277,988 / SRIP: $408,856 / SERP: $22,319,452
 

But they want to attack OUR pensions and “have no interest or desire” to talk about our current Retirees. They don’t have to worry about how they will pay for their health care! It’s a disgrace!
 

They made a proposal to give us access to their management only wellness plan but are still looking toward massive cost shifting.
 

Today they rejected one of our very modest proposals, to make sure they have to discuss potential jobs in AT&T Digital Life and DirecTV (should that acquisition go through).

The majority of the day was taken up in sub-committee discussions on absence, health care and customer care issues.
 

Check out our advice on how to vote on the Shareholder Meeting Proposals. We will be counting the strike vote tomorrow afternoon.
 

Your bargaining Team,
 

Bill Bates    Mary Ellen Mazzeo
Laura Unger    LaNell Piercy
Lois Grimes-Patow    Roy Hegenbart
Isa Shabazz    Cindy Neumeyer
Martha Flagge
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report # 17

Legacy T Bargaining Report # 17 ~ March 27,2015

Today the Union proposed an additional pension improvement to expand service pension eligibility (eligibility for retiree benefits) to those with 15 years of service who are 60 years old.

 

In another proposal aimed at preparing us for 2020, we proposed that the training for that future work, be classroom based, formal training. We feel that complex training is better delivered that way. We also raised that too much of the 40 hour training commitment is spent on company compliance training (like the Code of Conduct). The language’s original intent was work related/skill based training. The Company’s proposal to have complete control of changes in the TAP program was rejected, while we proposed only giving the company the right to add programs.

We also agreed to a TA on several ATS related proposals that clarified some improvements . A “TA” is a “tentative agreement.” That means both sides agree to it, but this is subject to reaching an agreement on the whole contract and ratified by the membership. We reached a similar TA on Article 25 – Termination Pay, which will not be changed in the new Contract. (We have outstanding demands on improving the termination pay language in Article 43 and 45.)

Finally we received a presentation of a fairly comprehensive wellness program that is currently only offered to AT&T management. We of course raised the point – if it’s such a great program and it is so important to keep managers fit and healthy (including overseas managers) why in the world would they not offer it to us? They want us to pay more for health care but not have access to programs like this? You can come up with your own answer to that one.

The team will be bargaining tomorrow. Step up the fight.

Your bargaining team,

Bill Bates
Mary Ellen Mazzeo
Laura Unger
LaNell Piercy
Lois Grimes-Patow
Roy Hegenbart
Cindy Neumeyer
Martha Flagge
 

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #16

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #16 ~ March 26, 2015



Today the Union again rejected the company’s plan to freeze our pensions and force new hires to rely solely on a 401K, with no additional pension plan. Mary Ellen Mazzeo showed example after example of how inadequate AT&T’s Pension proposals are. Our demand was for pension increases for people under all three plans. She pointed out that any improvement we made by adding to the Cash Balance in the last round would be completely wiped out with the company’s current proposal.

We also demanded a significant pension increase for our current retirees. A portion of them received an increase in 2007 but the majority has received no increase for many, many years, while the cost of living and health care costs keep eating up a bigger and bigger portion of their pensions.

The Union put another health care proposal on the table today as we continue to pressure the company to talk about meaningful wellness programs before we will discuss any cost shifting to our members.

We also proposed wage increases for our L-titles which have traditionally been the lowest paid title in our unit. The current start rate for one of the L-titles is actually lower than the federally required $7.25 minimum wage.

Finally, the company again returned with a proposal to change our monitoring language, since we rejected their last proposal. They continue to want to discard every protection we have fought so hard for over the years. Their proposal eliminates side-by-side monitoring and would allow “process monitoring,” which is done remotely and recorded 24 hours a day, to be used for discipline. Even with all the protections in our current language, our members are harassed by bad management. We will not allow them to gut this language.

We want to thank the Locals who joined our conference call and encourage all of you to step up mobilization efforts.

Your bargaining team,


Bill Bates
Mary Ellen Mazzeo
Laura Unger
LaNell Piercy
Lois Grimes-Patow
Roy Hegenbart
Cindy Neumeyer
Martha Flagge

 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #15

Legacy T Bargaining Report #15

March 25, 2015

 

In addition to a sub-committee to discuss health care, our time at the table was again spent mainly on job security. We proposed a National Committee, pending the participation of the other AT&T units, to discuss training for “Workforce 2020.”

CWA Bargainer Roy Hegenbart presented our demand to continue the 800 person “watermark” for Article 43. He laid out in great detail the increased workload for outside plant generated by projects such as the Google build out. We also expressed concern about some of our jobs moving to the techs in the regional companies. In general we have been very successful getting rid of outside contractors in Article 43 with the number going from over 300 to under 10 since Article 43 was bargained - but that does not change the need to have a clear watermark that must be maintained.

Please RAMP UP your mobilization. We need to see that every Local is active in support of your Bargaining Team.

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #14

Legacy T Bargaining Report #14

March 24, 2015

 

For over a year, Randall Stephenson has been talking about his vision of “2020” - AT&T’s network becoming IP based, allowing AT&T to offer all kinds of new services. For us there are two different visions of that year: one is a Company with a handful of bargaining unit members left, while work is done by Contractors, Managers and off shore employees. The other is what we are fighting for - a good size Union workforce trained for the new jobs and the new technology and new ways to work with customers.

Today was our day at the table to present our employment security proposals. While they proposed eliminating JOG, we proposed expanding it so that those hired after 2012 are included. We proposed no layoffs for the duration of the Contract. When asked where the jobs would come from we told them there are enough jobs still subcontracted at home and abroad to keep every member. We also proposed maintaining the “watermark” of employment we have in our contract. We expanded language under our “Subcontracting/Bargaining Unit Work” subcommittee to discuss new acquisitions, like AT&T Digital Life and DirecTV (if that merger goes through). We had other discussions at the table about DirecTV jobs and who will be doing that work if it becomes part of AT&T. Finally we proposed strengthening the language in the “Employment Security” letter to cover more members and tighten up some of the provisions (like the NE language).

We are facing huge challenges this bargaining, particularly on Pensions and Active and Retiree Health Insurance, but the bottom line is - we need to keep our jobs.

Vote YES on the strike vote and prepare for one. Locals should be working on picket duty assignments and arrangements for the Defense Fund. Meanwhile, every Local should be mobilizing every day to show the Company we are serious about fighting for what we need.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #13

Legacy T Bargaining Report #13

March 23, 2015

 

Today the Company responded to our Bargaining Proposal for Health Care. Our proposal concentrated on wellness programs that would lower health care costs, instead of shifting it to our members. Their proposal was not responsive. Current employees and 2009 new hires would have access to the AT&T Medical Plan with all the increases we told you about in previous reports. They would also have the choice of a “Management Plan.” Those hired after 2012 would only have access to the “Management Plan.” That plan has two options - one has slightly lower premiums and one has slightly higher. The difference is that those plans don’t pay out a penny in for either drugs or medical treatment (except preventative) until the deductible is fully met. So, a family could not even fill a prescription until they pay the $2,600 deductible. The slightly lower priced plan also has an $8,250 Out of Pocket Max for a family. So why did they even bother making this proposal? They say they were responding to our wellness proposal, though the deal is IF you choose the “Management Plan” you have access to some of the “Management” wellness programs under something called “Health Matters.” However, if you take our Traditional Plan, even with all their increases in cost, you don’t have access to those programs. The obvious question we had to ask the Company was, “so you don’t give a d—m about the wellness of employees unless they are willing to take the plan you want us to take”, which they can adjust yearly without bargaining with us. Those picking the old plan don’t have access to it. NO WAY.

They passed the same Pension Proposal across the table they did before - freezing everyone’s Pensions and no Pension - only a 401K - for new hires. “Freezing” does not just mean no increase. If you work 5 more years, those years don’t count toward additional money. We all know we need a pension increase, especially with the increase in the cost of Retiree medical.

Their last insult was to pass language to change double time for overtime over 8 hours to double time only after 9 hours. LaNell Piercy, one of our bargainers who represents some of our lower paid members, said “So you want to raise the amount our members pay for health care and then steal back an hour of our double time?” What she said after that is not printable.

Tomorrow is our day. We will be presenting out proposals on employment security and access to new jobs.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #12

Mar 20, 2015

Legacy T Bargaining Report #12(*)
The Bargaining Team met with the Company in subcommittee and among themselves to work on Union proposals. There is nothing new to report.

Click here to view photos sent in from various Locals showing their mobilization activities, including Health Care Action Day.

The strike vote count is due in this office March 31, 2015. Make sure you vote. We need a strong YES vote to show the Company they cannot continue shifting health care costs to us, freeze our pensions, take away our JOG language, cut The Alliance, cut our disability, reduce paid sick time…VOTE YES!
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #11

Legacy T Bargaining Report #11

March 19, 2015

Today the Union firmly rejected the Company proposal to freeze all of our pensions and give new hires 401K plans only - no defined pension plan at all.

As we said in our opening statement:

“We believe that the workers who built this Company deserve to be secure in their retirement. That means fair pensions they can absolutely count on and are not subject to the whims of the market.”

We told them we will not accept the Company’s proposals to freeze any of our pension plans. All of our members need to keep growing their pensions to keep up with the rising cost of living and, even more so, with the rising cost of health benefits. Our members under the two CBA plans need to improve their plans even more since their payout is about 50% less than the few of us left with the old banded pension plan.

We also believe AT&T’s new hires also deserve a defined pension benefit, not just a 401K - that is not a guaranteed retirement benefit. During the 2008 recession many members’ 401K Plans lost half their value. The Company said in their opening statement that Wells Fargo did a study saying young people prefer 401K plans. Of course Wells Fargo would say that - they make millions managing peoples’ 401K plans. That’s like using a study from tobacco giant Phillip Morris to prove that cigarettes are good for your health. We presented studies that show the opposite. People are much more likely to stay at a company that has a defined pension plan.

At every turn the Company wants to make new hires third class citizens - no pensions, no retiree health and higher benefit costs. This not only hurts them but hurts the Union because those members will have cause to wonder if we are fighting as hard for them. We will fight for them and hopefully we will bargain a Contract that benefits every current and future member and retiree.

You should be hearing from your Local soon about your strike vote. We need a strong yes vote.

Your bargaining team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #10?

Legacy T Bargaining Report #10

March 18, 2015

Despite all of the lip service the Company has given us about the importance of training and the need to get everyone ready for the technological changes required for 2020, the Company’s proposal for Alliance funding today points in the opposite direction. Their proposal would cut the funding by over 50%.

The Alliance has been one of the most successful programs we’ve ever created. Aside from helping people retrain when they are surplus, the Alliance runs the Certification Program under Article 43 and has been the main vehicle for training that upgrades skills people can use on and off the job. Not only do our members use it and applaud it, but many Company business unit leaders also praise it constantly.

With the Company’s training plans for us being so vague, more and more Company sponsored training is either non-existent or web based, The Alliance is needed more than ever. This proposed cut digs deep into the heart of our ability to be part of the future of AT&T.

They also rejected the Union’s demand to reinstate the AT&T scholarships that helped many of our children pay for college. Again, at a time when student debt is the highest in history, AT&T says it is good enough to send us to other sources for scholarship help.

They did propose the continuation of TAP (Tuition Assistance Plan) but, despite saying across the table they want to be able to add to the programs they will pay for, the language they passed gives them the right to both add and subtract. Based on past experience we cannot trust that change.

They did put into writing some of the improvements coming in ATS and extended both Career Support Coordinator Positions.

The Union proposed improvements in termination pay for Article 43 and 45, which is currently considerably less than the Termination Pay in Article 25.

Thursday is Health Care Action Day. We hope you are all finding ways to show the company that messing with our benefits is a SICK IDEA.

Your bargaining team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #9

Legacy T Bargaining Report #9

March 17, 2015

Today, the Union proposed increasing the bi-lingual differential. This affects several articles and is important to people in some of our call centers that must work in two languages.

We also rejected three of the Company’s proposals:

· Their new “no strike clause” - Article 9 is already clear that the grievance and arbitration and mediation “provide the mutually agreed upon and exclusive forums for resolution and settlement of employee dispute during the term of the contract.” There is absolutely no need to add “no strike” language to the Contract except that the Company wants to say they have one. REJECTED.

· Their proposal to increase the temporary assignment language, transfer language and relocation language in Article 24 and 16 from 35 miles to 50 miles - If anything, commutes over 35 miles have gotten worse, not better. This proposal also increases the Company’s ability to force transfer our members outside the GCA without having to offer Article 24 if there are no volunteers. REJECTED

· Their proposal to completely change our Monitoring letter - We told them the current language not only protects our members but already gives the Company the latitude to improve service. If Managers would start doing their jobs and coach people in meaningful ways instead of using coaching as a club, the customers would be better served. We could never accept a proposal that explicitly gives the company the right to discipline. REJECTED.

We’re sure the Company will bring some of these back to the table in a second pass so do not assume they are gone forever.

Your Locals were sent information on conducting a strike vote over the next two weeks. As you know, a strong strike vote is crucial to your bargaining team. We need the power to beat back the attacks on our pensions, benefits, absence and disability language and other changes. Make sure you give us a strong YES vote.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, below is a quote from Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. Born in County Cork Ireland in 1837 she began working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers Union. In 1902 she was called "the most dangerous woman in America" for her success in organizing mine workers and their families against the mine owners. In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children's March from Philadelphia to the home of then President Theodore Roosevelt in New York.

 

“The first thing is to raise hell,” says I. “That’s always the first thing to do when you’re faced with an injustice and you feel powerless.”

Your bargaining team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #8

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #8 ~ March 16, 2015

Today at the table the company again refused to provide the Union with any of the data we requested concerning retiree medical benefits. We have said over and over again that this is an issue that must be discussed at this bargaining. The Company again and again has stated that bargaining for retirees is a “permissive subject” and they “have no interest or desire” to bargain with us over benefits for current retirees.

AT&T retirees all over the country have signed thousands of petitions and held rallies at AT&T Headquarters in Dallas and in other cities demanding that AT&T fulfill the promise it made to them years ago to provide fair and affordable medical benefits. Though the law does not require AT&T to bargain over current retirees there is nothing preventing them from doing so. We will continue to push the issue every day.

The company has not yet responded to our counter-proposal on active health benefits. Theirs shifts cost to us. Ours says the way to save is through wellness programs and other approaches that use our benefits more effectively and efficiently. Thursday is Health Care Action Day and every local should be planning some activity around it.

Your bargaining team,

Bill Bates
Mary Ellen Mazzeo
Laura Unger
LaNell Piercy
Lois Grimes-Patow
Roy Hegenbart
Isa Shabazz
Cindy Neumeyer
Martha Flagge
 

Legacy T Bargaining Report #7

Legacy T Bargaining Report #7 ~ March 13, 2015
 

Today the Company reached an all-time low. While the Union is trying to bargain in good faith to protect our members and has clearly stated that one of our chief concerns is protecting jobs, with no advanced notice, the company dumped surplus notices on us this morning – 86 in Legacy T (including the Local President of Local 1058) and 153 –three full office closings-- under the National Internet Contract.
 

At the table Bill Bates said this showed total disrespect to the Union and “the Company has put this round of bargaining in jeopardy.” Not only did the Company bargainers not tell us yesterday when we met, but last night Managers started telling the members HOURS BEFORE the T&T office was notified and could reach the Local Presidents. While the Company apologized for the managers’ jumping the gun on the announcement we made it clear that wasn’t close to good enough. They never should have declared a surplus in the middle of bargaining in the first place. No surplus was declared in District Four where the Midwest bargaining is taking place. That looks to us like we are being “singled out” at exactly the time that we are fighting for every job in Legacy T.
 

We know there is work we can do that has been outsourced and offshored. Before we left the table Bill repeated, “We see nothing from you that would bring work into this bargaining unit. It is sad and very disappointing.” Over and over he made our outrage clear.
 

EVERY member should be sad and disappointed at the Company’s action, but you should also be outraged and energized. Just like we did at the table, let every Manager know just how pissed off you are.
 

Your bargaining team,
 

Bill Bates
Mary Ellen Mazze
Laura Unger
LaNell Piercy
Lois Grimes-Patow
Roy Hegenbart
Isa Shabazz
Cindy Neumeyer
Martha Flagge

Legacy T Bargaining Report #6

Legacy T Bargaining Report #6 March 12, 2015
 

Another day at the table and another day of retrogressive demands from the Company. They started out by presenting a “no strike clause” for our Contract. We already have language that says disputes must be handled through grievance and arbitration. The company hasn’t had a problem with a strike during the course of the agreement in over 30 years. This is just another way they want to exert control even if it’s not necessary.
 

Talking about exerting control – the worst proposal they passed today would completely gut our monitoring language. It would allow monitoring at any time without our members being told they are being monitored and it takes away all of protections against termination and other discipline. The Legacy T Contract has the best monitoring language in our industry and our language is even used by other Unions as a model for their demands on this issue. Bill Bates said “We will not turn back the clock. We will not go back in time.”
 

Every person on our team spoke up against this proposal. Examples were given, from other Contracts that do not have our language, about mass discipline (resulting in mass grievances) over ridiculous interpretations of “customer abuse.” We stressed that the history in our call centers is of managers already putting huge pressure on our members even with the protections we have. As we said in our opening statement, our members are serious about serving our customers but stripping them of needed protections will not serve anyone well.
 

The Company’s final proposal was to change Article 16 travel allowances from 35 miles to 50 miles (with no increase in the dollar amount); only allow an interim trip home if the temporary work location is more than 50 miles and provide moving expenses only if a new permanent location is more than 50 miles from the old reporting location. Due to that change, relocation expenses under Article 24.5 also would change from 35 miles to 50 miles. Those changes would also impact the company’s right to force transfer a person 50 miles without having to declare a surplus if there are no volunteers.
 

As bargaining low moves into the final month before our April 11th expiration day, mobilization should be stepping up in every Local. Your bargaining team needs you to show the Company what you think of their proposals.
 

Bill Bates Mary

Ellen Mazzeo
 

Laura Unger

LaNell Piercy
 

Lois Grimes-Patow

Roy Hegenbart
 

Isa Shabazz

Cindy Neumeyer
 

Martha Flagge

Legacy T Bargaining Report #5

Legacy T Bargaining Report #5

March 11, 2015

Today in Bargaining the Union rejected the Company’s proposal on Medical Benefits. We said, “The Company has single-mindedly focused on increasing employee cost share in the last three rounds of bargaining. This proposal is just more of the same.” Our CWA proposal focused on controlling the cost of health care with a comprehensive list that promotes wellness and other policies that encourage use of the most effective and efficient drugs and medical care.
We also presented a demand to include joint Union/Management oversight of the National Transfer Plan to address some of the problems that have arisen in the use of that plan.
From the Company side we received more attempts to weaken our Contract. The Company proposed eliminating the “Job Security” letter which provides for JOG (Job Offer Guarantee). Any attack on our job security language is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish at this table. They also proposed eliminating one of the forums that gives the Union access to top Management to discuss protecting our work.
We did reach a tentative agreement on one issue: strengthening Article 8, the Non-Discrimination Article.
Keep the pressure on.
Your bargaining team,
Bill Bates
Laura Unger
Lois Grimes-Patow
Isa Shabazz
Martha Flagge
Mary Ellen Mazzeo
LaNell Piercy
Roy Hegenbart
Cindy Neumeyer
 

AT&T Bargaining Report #4

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #4

March 10, 2015

Today the Company turned their attention (evil eye) to paid time for personal illness.

They are proposing NO PAID PERSONAL ILLNESS TIME for new hires.

For those with less than three years they want to change 5 paid days to 3 (after the second scheduled day not worked);

With three to six years - from 5 paid to 3;

With six to eleven years - from 7 paid to 4;

And everyone over eleven years of service a maximum of 5 paid days (not including disability).

Just to be clear, for those over 25 years of service who now get unlimited paid sick time, the most the company proposal will pay is 5!

This is quite a plan. First the Company wants to make it much more expensive for us to use our health care and then they want to take away pad sick time. That’s a brilliant plan!

Tomorrow we will again be discussing their health care proposal.

Mobilize. Show the company you support your bargaining team as we stand up to these outrageous proposals.

Your bargaining team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

AT&T Bargaining Report #3

Legacy T Bargaining Report #3

March 9, 2015

At the table today your Union Bargaining Team started presenting our proposals. We presented several to expand the Certification Program (which has been so successful for our Network Technical Specialists under Article 43) to titles in several other articles. This is part of our goal to require the Company prepare the workforce for the “2020” technological changes.

We also proposed improving the Pension band for one of our lowest wage titles and moving the CSDG Assembler title into Article 41.

While the company is spending large amounts of money on its “Aspire” program to help young people with their educational goals (and a fortune advertising to the public that they sponsor this program) they have stopped the Academic Awards for the children of their employees. Of course we support the good work “Aspire” does in our communities but that does not take the Company off the hook to stop providing those opportunities for their own employees’ families. We demand they reinstate the Academic Awards Program.

Finally, we are trying to fix the language in Article 15 so when someone get hired into a department at a higher rate than someone who has been there over a year, the senior person also gets the higher rate.

The team is meeting in subcommittees with the Company and we are working on responding to the Company’s outrageous benefits proposals. We know you are angry and upset about those attacks on our benefits. Turn your anger into action - join the mobilization efforts.

 

Your bargaining team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer
 

AT&T Bargaining Report 2

Legacy T Bargaining Report #2
March 5, 2015
 

Today the Company presented its proposals on Medical Care, Pensions and other benefits. Based on what they said in their opening statement it was not a surprise that their proposals would be awful but they surpassed our expectations.
We cannot go into every detail here (their proposals were over 20 pages long) but here are the highlights (lowlights?):
MEDICAL-- There are very different benefit provisions for current employees (hired before 2009), 2009 hires, 2012 hires and those hired in 2015. Since the current employees and 2009 hires are treated better than the others let’s take a look at what they will pay. You can assume the others are worse.
· Over the three years of the agreement:
* Individual's premiums will go from $70 to $94
* Individual + spouse from $120 to $254
* Individual + children $128 to $155
* Family (spouse + children) $213 to $258
(in 2015 individuals paid $79 and families paid $163)
• Deductibles:
* Individuals will go from $500 now to $1300 in 2016
* Families will go from $1000 to $2600 in 2016.
* Co pays increase from 10% to 20%.
* The cost of prescription drugs has been increased.
* The out of pocket maximums for an individual will increase from $2000 to $5200 and for a family from $4000 to $10,400.
* There will be a surcharge of $100 a month if your spouse has access to Medical Benefits through their own employer, even if their employer does not contribute anything to the cost of the benefit.
* There will be no new money put into HRAs.
PENSIONS –
* They are looking to freeze the current pension plans and new hires will only get 401Ks.
DISABILITY –
* Will be capped at 26 weeks (with a maximum of 90% of pay) and then an employee will have to go on Long Term Disability (if they qualify).
As we said, we cannot go into every detail here but you get AT&T’s message. AT&T MUST ALSO GET OUR MESSAGE – THIS COMPANY CAN AFFORD TO PROVIDE GOOD BENEFITS FOR ALL OF ITS EMPLOYEES. THESE INCREASES ARE TOTALLY UNNECESSARY.
We must let them know in every workplace that we will not agree to a contract with these attacks on our benefits.
Your bargaining team,
Bill Bates
Laura Unger
Lois Grimes-Patow
Isa Shabazz
Martha Flagge
Mary Ellen Mazzeo
LaNell Piercy
Roy Hegenbart

 

Legacy T Bargaining report 1

Legacy T Bargaining Report #1
March 4, 2015
 

Today was our first day of bargaining for our Legacy T Contract. The Company’s bargaining Chair, Lori Smith, read their opening statement. After they explained what they viewed as the bargaining environment – a still “healing” labor market, competition from Google, Walmart, Dish, Comcast, Amazon, etc., regulation (including the new FCC rules) and the Affordable Care Act, and higher customer expectations they finally made clear what their key issues are:
· They think our wages are “significantly” above market rate;
· They say our members pay 40% less for medical care than the national average and we, in Legacy, pay less than the rest of AT&T. They say we must pay our “fair share”;
· They say our pensions are too high and new hires actually don’t want the same pensions as we all get but want 401Ks instead;
· They say to serve their customers we must give them more flexible schedules and work rules;
· They say they must again “improve” our absences.
We also presented an opening statement - our view is very different. We say we understand the challenges AT&T is facing but we view the situation quite differently. We said, “While we understand those changes (in our industry), we as a Union have not changed our values and we believe AT&T can compete in the current environment without the Union having to push those values aside.” Laura Unger, Bargaining Chair, said:
· We believe AT&T’s employees deserve wages that keep up with the increased productivity of the workforce;
· We believe that the workers who built this company deserve to be secure in their retirement, with good pensions and retiree medical care that doesn’t take a big chunk out of their pension checks;
· We believe in jobs and that we can be trained for the jobs of the future. We want that training and we want access to those jobs. We are concerned with the AT&T’s support of TPP which will lead to even more off-shoring of US jobs;
· We believe that AT&T is profitable enough that it does not need its employees to pay more for medical benefits;
· We believe in respect on the job and an end to excessive surveillance, monitoring, quotas and efficiency measures.
The lines have clearly been drawn. Vice President Bill Bates made it known to the Company that we have a clear expiration date - April 11th, 2015 - and a well-funded strike fund.
We know we all have a tough fight in front of us and you should be mobilizing every day in support of your bargaining  team.
Bill Bates
Laura Unger
Lois Grimes-Patow
Isa Shabazz
Martha Flagge
Mary Ellen Mazzeo
LaNell Piercy
Roy Hegenbart
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