CWA Local 7800

November 2012

I wanted to wait until after the elections before writing this report. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen and how our work on the elections was going to pay off. The efforts all across the country from working people and labor unions have appeared to pay off. The President won with the largest electoral count in over 20 years and won the popular vote by a large number as well. Not only that across the country democrats won large victories even against tough odds. The democrats picked up some Senate and House seats and some Governor’s.

Hopefully that result will send a message to the conservative leadership that folks are tired of the non action, tired of the restricting people’s rights, tired of the corporations trying to buy the elections. The conservatives spent billions trying to win many races and the big ones while they were close the liberals came out ahead.

Clearly there is still plenty of legislation that needs to be done. The call center bill is one item that would benefit working folks. As our CenturyLink members can see the company is still sending jobs overseas and they are still hiring contractors locally. We are grieving instances where the company is choosing to use contractors over represented employees. In the past it has always kind of been as long as folks leave the payroll voluntarily it wasn’t grievable. But there is a significant difference this time. Before the company always said the downsizing was due to lower volumes of work and typically they were not simultaneously contracting. Now the company is downsizing in employees with the intent of contracting and we believe that goes against the intent of the language in the contract. We feel that the company is in violation of Article 1, and the LOA on Contracting of Work.

We cannot sit back and let the company continue to move work off shore or even to local contractors. This is a mobilization issue and we should take advantage of it and mobilize around it. With the bargaining going on a month after the contract expiration and no end in sight in the near future we must continue to work together, I ask everyone to participate in the mobilizations. Shortly we will be doing more mobilizations specific to that issue. This now affects our outside techs, dispatchers, assignment folks, and the list goes on.

Not only is it putting our jobs in jeopardy long-term it is also significantly impacting opportunities for advancement with the company. When I started with the company 15 years ago I liked that the company typically hired on the basis of seniority for internal postings and were willing to train folks. The company hardly ever does strictly internal postings now and almost always posts positions outside and then says they are looking for the most qualified. While at the same time employees use the company provided (bargained for) Pathways benefits to learn additional telecommunications skills relevant to a desired position within the company.

When the company contracts work or hires someone from the outside over a dedicated eager already proven employee then it diminishes our ability for advancement. That is wrong. We need to continue to let the company know “Hey, we are here we are willing.” At the bargaining table obviously this is a huge issue and they will continue to work it we just need to make sure the company knows that the status quo moving forward is not acceptable.

I ask myself this question all the time not just about CenturyLink but other corporations as well, how much is enough? CenturyLink made in profit close to 2 Billion last year and are on target to do better this year. They did that by paying a livable wage and providing healthcare. They are not struggling by any means and their dividends that they pay out are significantly higher than other telecommunications companies. The company needs to remember they made that profit based on the work that you and I do. YOU and I… not them. I will not feel guilty or threatened by reminding them of that at every opportunity and neither should you.

As far as bargaining goes most of our folks are getting the reports and the information being disseminated. That is could our folks are still engaged even though it is dragging out. I think the company is used to doing that with their other smaller groups that they can wear them out. Problem for them is we have been doing this longer and better and we outnumber the execs that plan is not going to be a winning plan for the company but what that does mean for us is we will continue to stay the course. Last month I talked a bit about our geographical challenges for this local but we do have a plan we are working it and I will say it may not be perfect every time just know we are doing the best we can and have a lot of folks who are volunteering their time and resources to get information out as soon as possible and to continue to mobilize. Again A big thanks to all of them!

MV Trans, I apologize we have not been able to get out to the sites on a more regular basis with the CenturyLink Bargaining, Elections, etc… we just have not had the resources to get their often enough but we are again hoping to step that up in the next couple weeks and come early next year will be ramping up to start your bargaining process as well. I will point out that recently we’ve had a few folks terminated for not IMMEDIATELY reporting an incident. When I talk with these folks they tell me they were just going to report it when they got back to office. That is not the policy and not a recommended practice. It can and will get you terminated. I want to remind everyone report it immediately by radio, or phone, but it has to be called in within moments from the time it happened.
I want to again thank everyone for acknowledging and thanking the folks who are doing the mobilizations it helps. I also want to thank everyone for participating in the election process.

Happy Veterans Day, Happy thanksgiving!

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