CWA Local 7800

May 2012

It amazes me that it is May already. The last 4 months have been so busy but we have accomplished a lot from the Local perspective. We have visited most of the work sites within CenturyLink and have some more visits scheduled for next week. MV Transportation will be on the 9th and 10th. At CenturyLink it was pretty interesting that management, in some areas called employees prior to our visits to tell the employees what we could and couldn’t do. At one garage management tried to say we could not be in parking lot and had to go to the street. We argued the issue and were allowed to stay. In Bell Plaza the company tried to put us in a tiny room and we let them know it was not going to work and suggested a larger room and they Ok’d that. In Bellingham, management made the contractors get all their vehicles out of the garage before 7am, so apparently we would not see them. The members are stepping up to be involved in bargaining and many folks have given us their emails and cell numbers to receive bargaining updates. They all indicated that they are looking forward to the updates coming this way as opposed to calling in on the hotline. We are hopeful it will work and since we are watching how it is working with Verizon and AT&T, I have been pretty impressed, we get a lot of updates regarding the ongoing bargaining for those members.

Our committees are growing and we have added numerous members to many of them, so we are reaching our goals. We will be having meetings within the next couple months to start planning for mobilizations and Legislative activities for the upcoming elections…so stay tuned on that.

For those who have Pathways (CenturyLink) we have scheduled another class beginning May 15th and have posted the information on the Website. Please share with your coworkers.

AT&T is still in bargaining and they are still far apart. Locally we have about a dozen members and they are watching anxiously to see what happens. Last month I wrote quite a bit about it and put some information in the newsletter so I will just again mention we are watching and waiting. But one point to reiterate is that AT&T made close to 20 Billion in profits and they want to pass additional costs and weaken the benefits of their employees, who did the work that earned the corporation that money. It really is disgusting and we really need to let AT&T know we think exactly that.

On April 16th we had a very successful rally against T-Mobile in Bellevue. We had employees from T-Mobile from out of state and we delivered petitions with over 100,000 signatures. That is a lot of signatures folks! It was to protest the elimination of 3,300 jobs. The company had what appeared to be a couple dozen police on campus, even on the roof tops. I don’t know what they thought we were going to do.

What I did find very interesting was the amount of cars that honked when they went by. I’ve been to lots of rallies and in many more progressive cities then Bellevue (at least I thought) but the amount of cars that were honking was almost constant. I was rather impressed so clearly our message to keep jobs in the USA, even the conservative cities, will agree with that message.

I also participated with the 99% spring training. I will have to say the training was very interesting and they had some videos in the beginning that talked a lot about the history of our country and the importance of the labor movement and the role they played during the civil rights movements. It was well done and I have links to see those again for anyone interested.

Which leads me to CenturyLink. They are having their shareholders meeting later this month and the union thought it would be good to have some of us there to speak and vote at the shareholders meeting. I was selected to go and am looking forward to it. I hope to speak to retiree healthcare and employment levels in the Seattle area. It is allowed for stockholders to allow a proxy for someone else to vote and I would be honored if some of our members allowed me to carry their votes to the meeting. If you would like to give me your votes please contact me ASAP so we can make those arrangements. The meeting will occur on the 23rd of this month. Same old story here, a company who is profiting in the billions but continues to seek cuts on the backs of employees and continues to look at ways to outsource work. Yesterday there was a meeting where they are moving 11 employees from the construction line crew over to different crews doing different functions so they can outsource 100% of the line work. The reason they tell me, is it costs too much to maintain the trucks that are needed for the line work. Well just a thought but maybe they shouldn’t of outsourced that work either… just saying. That being said we are looking at options to see what can be done.

In BMG/EMG… the SDC’s who are going to retire will leave in just a matter of days and it’s sad to see them go, but luckily they were able to make the decision to go and no one was forced. The company is training people for new responsibilities for those that are staying and they brought some legacy clink work into the center. It is possible that some other work may come but it’s too early to tell at this point, so at least that is a good sign.
At MV Transportation we have had a lot of terminations based on attendance recently. Their policy is a point system and if you accrue 10 points you can be terminated. This policy has been in effect for years and until recently I have never seen anyone terminated under the policy Now there are at least half a dozen. I know the company is very liberal in granting unpaid time if prescheduled and they also could have qualified for FMLA if they are full time. I would encourage folks to watch the attendance points and dispute any you think may have been given unfairly. It seems tardies while waiting for dispatch is common. But if you don’t dispute it at the time it’s kind of hard to bring it up a few months later. I would also encourage a person if possible, that any of the disputes they bring up be done by email or written form, since it seems many of the managers can’t remember from one day to the next regarding conversations with employees.

I am going to cut this a bit short this month but remember between reports you can always look at our website and Facebook page for updated information.

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