CWA Local 7800

January 2013

Happy New Year!!! I am not sure where to begin this report. I guess we should all be thankful that we survived the end of the world, the holiday season, and it appears the fiscal cliff along with sequester (at least for a few months). Tomorrow Congress reconvenes and hopefully will change the rules in the Senate that will help end gridlock. By the time you read this, we will know if that happened or not. From a legislative view point it seems the Obama administration would like to work on Immigration Reform and some sort of renewed assault weapon legislation this year, so that will be interesting. Neither of these issues is real impactful in regards to Labor issues but certainly immigration would or could, have an impact and a beneficial one for working folks. Gun control, while personally I believe it needs to happen, again not really a labor issue. So I don’t believe we will be involved in that too much, but maybe… I understand of course that many of our members own guns and are very proud and responsible gun owners. I can only say please keep them locked up and safe. Now there are many aspects of gun control that discuss mental health and health care options that are available and I can tell you, as someone who is working with people, that sometimes it is very difficult for folks to get mental health evaluations and ongoing treatment through their medical plans. That is an area that from a labor standpoint that we could take an issue on, is to ensure that a person can get the treatment they need through their insurance and I think those for or against gun control can agree on that.

The City of Seattle has announced a partnership with another company to bring ultra high-speed fiber-to-the-home/fiber-to-the-business broadband network. For a couple years now, in talking with management at CenturyLink, they have brought up on more than one occasion the costs and difficulties in the city of Seattle that they have run into while trying to bring high-speed internet to different parts of the city and upgrading some of its existing infrastructure. The Local has put it out several times to senior local managers that we share the concern, especially when it comes to keeping work for our members. I have asked the company on several occasions to provide me some bullets on the biggest roadblocks they have in the City, so we could have our Legislation Committee set up some meetings with our local officials and have these discussions to try and get some relief for the company in those areas. The company never provided the information and now it looks like the City is looking at alternatives to providing these services. Since this announcement, I have heard from the company on this issue asking if we can partner on ensuring that the playing field is level. Meaning that either the company the city has partnered with has to follow the same rules that CenturyLink has been held too or that the city provide the same relief to CenturyLink that it is providing to their new “partner”. I did tell the company the Local would partner with them, but we would be advocating only in the interests of our represented folks and the work within the City be done by employees and not contractors. While they didn’t necessarily agree to that, they indicated they understood my position. So we will move forward in these discussions and hopefully be able to retain and gain customer share while doing so with a labor represented work force.

Speaking of CenturyLink; we still have the contract to get settled and there really is not much to say on that right now, other then we still have a long ways to go at this moment in time. They will return to the table soon and hopefully after the hiatus the company realizes they will have to acknowledge that we are not simply going to take cuts because they want us too. Hopefully they understand that we value the work and dedication we provide the company and we understand our value. Hopefully they understand the revenue they receive that pays them and the stockholders comes from the work that each and every one of us contributes. We will not allow them to treat us like a burden. That will not happen, so I encourage everyone to be prepared to get involved in mobilizations this year as we plan them. It reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw the other day. “An activist is not someone who yells the river is dirty, an activist is the person who cleans the river.” We all need to be activists. People who get involved and do the work not just point out the problem. I look forward to working with many members this year in an activist’s capacity. For those people not grandfathered in the uniform program, technically on January 1st, you are not in the program until you place an order for 2013; so the outside techs can wear their union shirts to work and on the job outside of the garage. I would encourage the techs to wear their blue shirts on Wednesdays and a red shirt on Thursdays. We will put that out directly to the techs at the garages in the next week or so.

At MV Transportation everyone is anxious to get bargaining underway. I have worked with the Staff -Rep Susie McAllister and we have a tentative schedule of events that we will be sharing at MV this week. We are doing site visits this Thursday and Friday to distribute information to the work group. Again we have folk’s not reporting incidents until they return to the site and that is real problematic. People are terminated when they make a decision to report it when they return. It is imperative that any incident be reported immediately; within minutes of it occurring. It doesn’t matter if there are customers in the vehicle or not. Making a decision to drop the passengers or finishing your route, so customers are not delayed will get the driver fired. Your concern should not be the passengers in those instances. Let MV management deal with the passenger impacts. It is truly the one offense that is most difficult to get folks back on payroll, if they have been terminated.

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