CWA Local 7800

February 2014

Well the month went by fast- GO HAWKS…. It was kind of nice to see the community rallying around the football team. As you all know our Local is in Belltown and the parade route for the team was right behind the building. I went out for a bit to take a look; it was a pretty amazing site. While watching, it occurred to me it really was only a football team… (Don’t get me wrong happy to honor and celebrate with them.) If we could get a tenth of those folks to go stand on the Federal Building steps or at City Hall, we could really garner some attention for our cause, whatever it may be.

There are several causes going on at the moment that many people could show up for, even if it’s an hour or so and help create a lasting impact for the citizens across the State or the country.

CWA has actively been educating our members regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). If you want to know more go to national CWA site. But short story- it’s a trade deal that people are trying to push through without public debate. Most of us are fearsome regarding trade deals because none in the past have really worked out in favor of the working people. You may remember NAFTA, etc… The only thing that seems to be exported at a regular rate is jobs. We believe the TPP agreement will do much of the same but it will also hurt environmental laws here and across the globe.

We are asking our Legislature’s to demand the TPP be negotiated publicly both in the House and the Senate. Feel free to call yours today. We are making some progress, as of last week two Senators (that I know of) came out in support of what we were asking and against the back door secret negotiations. Hell, even the Tea Party wants to stop the fast track. It’s not often we are on the same page but in this issue we are, so hopefully our members who are also members of the Tea Party or conservative party will pick up the phone and demand a stop to the fast track and demand open public debate.

At MV some questions came up last month regarding the retro checks. The checks didn’t show how the calculations were done and just simply paid out a dollar amount. We put out that if people had questions they would need to see their supervisors and have them explain it. We don’t have access to see the calculations. So far we have not heard that there are any issues with those calculations.

There also was another question regarding retro pay for vacation and holiday pay as well as those who did cadetting or BTW training. In discussing that piece with the company, they reminded us of the last bargaining proposal on the wage package that we had accepted. On the proposal it indicated the retro pay would be for actual time worked and they did not believe vacation or holiday pay was actual time worked and would not go back and pay any additional monies for those time periods. However they did concur that BTW and cadetting was actual time worked so they would pay those folks and they were paid on the last paycheck.

I know employees are losing their patience regarding the vacation time... truth is I’m about at the end of my rope as well. We knew from bargaining that it would not happen by the end of the year, we told folks during the contract explanation that it would not happen by the end of the year. I was hoping early by January. Well as you can see, not quite. We are waiting on the company to determine the number of hours the work groups have available to them and how many slots the work groups can have per day before we schedule the time. Obviously I can’t figure that out for them and really need them to provide those numbers, so then we can move forward. For the last several weeks we have been asking twice a week… “Are they done yet???” I think they are almost done so we should be moving this ahead shortly.

We had several people given FWW regarding what the company has perceived as extended breaks. Primarily when folks stop and take a restroom break. The Steward met at first step and the company agreed to reduce them all to a verbal. So I just want to reiterate if you need a 10-10 they really simply should follow the process. If you can’t get through to dispatch make a written note with the date and time, so if the company comes asking questions you can say- look I tried… Written notes are very effective.

At CenturyLink we have been having some of the same issues; delays in meetings to discuss office policies etc… Some of the delay is on our part, some on the company. Many departments want to tighten up the flexibility for folks to use entitlement time. As we know the work groups have been getting smaller so more has to be done with less. It has become painfully obvious in the negotiations. I will just leave it at that for now.

Currently we have the outside people to finish. One of the big issues already surfacing is access device. The company can’t force folks beyond the 49th hour so if a tech hits the 49th hour mid week they want to move the device to the next person. This is creating a bit of a problem since it technically interferes with the schedule and people can be moved up into previous weeks. That being said techs don’t want to volunteer either, so they can work them beyond those hours either at time and an half. We have a thought on that and will be talking with the techs this week about it so we can figure out the best way to resolve the issue. There are other issues of course but this is a pretty big one.

Just want to mention that for our phone company retirees who are Medicare eligible or those that might soon be in that category, I attended the meetings here hosted by the company and Extend Health (tower Watson group). I did find it rather informative and for the majority I really think this will be much more beneficial for all rather than what the old system was. In king county there are around 40 different plans available to choose from. Some have co pays on doctor visits, while others do not. Some have better prescription benefits while other plans include dental. So it really runs the gamut and the retirees will be able to tailor a package for them that they are comfortable with and from what I can tell most of the options available will cost less then what the company will be reimbursing so the retirees will come out financially ahead. If anyone needs help they can certainly call us to go over some questions but at the end of the day they have to call extend health and set up an enrollment appointment.

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