CenturyLink has announced the reduction in work force of 7% to 8%, which will be about 3,500 workers; which will be bargained and non-bargained for workers. Management was offered show-of -interest on 10/5/16. The offers went out to the bargained for workers starting on 10-7-16. CenturyLink does have IBEW bargained for workers as well. The offer is enhanced and has been modified and you would get $1,375.00 per each year you have with the company; with a maximum of $33,000.00 instead of the $1,100.00 with the max of $26,400.00 as before. This enhanced offer has been extended with a letter of Agreement through the life of the contract which is through 10/7/2017. The notice the company put out says- all employees that will be taking this offer, will be off the payroll by the middle of December 2016. If an employee is forced off, they should have a 90 day window for separation. It’s hard to list all the information around this offer. I suggest that you read all the information and ask your supervisor and or manager if you have questions that you need answered. There is more information on the company subsidized Cobra for medical as well.
Last Monday there was a call by District 7 with all the Locals concerning these offers and the direction it sees the company going. Next year will be a bargaining year and many of the Locals feel this is just the start of the Union busting angles the Company is taking. All bargained for workers that leave on their own will as in a VSPP, the company can replace them with contractors. There is nothing the Union can do about this because no one will be forced off payroll for workers that leave on (VSPP) Voluntary Separation Payment Plan. It’s very possible that next year they will do this again, right before bargaining just as they have this year. There were several Locals with members with 35-40+ years that said their members would take it if they are offered and I can understand that. Some members disagreed, pointing out the direction they feel the Company is going. The company has put out the list of the work groups and job titles that will and will not be offered. The Union had no say or input on this at all. The regular employees included in the selected organizations, titles and locations were put out Friday 10/7/16 and employees will have the ability to respond to the Show of Interest through the close of business on Thursday 10/13/16. As stated, there are Organizations and Groups who will be excluded from the offer where current business needs restrict the ability to explore a voluntary offer at this time.
By the way, there are about 24 paydays remaining until contract expiration. District 7 is holding a contest for our 2017 mobilization t-shirts. Please have members submit their design ideas. The winner will be chosen on Tuesday November 1, 2016. This year’s slogan is “7 Stands UP” (as in CWA District 7 Stands UP). As we announced last Membership Meeting, we are having CWA Political Boot Camp on Thursday and Friday this week here at the Local. We have over 40 members from different Locals around District 7 that will be attending. It is time to focus on the current economic and political reality in this country and develop the skills necessary to do the critical work to build a movement.
We are bargaining with (IATSE) International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employee and Motion Picture Projectionists Local 15. We have exchanged several proposals across the table and making some progress. Our next meeting is October 25, 2016. This is their 2nd contract, so there will many concerns as what worked and what did not in the previous one. I have been telling the work group that we cannot change everything in this 2nd contract, so we need to be very careful at selecting what changes and additions we want, based off the proposals we received.