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AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Unit

Thursday
Mar262015

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #15

In addition to a sub-committee to discuss health care, our time at the table was again spent mainly on job security. We proposed a National Committee, pending the participation of the other AT&T units, to discuss training for “Workforce 2020.”

CWA Bargainer Roy Hegenbart presented our demand to continue the 800 person “watermark” for Article 43. He laid out in great detail the increased workload for outside plant generated by projects such as the Google build out. We also expressed concern about some of our jobs moving to the techs in the regional companies. In general we have been very successful getting rid of outside contractors in Article 43 with the number going from over 300 to under 10 since Article 43 was bargained - but that does not change the need to have a clear watermark that must be maintained.

Please RAMP UP your mobilization. We need to see that every Local is active in support of your Bargaining Team.
Wednesday
Mar252015

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #14

For over a year, Randall Stephenson has been talking about his vision of “2020” - AT&T’s network becoming IP based, allowing AT&T to offer all kinds of new services.  For us there are two different visions of that year:  one is a Company with a handful of bargaining unit members left, while work is done by Contractors, Managers and off shore employees.  The other is what we are fighting for - a good size Union workforce trained for the new jobs and the new technology and new ways to work with customers.

Today was our day at the table to present our employment security proposals.  While they proposed eliminating JOG, we proposed expanding it so that those hired after 2012 are included.   We proposed no layoffs for the duration of the Contract.  When asked where the jobs would come from we told them there are enough jobs still subcontracted at home and abroad to keep every member.  We also proposed maintaining the “watermark” of employment we have in our contract.  We expanded language under our “Subcontracting/Bargaining Unit Work” subcommittee to discuss new acquisitions, like AT&T Digital Life and DirecTV (if that merger goes through).  We had other discussions at the table about DirecTV jobs and who will be doing that work if it becomes part of AT&T.  Finally we proposed strengthening the language in the “Employment Security” letter to cover more members and tighten up some of the provisions (like the NE language).

We are facing huge challenges this bargaining, particularly on Pensions and Active and Retiree Health Insurance, but the bottom line is - we need to keep our jobs.

Vote YES on the strike vote and prepare for one.  Locals should be working on picket duty assignments and arrangements for the Defense Fund. Meanwhile, every Local should be mobilizing every day to show the Company we are serious about fighting for what we need.

Your Bargaining Team,

Bill Bates

Laura Unger

Lois Grimes-Patow

Isa Shabazz

Martha Flagge

Mary Ellen Mazzeo

LaNell Piercy

Roy Hegenbart

Cindy Neumeyer

Tuesday
Mar242015

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #13

Today the Company responded to our Bargaining Proposal for Health Care. Our proposal concentrated on wellness programs that would lower health care costs, instead of shifting it to our members.  Their proposal was not responsive. Current employees and 2009 new hires would have access to the AT&T Medical Plan with all the increases we told you about in previous reports.  They would also have the choice of a “Management Plan.”  Those hired after 2012 would only have access to the “Management Plan.”  That plan has two options - one has slightly lower premiums and one has slightly higher.  The difference is that those plans don’t pay out a penny in for either drugs or medical treatment (except preventative) until the deductible is fully met.  So, a family could not even fill a prescription until they pay the $2,600 deductible.  The slightly lower priced plan also has an $8,250 Out of Pocket Max for a family.  So why did they even bother making this proposal?  They say they were responding to our wellness proposal, though the deal is IF you choose the “Management Plan” you have access to some of the “Management” wellness programs under something called “Health Matters.” However, if you take our Traditional Plan, even with all their increases in cost, you don’t have access to those programs.  The obvious question we had to ask the Company was, “so you don’t give a d—m about the wellness of employees unless they are willing to take the plan you want us to take”, which they can adjust yearly without bargaining with us.  Those picking the old plan don’t have access to it.  NO WAY.

They passed the same Pension Proposal across the table they did before - freezing everyone’s Pensions and no Pension - only a 401K - for new hires. “Freezing” does not just mean no increase.  If you work 5 more years, those years don’t count toward additional money.  We all know we need a pension increase, especially with the increase in the cost of Retiree medical.

Their last insult was to pass language to change double time for overtime over 8 hours to double time only after 9 hours.  LaNell Piercy, one of our bargainers who represents some of our lower paid members, said “So you want to raise the amount our members pay for health care and then steal back an hour of our double time?”  What she said after that is not printable.

Tomorrow is our day.  We will be presenting out proposals on employment security and access to new jobs.

Your Bargaining Team,

Monday
Mar232015

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #12

The Bargaining Team met with the Company in subcommittee and among themselves to work on Union proposals. There is nothing new to report.

Click here to view photos sent in from various Locals showing their mobilization activities, including Health Care Action Day.

The strike vote count is due in this office March 31, 2015. Make sure you vote. We need a strong YES vote to show the Company they cannot continue shifting health care costs to us, freeze our pensions, take away our JOG language, cut The Alliance, cut our disability, reduce paid sick time…VOTE YES!


Friday
Mar202015

AT&T Legacy T Bargaining Report #11

Today the Union firmly rejected the Company proposal to freeze all of our pensions and give new hires 401K plans only - no defined pension plan at all.

As we said in our opening statement: “We believe that the workers who built this Company deserve to be secure in their retirement. That means fair pensions they can absolutely count on and are not subject to the whims of the market.”

We told them we will not accept the Company’s proposals to freeze any of our pension plans. All of our members need to keep growing their pensions to keep up with the rising cost of living and, even more so, with the rising cost of health benefits. Our members under the two CBA plans need to improve their plans even more since their payout is about 50% less than the few of us left with the old banded pension plan.

We also believe AT&T’s new hires also deserve a defined pension benefit, not just a 401K - that is not a guaranteed retirement benefit. During the 2008 recession many members’ 401K Plans lost half their value. The Company said in their opening statement that Wells Fargo did a study saying young people prefer 401K plans. Of course Wells Fargo would say that - they make millions managing peoples’ 401K plans. That’s like using a study from tobacco giant Phillip Morris to prove that cigarettes are good for your health. We presented studies that show the opposite. People are much more likely to stay at a company that has a defined pension plan.

At every turn the Company wants to make new hires third class citizens - no pensions, no retiree health and higher benefit costs. This not only hurts them but hurts the Union because those members will have cause to wonder if we are fighting as hard for them. We will fight for them and hopefully we will bargain a Contract that benefits every current and future member and retiree.

You should be hearing from your Local soon about your strike vote. We need a strong yes vote.

Your bargaining team,

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