E-Activist Alert

Local 1106 News:

2015 Annual Open Enrollment

The 2015 Annual Open Enrollment Dates are as follows:

Active Members: October 21, 2014 to November 4, 2014
Retired Members: November 6, 2014 to November 20, 2014

•Retirees can continue to make changes up through December 1, 2014 to be effective January 1, 2015.

If your members are happy with their current health plan and want to stay with their plan, there is nothing they need to do.

If you have a Qualified Life Event between now and the end of the year, you will need to make changes on BenefitsConnections for both 2014 and 2015. Examples of a Qualified Status Change are adding a spouse if you get married, adding a child when there is a birth of a new baby.

Health Assessment Credit - $100

Any member who previously completed a Health Assessment will receive the $100 Health Assessment credit in 2015. There is no need to complete a new assessment, if you are currently receiving the credit.

If you are not currently receiving the Health Assessment credit, complete the Health Assessment by December 10, 2014 to receive a $100 credit toward your annual medical plan contributions for 2015. Completion of the Health Assessment after December 10, 2014 but before December 31, 2014 may delay your full credit.

Non- Tobacco User Credit - $600

•If you are already receiving credits for completing this incentive, no further action is needed.

•If you are not receiving this credit and DO NOT use tobacco products, indicate your NON-TOBACCO status on BenefitsConnection to receive your $600 credit towards your annual medical contributions.

•If you and your covered dependents DO USE tobacco products but have completed a tobacco cessation course within the last six months indicate your status on BenefitsConnections during Open Enrollment for the full credit.

•If you have NOT Yet completed a tobacco cessation course, you can earn the full Non-Tobacco Credit in 2015 if you and/or your covered dependents satisfy the reasonable alternative standard as follows

1.) During Annual Enrollment, log on to BenefitsConnection and answer the Tobacco User Status question while completing your Annual Enrollment elections: - answer YES and intend to complete a tobacco cessation course before July 31, 2015.

2.) Before July 31, 2015, complete a tobacco cessation course such as QuitNet or the Verizon HealthZone Health Assistant, and log on to BenefitsConnection. Answer the Tobacco User Status question: YES and completed a tobacco cessation course within the last 6 months.

You MUST update your Tobacco User Status response by July 31, 2015 in order to receive the full Non-Tobacco credit. Any update made to your tobacco user status after July 31, 2015 will result in a prorated credit for the remainder of the year.

HMO Plans – Changes

HIP Health Plan and Independent Health Plan were frozen plans which meant that no new enrollments were allowed in 2014. These plans have been frozen for a few years. The company had notified us last year that they were considering eliminating these plans for 2015. We had discussions with the company regarding this during the year but based on the financial efficiency and access the company will be eliminating these plans. The Company reviewed Anthem’s network with us and we believe our members will have the opportunity to be in a strong network of providers.

•There are 542 active and 292 retiree currently enrolled in the HIP Health Plan
•There are 387 active and 244 retirees currently enrolled in Independent Health of Buffalo

The Company plans to send notification letters to the employees who are in these plans which will notify them of the plan terminations. Those members will be automatically defaulted into the MEP Health Care PPO (HCP) plan if a separate Annual Enrollment election is not made.

Other HMO Changes this Year

Prescription Drug Coverage will move to the Express Script Carve out Design for the following HMOs:

•Capital District Physicians Health Plan
•UHC Passport/Harvard Pilgrim Plan
•Blue Alliance NY Plan
•Univera Healthcare (NY)
•Aetna HMO

Medical Plan –Prescription Changes and Contributions

There are some changes to the MEP HCP and the HCN medical Options which are the result of the CBA.

Confirmation Statements

A confirmation statement will no longer be automatically sent. It is being replaced with an enhance enrollment confirmation statement process. Confirmation statements are revised to reflect effective dates for each benefit and they are available any time to view or print by going on line. You can also call the Benefits center and request a copy to be mailed to your home.

Added: September 17th, 2014 1:13PM   |   


Join NYC's Working Families for the 2014 Labor Day Parade!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Step off 1:30pm from W47 ST, between 6 & 7 Aves.

Box lunch & soda provided.

Call Mike Ciancarelli by September 1 if you wish to attend.

We hope to see you there!

Added: August 22nd, 2014 12:07PM   |   

25th Annual Gerry Horgan/Ed Creegan Softball Tournament

When: Saturday, September 20, 2014

Time: 9AM

Where: Baldwin Park

Who: All are invited

Bring the family! BBQ and refreshments! Fun for everyone!

Added: August 22nd, 2014 12:00PM   |   

Important Announcement!

At the request of the membership, we are very proud to announce that we are rolling out our Exclusive Comprehensive Benefits Package for CWA 1106 members and their families.

Additional information will be mailed to your home by September 5th 2014

Open Enrollment meetings will be held at our union hall

VFW John F. Prince Post 6478

242-37 Braddock Avenue Bellerose, NY 11426

Due to our large membership of over 1300 members we will break down the open enrollment meetings by the first initial of your last name.

Presentations will be at 5:00p.m. & 7:00p.m.

Representatives will be available at the hall from 4:00p.m-9:00p.m.

Last Name Starting with A-I Monday September 15th

Last Name Starting with J-Q Tuesday September 16th

Last Name Starting with R-Z Monday September 22nd

Additional meetings available to all:

Tuesday September 23rd Monday September 29th Tuesday September 30th

Please R.S.V.P. as space is limited, and orders need to be placed for refreshments.

R.S.V.P to:

rdonath@metlife.com or 516-314-3787
ahurd1@metlife.com or 516-984-8076

Please include which date you will be attending, your name, work location, contact information, and benefits you & your family are interested in learning more about.

Please bring a personal check so if you are interested you can sign up that day.

Added: August 21st, 2014 11:58AM   |   

Verizon Declares 3Q Surplus

Verizon has notified the Union that they are declaring a surplus condition in 10 titles within Force Adjustment Areas ("FAA") 1 - 6. The surplus is due to a process change. Election to leave the Company with an EIPP offer must be submitted by September 2, 2014 and the off-payroll date will be September 21, 2014.

The following titles in our FAA (FAA 1) are affected:

Accounting Financial Clerk 8
Building Servicer 4
Office Assistant 2
Senior Administrative Assistant 2
Special Assistant 10
Grand Total 26

Added: August 19th, 2014 2:39PM   |   

Ultimate Employee Discount Offer

The Company has notified the Union that it is planning to offer employees and retirees who are currently participating in the Ultimate Employee Offer for FiOS, and who upgrade to Quantum TV, a 50% discount off the Quantum TV-Enhanced (100 hours of HD recording six recording streams) monthly recurring fee of $22, or 50% off the Quantum TV-Premium (200 hours of HD recording and 12 recording streams) monthly recurring fee of $32. Any employee who is not on the Ultimate Employee Offer and who moves to the Ultimate Employee Offer will also be eligible for the 50% discount off Quantum TV-Enhanced, or off Quantum TV-Premium packages.

Also, employees or retirees who are on the Ultimate Employee Offer and who have already upgraded to QTV will begin to receive the 50% off the monthly recurring fee for their Enhanced or Premium version Quantum TV packages, effective with this current offer's start date.

This offer will be in effect indefinitely and may be discontinued with or without notice. The Company plans on notifying employees of this offer on or shortly after July 20, 2014.

Added: July 7th, 2014 6:41PM   |   

PSC Issues Service Quality Order Against Verizon

The PSC issued a Service Quality order against Verizon on June 13, 2014.The Commission accepted Verizon's plan to address their poor performance by increasing their total capitol investment by over 4 million dollars. The order requires Verizon to report when the work is completed for each CO listed in the Service Quality order. If, after 12 months, the problems remain the Commission will take unspecified further action.
There are 32 Central Offices, in mid state and upstate identified in the order.

Added: July 7th, 2014 6:23PM   |   


When: Monday, September 8, 2014, 10am Shot Gun Start

Where:Brentwood Country Club, Brentwood, NY, 631.436.6060 - Pro Shop


Full Breakfast 9AM
Full Lunch, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, etc.
Beer and soda on the course
Cocktail hour after completion of 18 holes
Sit down dinner to follow

Please note: This is a first come first serve basis. We are limited to 136 golfers.

All Money Must Be In By July 25, 2014

Please make check payable to:
CWA Local 1106 Special Events Fund

There will be no cash payments accepted on the day of the outing.

COME AND HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Added: June 16th, 2014 12:20PM   |   

Verizon Declares Surplus

Verizon has declared a surplus in a few titles. This surplus will have little to no impact on members of our Local. The titles and numbers for FAA 1 (our FAA) follow:

Administrative Assistant - 2

Coin Collector - 14

Network Services Coordinator - 2

Office Assistant - 2

Senior Administrative Assistant - 3

Special Assistant - 10

The EIPP will be mailed by June 2, with a election period up to June 16 and an off-payroll date of June 29, 2014.

Added: June 16th, 2014 11:55AM   |   

Work and Family Program Increases

The Regional Work and Family recently approved increases in the current programs. The following description outlines the program enhancements.

Dependent Care Reimbursement Fund (DCRF): The weekly reimbursement is increasing from $50 to $100 effective June 1, 2014. Members will submit their paperwork in July. An email notification to participants announcing the change is planned.

Summer Camp: This summer 2 children will be eligible for 2 sessions of summer camp. The reimbursement will be increased from $200 per session to $300 per session. Each child is eligible for a reimbursement of up to $600 for both sessions. A family could receive up to $1,200 in reimbursements for 2 children.

Pendants: Members will now be able to receive reimbursements for 2 family members. Current participants will be notified via e mail of this change in the near future.

In the coming weeks this material will also be available on the Work/Family website: www.regionalwfrc.com

A great job was done by the Local Work Family Committee who worked hard on presenting these changes for approval.

Added: May 12th, 2014 8:33PM   |   


Company and Union Reach Agreement to Revoke the 250 Terminations

[April 9, 2014] UPS is rescinding the terminations of all 250 drivers and reinstating Jairo Reyes under an agreement reached today between Teamsters Local 804 and UPS.

Under the agreement hammered out over a ten-hour marathon bargaining session, all terminations will be reduced to a 10-day suspension. Local 804 also agreed to pay monetary damages to UPS.

UPS agreed to work with Local 804 to improve labor-management relations at the company and to handle disciplinary disputes more expeditiously under the new grievance procedure.

We are grateful for the enormous outpouring of support from UPS customers, progressive elected officials, and the public. It was that support that saved the jobs of the 250 drivers.

Ken Hall and the International Union helped convene today’s meeting and helped mediate the negotiations.

We look forward to thanking everyone inside and outside our Union who helped in this effort.

But tonight is first and foremost about the 250 drivers and their families. We congratulate them on standing together through this ordeal and winning their return to work with respect and dignity.

We all look forward to turning the page and getting back to serving our customers.

Reproduced from Teamsters Local 804 website.

Added: June 16th, 2014 11:55AM   |   

CWA JOINS 32BJ Workers Rally

Thousands of NYC Building Service Workers Rally for Fair Contract

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — From your apartment building to the street, a march and rally planned by building service workers took place Wednesday to coincide with a strike authorization vote.

Thousands of doormen, porters, supers, and handypersons marched on Fifth Avenue and 79th Street around 5 p.m. as the union considers a possible strike if talks with building owners break down, 1010 WINS reported.

Thousands Of NYC Building Service Workers Rally For Fair ContractWCBS 880's Alex Silverman reports
The contract for about 30,000 apartment building workers expires on April 20, WCBS 880′ s Alex Silverman reported.

The workers are employed at 3,300 buildings throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

Organizers said that with the real estate industry doing well, members of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ are asking for a raise that allows them to keep up with the cost of living in New York, 1010 WINS reported.

“Rents are going up in record numbers,” union president Hector Figueroa told Silverman. “Our members are struggling to make ends meet.”

In a statement the organizers said “They make New York home for 2 million residents and deserve a contract that allows them to continue to make New York home for themselves and their families.”

Several prominent New York City officials were also expected to attend the rally, including Public Advocate Letitia James, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera, Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George L. Miranda, and City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.

“We can have the power of persuasion as elected officials,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was also in attendance.

The union said it hopes the massive rally showed how important it is to maintain jobs that provide a path to the middle class in New York City.

The strike authorization vote, largely a formality, would allow Local 32BJ’s bargaining committee to call a strike if negotiations with the Realty Advisory Board break down.

With more than 145,000 members, including 70,000 in New York City, the 32BJ union is the largest property service workers union in the country.

Howard Rothschild, president of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, released a statement Wednesday regarding the rally and vote, saying “The positive relationship built between the RAB and Local 32BJ over the past 80 years is a model for successful labor relations. It has resulted in 20 plus years of uninterrupted labor peace and we hope to extend that streak this year. Negotiations with the Union are going extremely well so far because we are both committed to the same goal: reaching a fair contract that includes wage increases and protects the generous health and pension benefits that workers enjoy today.”

Added: April 3rd, 2014 9:59AM   |   


UPS has delivered a special message to 250 of its Queens drivers: You’re fired!!.

The Atlanta-based company is booting 250 of its unionized drivers from its Maspeth facility because they walked off the job for 90 minutes Feb. 26 to protest the dismissal of a long-time employee, UPS told the Daily News.

Twenty employees were terminated Monday after their shifts — and the remaining 230 notified that they’ll be canned as soon as replacements are trained, a company spokesman said.

“They just called me in ... (and) said, ‘Effective immediately, you are no longer on the payroll,’” said Steve Curcio, 41, a 20-year employee earning $32 an hour.

The mass firing has enraged Tim Sylvester, head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 804, especially since the company gets some lucrative perks from the city.

United Parcel Service has a contract worth $43 million to provide delivery services to city and state agencies, according to documentation from city officials.

It’s also enrolled in a Department of Finance program that saves it millions annually on fines and fees for parking tickets.

UPS confirmed that it participates in the city program that expedites ticket payment and in some cases halves or wipes out penalties. But a spokesman refused to say how much the stipulated fine program saved the company.

However, city data from 2006 shows UPS paid nearly $20 million in parking fines that year. That amount fell to $1 million a quarter for parking fines in 2013, after Mayor Bloomberg created the stipulated-fine program, according to published reports.

“UPS takes millions from the city and yet it’s going to bankrupt 250 families just because our guys stood up for a fellow worker,” said Sylvester.

A UPS spokesman said the drivers knew their jobs were on the line when they chose to walk out.

The workers were protesting the firing of Jairo Reyes, a 24-year-employee and union activist, said Sylvester.

Several city politicians hope to bring both sides to the table for talks.

“These are middle class jobs that sustain families, and we can ill afford to have (so many) adversely affected by a rash decision,” said Public Advocate Letitia James, who’s written UPS a letter asking the company to abandon its hard-line approach. “We’ve given UPS breaks, particularly as it relates to this (parking) program,” James said. “They should not treat workers in this manner.”

One of the workers who faces dismissal just got back on the job following a near-fatal accident.

Domenick DeDomenico, 40, was in a coma for 10 days after getting hit by a car last year while delivering packages for UPS. He fought back from serious brain injuries and needed a year of speech and physical therapy.

Cleared to resume work on Jan. 17 , DeDomenico was threatened with dismissal by UPS even before he joined the Feb. 26 walkout.

“I wasn’t delivering as many packages as before I got hurt,” said the married dad. He used to clock in at 13 an hour, but now averages between 10 and 11.

“I said I was doing my best and they said I had been better before,” he said. “I said ‘Okay, this is my new best,’ and they said ‘It’s not good enough.’ ”


Added: April 3rd, 2014 10:05AM   |   


Make 2 Calls NOW to Protect CWA Jobs and Also Customers

Governor Cuomo's budget proposal includes deregulatory legislation that threatens CWA jobs in the event of a telephone network sale or merger. While the State Assembly has rejected this legislative language in its proposed State Budget, the State Senate's proposed budget includes this damaging deregulatory legislation.

Under the Governor and State Senate's budget proposals, the Public Service Commission could "forbear" current laws. That means the PSC could waive or ignore the law. This legislation - passed through the state budget process - would mean:

* PSC could waive the state law that offers protection for jobs as well as customers if a telephone company sells its network. Most recently, Verizon sold its network to Frontier in 14 states. This budget legislation would eliminate regulatory review of such a process, which currently requires a finding that a sale or merger is in the public's interest.

* PSC could also waive state law requiring Verizon and other telephone companies to seek regulatory approval of a major rate increase, which is a process that protects CWA jobs as well as customers. The PSC could also waive state law preventing price discrimination.

The State Senate is currently run by a "coalition" of Republican State Senators and five members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). Call Senators who are members of the IDC or Republican caucuses right now! (Contact your Local or call the Senate switchboard if you do not know who represents you.) The five members of the IDC are Senators Avella (Queens), Carlucci (Rockland), Klein (Bronx and Westchester), Savino (Staten Island and South Brooklyn) and Valesky (Syracuse area). In the Senate, this deregulatory budget legislation is Part R of Senate Bill S6357C. Also, call Governor Cuomo's office and urge the Governor to remove the language from the State Budget. This issue will be decided before April 1st , when the budget is due, so call right now!

Make These 2 Calls Right Now:

1. Call Senators who are members of either the Republican or Independent Democratic Conference at 518-455-2800.
Urge them to remove deregulatory telecommunications language from the State Budget (Part R of Bill S6357C).

2. Call Governor Cuomo's office at 518-474-8390. Urge Governor Cuomo to remove deregulatory telecommunications language from the State Budget (Part R of the Executive Budget's Transportation and Economic Development Bill.)

Added: March 21st, 2014 3:17PM   |   

UPS Drivers Fired for Protesting?

In Maspeth, NY, two weeks ago, UPS fired a driver and longtime union activist without the fair hearing he was entitled to. Outraged and aware that violating one worker's rights threatened them all, other drivers walked off of their job to stand in solidarity with their fellow worker.

In retaliation, UPS has now notified all 250 drivers who participated in the protest that they are on notice of termination. In other words, "You're fired."

Sign and share the online petition against UPS union-busting.

The well-being of these drivers and their families hangs in the balance because they spoke out against a company that violated workers' rights. UPS shouldn't ship pink slips to their drivers just for speaking out--what should have been a routine disciplinary matter became an attack on hundreds of working families. It's bad for their brand, their employees, and most importantly, their customers.

Our message is simple. It’s time for UPS sit down with Teamsters Local 804, withdraw the terminations, and work to restore labor-management relations that work for everyone.

Tell UPS that it's not okay to retaliate against their workers. The drivers are committed to negotiating a fair resolution--why can't UPS do the same and take back the notices of termination?

What can brown do for you? Certainly not this.

Take action now: sign the online petition and share it with your friends and family at http://petitions.moveon.org/workingfamilies/sign/ups-drivers-fired-for?source=c.em.cp&r_by=10171476

Added: March 20th, 2014 3:43PM   |   

Corporate Profit Sharing Award

The Company will award this year's corporate profit sharing distribution on paychecks of March 14, 2014. The amount will be $825.00 for full time employees and a pro-rated amount for part time employees as well as those who participated for more than three but less than twelve months in the plan year.

Added: March 10th, 2014 8:23AM   |   

Membership Meeting Changed

The Memebership Meeting scheduled for February 25th has been postponed. The new date is March 25th. It will be held at the VFW at 242-37 Braddock Ave, Bellerose, 11426 at 5:30 pm.

Added: February 21st, 2014 12:11PM   |   

The Government By the People Act

Today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Sarbanes are unveiling the Government by the People Act, an exciting new bill that will help reduce the influence of corporate money in Congress.

The Government by the People Act matches public funds to small-dollar donations, turning a $25 contribution into $175 -- or $100 to $700. It levels the playing field and encourages candidates to pay the most attention to everyday voters, not big-money donors.

Now, we need to pressure Congress to pass this bill by showing massive public support. Please go to action.cwa-union .org to be one of the first citizen co-sponsors of the Government by the People Act.

Getting big money out of politics seems impossible, but we’ve done the impossible before. Millions of people like you from the same organizations that helped change the Senate rules on nominations are fighting to move this bill forward. Why? Because they know that when corporations set the policies and priorities in government, we all lose.

The outrageous Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is just the latest example. Do you have any doubt that if workers, environmental activists and consumer groups had the same voice at the negotiating table as the world’s largest multinational corporations, our trade policy and priorities would be much different?

Together we can make sure everyday Americans have a voice. Go to action.cwa-union.com to sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of the Government by the People Act today.

Added: February 5th, 2014 3:28PM   |   

Fast Track Stopped

Some good news for most Americans: Free trade agreements, which have been negotiated in such deep secrecy that even Congress does not know what they contain, will not be rushed through the Senate.

In a rebuke to the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada on Wednesday rejected the so-called fast track approval of trade agreements. President Barack Obama wanted an extension of the rule that requires a simple up or down vote on treaties — no modifications allowed — which means perfunctory debate.

Reid’s declaration is especially significant for two massive imminent deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. These deals would add hundreds of thousands of pages of finely detailed new rules on how goods and services cross borders. Just how many pages there are is as much of a mystery as just what those rules would be, with the exception of one leaked chapter from TPP on intellectual property. It runs 30,000 words.

Although we hear all the time about how much regulations thwart businesses, companies are the source of most regulations. Corporations spend vast sums on lawyers, lobbyists and other experts to add and revise government regulations, which can be fashioned to damage competitors, insulate markets from new firms, weaken labor and create barriers to litigation when companies cause harm.

As for companies too small to participate in the negotiations, they would have almost no chance under fast track to learn how they might be affected or to lobby for fairer rules.

Similarly, consumer organizations and unions must criticize without knowing what is in the proposed trade deals and what consequences will likely follow once the deals are locked into law.

If Reid stands firm, it means new trade deals are likely to be worked out in the open, where the people and their elected politicians can debate the merits. In other words, it will be a victory for democracy.

Added: February 4th, 2014 3:05PM   |   

Let's Crush This Rotten Deal

The battle over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and millions of jobs
will start in the New Year, for real. While we successfully delayed
introduction of fast track legislation to this point, all signs point to
bill introduction on January 7th or 8th.
The Obama administration is likely to come hard to pass this legislation.
Passing the TPP involves a legislative two-step: first ram through
fast-track authorization, then once Congress has surrendered its authority
to vote on amendments to the deal, ram through the deal. *It’s crucial to
defeat fast-track, and the best way to defeat the TPP is to prevent a vote
in the first place. *Without fast-track, the deal will never get a vote.
*First, we need to get a large number of phone calls in to our
representatives. That starts January 6th and 7th. Please get ready to
pound in calls.
We need to hold every one of our representatives who signed the
DeLauro/Miller letter as a no vote on fast-track for the TPP. (Most
congressional Democrats appear to be inclined to vote against fast-track,
at this time. We also need to win Republican votes.) We don’t know yet what
will be in the TPP or in the fast-track legislation, since it’s still a
secret deal, but we are certain that if fast-track is introduced, it will
be bad and we will be opposed.
*There will be a nationwide day of action on January 22nd where we will
target swing votes, strengthen our supporters, and protest our opponents.
*The politics on these insane trade agreements, which are really about moving
money around the globe much more easily to cut wages and regulatory
protections, are tangled.
The Obama administration is pushing for a trade agreement that benefits the
global elite over the rest of us. The U.S. Senate, historically no friend
of working people, will pass fast-track and the TPP. We can stop this
agreement in the House of Representatives, even though it’s controlled by
Republicans, and the large majority of Republicans will vote for fast-track
and the TPP. We will need almost all Democrats and some Republicans.
(there is conservative tea-party opposition to this deal and anything the
Obama admin does, which helps here)
While we’ve done really well in recent elections, particularly in New York
City with DeBlasio’s election, on a federal level things are still very
rough We've done also very strong work nationally on the TPP along with
our allies, enough to delay into the new year.
It's very unlikely a floor vote would come before February. We want to make
this so hot, they won't want to vote it. Any vote on fast-track is likely
to be extremely close: every vote in Congress will count. There will (most
likely) be enormous pressure from Republican leadership and the Obama
administration to vote for fast-track. We defeated fast-track legislation
under both Bush and Clinton. We can do it again. More information about our
mobilization to come soon, please get ready for beginning large numbers of
phone calls on January 6th and 7th.

Added: February 4th, 2014 3:03PM   |   

Union Plus Scholarship

Deadline for applications: January 31, 2014 at 12pm

Since 1992, the Union Plus Scholarship Program has awarded more than $3.5 million to students of union families. Over 2,300 union families have benefited from our commitment to higher education.

The Union Plus Scholarship Program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation, which is sponsored by Union Privilege. Your union membership entitles you to a family of Union Plus benefits including: College Test Prep Discounts, AT&T Wireless Discounts, Budget Truck Rental Discounts and much more. See a full list of your Union Plus benefits here.

The Union Plus Education Foundation is funded in part by donations from Capital One N.A., the provider of the Union Plus Credit Card. (You donot need to be a Union Plus Credit Card holder to apply for this scholarship.)

Scholarship Award Amounts: Amounts range from $500 to $4,000. These one-time cash awards are for study beginning in the fall of 2014. Students may re-apply each year.

Award Date: The Scholarship Committee will determine recipients of scholarship awards by May 31, 2014. The first week of June 2014 award recipients will be individually notified by mail. By mid-June all applicants will be sent an email with notification that the award list is posted at UnionPlus.org/Scholarships. Please note that due to the volume of applications we cannot provide any information on the status of an application before award announcements are made.

For the scholarship application go to:

Added: December 18th, 2013 10:14PM   |   

CWA Heros: Verizon Techs Stop Assault in Queens

Members of CWA Local 1106 and Verizon technicians Michael Popowich, Anthony Howley and John Gilday are heros. The three CWA Verizon workers, members of Local 1106, were working In Queens, N.Y., on Oct. 30. On the job, they saw a man push a woman to ground, start to pull off her clothes and assault her.

The three technicians chased the alleged assailant and wrestled him to the ground, holding him until police arrived.

In media interviews, the three talked about what happened.

"I'm not surprised by what we did. I think anybody who was in our situation would have done the same thing," Michael Popowich, a Verizon lineman.

"It was just natural instincts," said Anthony Howley, another Verizon lineman. "I didn't do it for any of the accolades or anything like that, it was just seeing a woman being attacked and we just stepped in to save her."

"We just reacted," John Gilday said. "I have daughters, a wife, sisters – I hope if something like that was happening to them, someone would do something about it. I don't want to see that happen to anybody."

Added: December 12th, 2013 11:49PM   |   

Apply Now For Joe Beirne Scholarship

Applications are now being accepted through April 30, 2014, for the CWA Joe Bierne Foundation's annual scholarship offerings for the 2014 - 2015 school year.

The Foundation's Board of Directors has approved the awarding of fifteen (15) partial college scholarships of up to $3,000 each, and the winners also will receive second-year scholarships for the same amount, contingent upon satisfactory academic acheivement.

Eligible for the scholarships are CWA members, their spouses, children and grandchildren, including the dependents of retired, laid-off or deceased members. Applicants must be high school graduates or high school students who will graduate during the year in which they apply. Undergraduate and graduate students returning to school may also apply.

Applications will be available solely online for completion and submission to the Foundation's website:

The winners will be chosen by lottery drawing. Further information about the program can be found at the website.

This valuable scholarship program is made possible by the funding of CWA locals.

Added: December 4th, 2013 3:42PM   |   

4th Quarter Surplus

CWA has been informed of the 4th quarter surplus, as declared by Verizon. The EIPP will be offered on December 3d, 2013. The volunteer period is until December 17th and the off payroll date is December 29th.

The surplus numbers are:

Accounting Financial Clerk - 8
Administrative Assistant - 12
Central Office Technician - 4
Material Equipment Technician - 4
Network Services Coordinator - 2
Office Assistant - 2
Senior Administrative Assistant - 1

Added: December 2nd, 2013 8:42AM   |   

Chris Shelton's Letter About the OSHA Settlement

To: NY/NE Local Presidents –Verizon Locals

From: Chris Shelton, Vice President

Date: November 27, 2013

Re: Settlement Agreement – Douglas LaLima Case

VZ found Guilty of Violations of the Telecommunications Standard


I am pleased to announce that after more than two years, justice has finally been served and there has been a settlement agreement reached in the fatality case of Douglas LaLima, a lineman and member of CWA Local 1109, who was tragically electrocuted while placing strand in Brooklyn on September 14, 2011. The Solicitor of Labor for the U.S. Department of Labor (representing OSHA) has found Verizon guilty of violations of the OSHA Telecommunications Standard. Verizon must pay $147,000 in fines and must take several additional measures to ensure linemen/women placing strand on joint use poles have the necessary training and equipment to perform their work safely. This landmark stipulated settlement agreement covers Verizon NY and affects all line personnel and line garages in the state.

The Company has put untold resources into fighting all of the OSHA citations since they were issued in March 2012, but they have lost that fight because they were guilty and did not have a case. The fines the Company must now pay are for two Repeat violations for not ensuring linemen use insulating rubber gloves while placing strand on joint use poles and for not ensuring the strand is temporarily grounded while being placed, as well as, for one Serious violation for not providing adequate training. The Repeat citations are based on previous citations in the fatality case of Jarrod Lyon, a lineman from CWA Local 1126, in 2002. Because of the two Repeat citations, Verizon remains on the OSHA Severe Violator list and is subject to additional oversight.

It is not the amount of the fines, which are limited by law, which is ultimately important. No amount of money can ever make up for the loss of a person’s life. What is important is that Verizon is being held accountable for their negligence and they must now take specific actions to provide for a safer work environment.

While it is sad and unconscionable that this is what it took for the Company to do what they should have been doing all along, this is a positive and much needed step toward preventing another death of this kind in the future.

I want to thank the leadership of CWA Local 1109, the members of CWA Local 1109 who participated in the OSHA inspection and who were deposed during the legal proceedings. I also want to thank District 1’s Health and Safety Director, Micki Siegel de Hernandez who worked tirelessly throughout this whole process, as well as CWA’s legal counsel, particularly Nick Hanlon and Amy Young, for their considerable efforts throughout this process. The Union’s participation in this case had a significant impact on the outcome.

Added: November 29th, 2013 9:35AM   |   

Verizon Cited by OSHA Following Worker's Death in Brooklyn

OSHA Regional News Release

U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Public Affairs

New York -
The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement agreement that resolved litigation with Verizon New York Inc., which stemmed from citations issued to the telecommunications company in March 2012. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations in connection with the fatal electrocution of an employee on September 14, 2011, in Brooklyn. Under the agreement, two repeat violations and one serious violation are affirmed, with a penalty of $147,000, and the telecommunications company will provide enhanced electrical safety training and other safeguards to its New York field technicians who install suspension strand on utility poles that carry power lines.

"While no settlement can bring this worker back to his family, co-workers and friends, this agreement can help prevent similar and needless tragedies in the future," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "It commits Verizon New York to provide enhanced and specific training for its field technicians on the hazards involved with installing suspension strand on utility poles carrying power lines. Such training will also reinforce management's commitment to safe practices."

The fatality occurred when the field technician came into contact with an energized power line while he worked from an aerial lift bucket. The project was to install steel suspension strand on a joint use pole, which carries both telecommunications and power lines. OSHA's Manhattan Area Office inspection found that the field technicians in Brooklyn at Verizon's Avenue H garage were not adequately trained, did not wear rubber protective gloves and did not ground the suspension strand.

Verizon New York agrees to provide an electrical safety module for its field technician trainees at its line schools in New York and will provide in-service training to current field technicians who install suspension strand. The hands-on, demonstrative and interactive training will focus on electrical safety in joint use environments, including the grounding of suspension strand, wearing rubber insulated gloves, and procedures for installing suspension stand where obstructions exist. Verizon New York will also provide supplemental training to local and area managers and notify OSHA when training has been instituted, keep records of the training and provide them to OSHA upon request.

The settlement has been filed with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and was negotiated for OSHA by attorneys of the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Manhattan Area Office at 212-620-3200.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Added: November 26th, 2013 12:51PM   |   

CWA's Response to Verizon's EIPP Message

A letter from District 1 Vice President, Chris Shelton

November 21, 2013


Dear Sisters and Brothers,

In early October , the Company approached CWA seeking to bargain a special incentive offer. CWA agreed to meet. Verizon wanted to get people off the payroll CWA wanted to address work of the future. Our position was and is that we cannot allow the Company to downsize unless our need to bring work into the bargaining unit is also addressed.

Over the last six weeks, we met several times to discuss the Company's offer. At every meeting we told the Company that we were willing to discuss the Company's offer. At every meeting we told the Company that we were willing to discuss incentive offers, however, these discussions also had to address the future work needs of our members. We believe that there is more work that our members can do and we told that to the company. We told them that we need the Company to commit to FiOS build outs over the next several years. We told them that we cannot allow the Company to downsize the bargaining unit while it continues to contract work out. We stated our position clearly at every meeting. In the end, the Company's proposal addressed its needs, but not the Union's.

Earlier this week, the Company sent a message to all employees making it sound like they responded to our concerns. As always, when dealing with Verizon, the devil is in the details. Here is what they did not tell you about their proposal.

*Surplus of Field Techs hired after August, 2003: The Company offered to not layoff one Field Tech prior to January, 2015 for every Field Tech who took the offer in Force Adjustment areas 4, 5, and 6. This means that if 10 Field Techs took the offer, the Company would still go forward with the surplus of 30 Techs and could still layoff the remaining 10 on January 1, 2015. If the Company really wanted to prevent a layoff, they could offer Complex EIPP to all non-surplus titles opening up jobs for the people at risk. They did not do that.

*Board and Lodging Assignments: The excessive amount of board and lodging assignments from upstate to downstate is a problem. The Company states in its message that depending on the numberof people taking the offer, it would reduce the number of upstate to downstate temporary transfers through to the end of 2014. This is a hollow promise. The number of upstate Field Techs taking the Eipp would have to be 150 before they would grant relief. They offered no relief if the number was lower. Based on prior EIPP acceptance rates , it is very unlikely that 150 upstate Techs would take the EIPP. But, even if they did, the temporary transfers would just be reduced by percentage.

*Microduct Work: In its message, Verizon states that it would bring the installation of certain MDU work "in house." They are talking about microduct installed in ceilings by contractors. That work should be returned to the bargaining unit now because it's work we already bargained for. Again, we have to fight, maybe even arbitrate, to get Verizon to live up to our agreements.

*Two wire centers: The statement in Verizon's message about the enhanced FiOS build at two wire centers is misleading. The Union was looking for commitments to expand FiOS to large areas, such as Brookhaven. We talked about growing the business over 2014, 2015 and 2016. The Company would not commit to building new wire centers. Instead, according to its proposal in 2014, the Company could potentially select two wire centers that have almost completed their work essentially giving the Union ice in the winter. Any commitments past 2014 were tied to us helping them grow their penetration rates. Unless the rates went up to a certain threshold, the Company offered no new wire centers.

*Offer restricted to 4 titles: Another misleading statement in Verizon's message is that the offer would be available to about 4,200 employees. The offer was limited to certain areas in just 4 titles as listed below:

Surplus Title and Force Adjustment Areas?b>

Accounting Financial Clerk - FAA 1 and 4

Accounting Operations Clerk - FAA 2 and 4

Field Technician - FAA 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Operator - FAA 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

In its message, the Company describes how it reached agreement with other Unions and CWA Districts as well as with District 1 in New Jersey. Presumably, Verizon thinks that by telling you this, you would believe that District 1 in the NY/NE bargaining units turned down a good deal. It is important to understand that each bargaining unit could accept or reject the offer independently. In those areas that did agree, the union involved obviously felt that they got enough to make the deal worthwhile. In the NY/NE bargaining units in District 1, we did not feel that the Company addressed our issues. We will continue to try to find ways to deal with potential layoffs and work of the future. The Company's deal was not one of those ways.

In Unity,

Chris Shelton
Vice President

(We are FAA 1)

Added: November 22nd, 2013 11:22AM   |   

Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Protect American Jobs: Stop the TPP!

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a "free" trade deal that will destroy American jobs. It's like NAFTA on steroids. Right now, the TPP is being negotiated between the United States and Pacific Rim countries including Malaysia, Mexico, Japan and Vietnam. The countries in this deal include 40% of the world economy.

The deal is secret, but draft language that has leaked out shows that it would overrule U.S. laws, gutting worker safety, financial regulation, environmental protections, food safety, prescription drug prices, and protections for good jobs such as "Buy America" provisions. The TPP would make it illegal to enact the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, which would take away government contracts and tax breaks from corporations with offshore call center jobs.

149 Democrats in the House of Representatives have signed a letter, circulated by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, opposing the secrecy of this agreement. They are standing with CWA. 27 Republicans have also signed the letter to try and stop the deal.

In New York and New Jersey, every Democratic member of Congress has signed Rep. DeLauro's letter on the TPP, except for Representatives Joe Crowley, Charles Rangle and Greg Meeks. They should sign Representative DeLauro's letter and stand with American workers, not with the global elite and super-rich who will benefit from the TPP.

Call 888-966-9836 to Reach Your Member of Congress! If either Joseph Crowley, Charles Rangle or Greg Meeks is your Representative, tell them to oppose the TPP to protect American jobs!

Added: November 7th, 2013 12:29PM   |   

Support Bill DeBlasio

Rally for Bill Deblasio!

Friday, November 1st, 5 pm at Brooklyn Boro Hall

The DeBlasio campaign is holding this rally to show support for the next mayor of New York. It's important for CWA to have a friend at City Hall, so come out and let him know we're here for him!

Wear red and show DeBlasio that CWA was there from the beginning and we will continue working for him until his victory is secure.

If you are interested in attending the rally, please either inform your District Steward or call the Local at 718.479.1106

Added: October 25th, 2013 1:32PM   |   

Budget Passed

CWA Local 1106 is happy to announce that the budget for the fiscal year of October 1st, 2013 through September 30th, 2014 was passed overwhelmingly by the membership at the Budget Meeting on October 22nd.

We wish to thank all of the members who came to the meeting and showed interest in their local. There was much discussion on the breakdown of the budget, which was distributed to each attending member. When the vote was taken, each member was well informed on what they were voting for.

We thank you again and can now move forward with the new budget.

Added: October 24th, 2013 11:42AM   |   

TTA Identity Breach

We have been informed that a laptop computer assigned to a TTA administrator at Hudson Valley Community College was stolen in early September. The computer had a database with personal information, including full social security numbers, of every employee who was accepted into the TTA program as well as all employees who applied to the TTA program. The computer also had over 100,000 emails which may have also contained social security numbers.

Due to this breach of identity, Hudson Valley Community College, the lead college for the TTA program, has mailed out letters to all employees who may be affected informing them of the theft .The letter explains that the database was password protected and encrypted, so it is unlikely that personal information would be accessible to the thief. Additionally, the college will offer an Identity Theft Program to those employees affected, free of charge, for a two year period.

Any questions regarding this issue can be directed to Hudson Valley Community College at 1-800-405-6108.

Added: October 17th, 2013 12:00PM   |   

Local 1106 Endorses Cathy Guerriero for Public Advocate

The following is a letter from President Jerry Bulzomi to the Local 1106 membership:

Dear Brother/Sister,

I am writing to you today to remind you to vote for Cathy Guerriero for NYC Public Advocate on September 10th, in the Democratic Primary. Getting Cathy elected is a big priority for C.W.A. Local 1106.

Cathy grew up in Staten Island and Brooklyn and comes from three generations of union workers: her grandfather was a longshoreman, her parents were NYC public school teachers and her siblings are teachers, firemen and cops. Cathy's dad had two full-time union jobs for 35 years to take care of his family, so Cathy gets it. She knows how important pensions are - she is pro-union through and through - so she will fight for our contracts, for sufficient health care and for our pension benefits like no other Public Advocate you have ever seen.

Cathy is a professor at Columbia University and NYU in education politics, and she is going to also fight for our children's future in schools. As the mother of a three-year-old daughter, for her, this fight is personal.

Cathy comes from where we come from. She has the most union endorsements in this race. As a former full-scholarship athlete, Cathy is a fighter, and a grinder. But we need to support her at the polls on September 10th, so please vote for our endorsed candidate: Cathy Guerriero for Public Advocate.

Cathy Guerriero: a true friend to C.W.A. Local 1106.

In Solidarity,

Jerry Bulzomi

P.S. For more info on Cathy's campaign and to make a contribution, go to www.cathyguerriero.com.

Added: August 28th, 2013 2:06PM   |   

Verizon Declares Surplus

Verizon informed CWA that there will be an EIPP offered on September 3d. The volunteer period will be until September 17th, with an off-payroll date of September 29th, 2013.

The surplus is being declared in 25 titles, totaling in 623 surplus. The surplus is a process change, however, the Company indicated that for the surplus of Field Technicians and Driver A's in FAAs 4, 5 and 6 (we are FAA 1) they will go past Step 3 of the Force Adjustment Plan, possibly resulting in layoffs of those mentioned who were hired after August 3, 2003.

The numbers for FAA 1 follow:

Accounting Financial Clerk 8
Administrative Assistant 17
Cable Splicer's Helper 1
Central Office Technician 14
Drafter 3
Engineering Drafter 1
Facilities Specialist 4
Frame Specialist 10
Material Equipment Technician 4
Network Services Coordinator 2
Office Assistant 4
Senior Administrative Assistant 5
Special Assistant 14
Special Representative 3
Translations Administrator 2
Grand Total 92

Added: September 10th, 2013 5:05PM   |   

Gerry Horgan - Ed Creegan Memorial Tournament

On September 21st at 8:30 AM we will hold the 24th Annual Gerry Horgan - Ed Creegan Softball Tournament. It will take place at Baldwin Park.

Come on down and have some fun!

Rain date will be September 28th at 8:30 AM.

Added: August 20th, 2013 10:28AM   |   

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2013 10 AM - 4 PM

9 AM - 12:30 PM: Rally Program at the Lincoln Memorial
12:30 PM - 1 PM: March to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
1 PM - 4 PM: Rally Program Continues

Come celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. So much of what we sought to achieve 50 years ago is gravely threatened today. We will gather together not as a commemoration, but as a continuation and a call to action. A Global Festival, sponsored by the King Center, will also be on the National Mall from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Please contact your Local for more information, as there are some buses available on a first come, first served basis at a nominal cost per seat.

* 50 years ago the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom secured vital civil rights for millions, however, many of the other goals.

* African Americans are still nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as Whites, a rate unchanged in the past 50 years.

* In 2011, more than a third of African Americans and more than 40% of Hispanics did not earn enough in hourly wages to pull a family out of poverty, despite working full-time year-round. If the minimum wage from 50 years ago had merely been adjusted for inflation, it would now be $13, nearly twice the current federal minimum.

Read more at: http://www.cwa-union.org/news/entry/the_unfinished_march

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WEAR CWA RED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Added: August 27th, 2013 1:45PM   |   

CWA Local 1106 Endorses Anthony Eramo for Long Beach City Council

Anthony Eramo was born and raised in Nassau County. As a field technician for Verizon ( maintenance splicer out of Taft Ave. garage,) Anthony is an active member of his union, the Communications of America, currently Local 1106, like his father before him. Anthony's dad, Pete was a loyal member & Shop Steward for our local for over 30 years. While working full time, Anthony has earned two associates degrees, a bachelor's degree and soon a master's degree.

Anthony and his wife, Jennifer, of 16 years, own a home in the West End. Hurricane Irene flooded their home and they had completed all repairs. Their home then sustained more heavy damage during Sandy, forcing his family's ongoing relocation.

Anthony is a volunteer Little League coach for his daughter and son, who both attend Long Beach Public Schools.

Currently Anthony has been endorsed by CWA Locals 1106, 1104 and 1101 and 1108. He has also been endorsed by the 19,000 members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 338, CWA District 1, SEIU 1199, TWU Local 252, The Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and the General Building Laborers Local 66.

He is proud to be on the Working Families Party and the Democratic Party team with Scott Mandel, Eileen Goggin and Judge Roy Tepper.

We encourage those of you eligible to vote in his election, to vote for him. Elect one of our own!

To see Anthony's web page, go to : http://anthonyeramo.com.

Added: August 28th, 2013 10:48AM   |   

Senate Vote Ensures Continued Labor Law for 80 Million Workers

Washington, DC – The following is a statement by the Democracy Initiative on today’s Senate vote confirming three Democratic members to the National Labor Relations Board. The Democracy Initiative has brought together labor, environmental, civil rights and democracy groups to fight to fix the broken Senate rules, get corporate money out of politics and expand voting rights.

Today’s action by the US Senate means that for the first time in a decade, the National Labor Relations Board will have a Senate-confirmed, fully-functioning Board.

The three Democratic members confirmed by the Senate today are Mark Pearce, Nancy Schiffer, and Kent Hirozawa. The Senate-confirmed Republicans are Harry Johnson and Phil Miscimarra.

Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen said today’s Senate action is “long overdue. President Obama began his second term without a Democratic majority on the NLRB, and for workers that has meant continued delay in workplace justice, whether to enforce their bargaining rights or protect them from an employer’s illegal action. Today’s Senate action is a step toward justice for 80 million private sector workers.”

Nearly all Senate Democrats stood strong to force the Republican minority to stop the obstruction that kept too many of the President’s executives nominations waiting for Senate action for as long as two years. That means that this Labor Day, 80 million workers will continue to have the protections of federal law and that the only agency that can enforce workplace rights will be fully functional.

The Democracy Initiative, founded by CWA, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and NAACP, now includes 60 like-minded organizations committed to stopping the abuse of Senate rules, ending corrupting influence of corporate money in politics and turning around the attack on voter rights.

These issues are linked. We are a nation with the lowest voter registration level at just 70 percent, the lowest collective bargaining rate at just 11 percent and the highest rate of corporate spending in our election process. Members of the Democracy Initiative know that Americans are up against a right-wing agenda of no voting rights, no bargaining rights and no limits on corporate spending in our democratic process. That’s the fight we’re in to win.

Added: July 31st, 2013 10:24AM   |   

Residents Forced to Live Without Landlines

Last fall, Hurricane Sandy damaged homes, buckled boardwalks and ruined much of the infrastructure of the small vacation spot of Fire Island, just off the coast of New York. The storm also destroyed many of the island's copper phone lines. But the island's only traditional phone company has no plans to replace them. Instead, Verizon is offering customers a little white box with an antenna it calls Voice Link.

"It has all the problems of a cellphone system, but none of the advantages," says Pat Briody, who has had a house on Fire Island for 40 years.

Essentially, Voice Link connects home phones to the Verizon Wireless network on the island. It has a traditional-sounding dial tone and 911 service, but that's about it. You can't use Voice Link to access the Internet. Some businesses can't process credit card transactions. Many alarm systems and health monitors won't work with Voice Link. "I don't think there's anyone who will tell you Voice Link is better than the copper wire," says Steve Kunreuther, the treasurer of the Saltaire Yacht Club.

But Fire Island and a few other communities hit hard by Sandy have no other choice, even if residents don't like it.

Verizon installed two Voice Link boxes at the Saltaire Yacht Club on Fire Island. Residents complain that it doesn't offer Internet access and that call quality isn't as good.

Verizon insists that for most purposes, Voice Link is equivalent to a traditional land line. "I really take exception with the fact that some people think that Voice Link is an inferior product," says Tom Maguire, Verizon's senior vice president for national operations support. Besides, most calls on the island already come from cellphones anyway, Maguire says, just like in the rest of the country.

For nearly a century, the government has promoted universal access: the idea that anyone should be able to get a reliable home phone connection at a reasonable cost. But phone customers have been ditching traditional phone service. Some now get their home phone from the cable company. Others have gone completely wireless. Verizon has seen a 67 percent drop in the number of customers using copper landlines since 2000.

Regulators have to decide whether universal access still matters. Another question, asks Harold Feld, is, "Do we not care anymore?" Feld is the senior vice president of the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge.

"Is this something where the phone service of the future is going to be great where you can get it and great where you can afford it," he says, "but it's not going to be a public utility anymore, it's not going to be protected anymore, so you better hope you live someplace where it works right?"

Traditional phone companies like Verizon are still required to offer universal phone service in most places where they operate. Their competitors, like cable companies, are not, says Feld.

"Verizon and AT&T have been saying, 'Well look, it's not fair. We're no longer monopolies anymore. We can't subsidize the poor areas with the rich areas so we want a change,' " Feld says.

So, in a sense, Voice Link is a kind of compromise. It's the phone company saying: We'll give you a phone line, but one that's cheaper for us to operate.

From now on, when copper lines have problems, or if fiber optic lines aren't available, Verizon says it's going to promote Voice Link as a customer's best option. Each customer who switches to Voice Link saves the company about $600 a year.

It's up to regulators to decide whether that's a fair trade, and they're watching Fire Island as a test case. State regulators and the Federal Communications Commission are accepting public comments on the matter.

And they're getting an earful. Summer resident Connie Lawler told NPR she was distraught over the loss of her copper wires.

"If you can help us, you'll be our guardian angel," she said.

Dan Bobkoff/NPR

Added: July 25th, 2013 8:53AM   |   

CWA Local 1106 Golf Outing!!!

When: Monday, September 9, 2013, 10 am Shot Gun Start

Where: Brentwood Country Club, Brentwood, Long Island, (631) 436-6060 - Pro Shop

Cost: $150 Per Golfer

Spots are given on a first come, first serve basis. We are limited to 136 GOLFERS!

Get your money in!

Time's running out!

Contact Hondo at the office - (718)479-1106. Please make your check payable to:

CWA Local 1106 Special Events Fund


Added: July 19th, 2013 3:11PM   |   

Fighting to Fix the Broken Senate and Ensure Confirmation of Democratic NLRB Members

Finally, there was action in the U.S. Senate this week on nominations to several important executive branch positions.

First up was Richard Cordray, who, after a two-year wait, was confirmed as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by a 66-32 vote.

Today, July 18th, the Senate voted to confirm Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor by a 54-46 vote.

The Republican minority has blocked confirmations of Cordray, the administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Secretary of Labor and the head of the Export-Import Bank, among others, but its strongest attack was waged against Democratic nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.

Majority Leader Harry Reid won agreement from the Republican minority that nominations to the NLRB will get to the Senate next Thursday, July 25, and that a full, functional Board will be confirmed before the Senate leaves for its August recess.

The White House has put forward two new Democratic nominees, to replace Sharon Block and Richard Griffin. CWA President Larry Cohen praised Block and Griffin as extremely qualified and criticized the relentless attack waged against them by Republicans for no reason other than "they answered President Obama's call to serve."

Cohen said that the Senate's action "does raise the question of the seven nominations: why were two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board singled out?"

Senator Lindsay Graham, one of the loudest opponents of the NLRB, has said he will likely vote to confirm the new NLRB nominees.

"President Obama will nominate two good candidates to the NLRB who will stand up for the workplace rights of 80 million working Americans. We also commend Majority Leader Reid and most of the Senate Democratic majority for standing with President Obama and working to move all these nominations forward," Cohen said.

"Our main goal was to move all these nominations forward, and this agreement encourages us that we can move toward a 21st century democracy when we build a broad coalition like Fix the Senate Now to mobilize Americans and make sure their voices are heard."

Added: July 18th, 2013 8:37PM   |   

Attention Field Technicians!

The Company is significantly increasing the frequency of safety "work observations", safety 'blitzes" and safety "ride-alongs" by management and the Safety organizations (GEH&S). We believe this is in direct response to the upcoming trial (U.S. DOL vs Verizon)regarding the fatality of Doug Lalima in 2011. What is new is that GEH&S has recently hired outside contractors to "observe" FTs working. This will be occurring statewide.

Please spread the word that ther will be increased scrutiny and observations in the field and that everyone SHOULD WORK SAFELY, FOLLOW SAFE WORK PRACTICES, and WEAR ALL REQUIRED PPE. FTs will not necessarily know whois watching them or when. As always, if someone does not have the equipment/tools they need to perform their work safely they should request the equipment/tools from management.

Added: July 16th, 2013 8:56AM   |   

Reasons We Need the NLRB

NLRB Truth: 10 Reasons Why the National Labor Relations Board Matters

A radical decision by Republican-appointed federal judges threatens to destabilize the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) if the Board loses a quorum in August. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that two recess appointments made by President Barack Obama in January 2012 were invalid and now NLRB decisions made while those appointees served on the Board are being challenged based on the D.C. Circuit opinion and placed on hold pending resolution of this issue by the U.S. Supreme Court. This puts many workers across the country in dangerous and unfair situations that hurt them and their families. The Senate could go a long way towards fixing the problem by confirming five nominations the president has made to the Board, but Republicans continue to obstruct the process in an effort to disable the NLRB and prevent it from protecting the rights of American workers. Some, like Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have taken the extreme position that the NLRB should be "inoperable" and have vowed to block all nominations to the Board.

Here are ten examples—real stories from workers whose jobs and lives are negatively impacted by Republican obstruction—of why we need a functioning NLRB:

1. Dexter Wray, Alaska: Dexter worked as a maintenance engineer at a Sheraton in Anchorage. His manager pressured him and several of his co-workers to decertify their union and told them to lie to the NLRB. When they told the truth, Dexter and two of his co-workers were fired. The NLRB ruled that the firings and coercion were illegal, but the hotel has refused to rehire them. Dexter didn't work for six months and incurred a large medical debt when he lost his health insurance.

2. Michelle Baricko, Connecticut: Michelle is a certified nursing assistant at West River Health Care. She and her co-workers were locked out for months during contract negotiations. The hospital's owner, HealthBridge/CareOne, declared that negotiations were permanently stalled and implemented its own contract, which the employees did not agree to. The NLRB obtained a court injunction for the company to stop its unfair labor practices, but HealthBridge declared bankruptcy and was able to escape its obligations to the employees. The Board and the employees' union have appealed the decision. Michelle was forced to sell her home and still struggles to provide for her three sons.

3. Kathleen Von Eitzen, Michigan: Kathleen is a baker at Panera Bread who organized 17 of her coworkers to form a union. The company fought back, firing one employee and cutting Kathleen's pay, giving her a negative evaluation because of her organizing. The NLRB found that Panera violated the workers' rights and ordered the company to pay back and compensate employees for cutting their hours. Panera appealed and the case is now stalled in federal court. Kathleen's husband has had two heart attacks and can't work full time. They can't afford insurance because of her low pay and their home is now in foreclosure.

4.Susana Salgado Martinez, Nebraska: Susana was fired from Greater Omaha Packing Co., a meat packing plant, after she and fellow employees were accused of planning a strike. She and her co-workers complained that the production line was moving too fast for several new, inexperienced workers to keep up with and that they were not being paid adequately. A judge found that Susana and her co-workers were illegally fired and ordered that they be reinstated with back pay. The case is pending before the NLRB. Over the last year, she has been unable to find steady work and her family had to file for bankruptcy.

5. Juan Lopez, New Mexico: Juan worked as a janitor for Merchant Building Maintenance. He and several of his fellow employees complained about sexual harassment, disrespectful treatment by a supervisor and the failure to receive a promised pay raise. The company temporarily lost the contract that Juan was working on in the Santa Fe Public School District. When the company was rehired by the school district, Merchant refused to rehire the workers who complained. The NLRB found that failure to rehire those employees was illegal and that they should be reinstated and given back pay. The company has refused to comply with the ruling. Juan has been unable to find steady work since then and has had to skip paying some of his bills.

6. Clarence Adams, New York: Clarence is a Marine and Iraqi veteran who was fired by Cablevision for asking to meet with management, under the company's "open-door" policy, to discuss stalled contract negotiations. Two regional offices of the NLRB issued complaints against the company for illegally firing workers and for failing to bargain in good faith. The company has filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals to prevent the complaints from being enforced. Meanwhile, Clarence is struggling to provide for his family.

7. Jack Conway, Ohio: Jack and 15 other workers at aluminum products company KLB Industries were locked out during union negotiations. Five years later, KLB has refused to reinstate the workers or give them back pay as the NLRB and U.S. Court of Appeals have ordered. Conway hasn't found regular work since the lockout and has exhausted unemployment insurance. He barely survives on the $200 a week that the United Auto Workers (UAW) provides to him and the other locked-out workers.

8. Anonymous, Virginia: An employee at BaySys Technologies posted a comment on Facebook about not receiving paychecks on time. The company fired him or her and threatened to sue the employee for violating a non-disclosure agreement. The NLRB ruled the firing was illegal and ordered the company to reinstate him or her with back pay. An appeals court enforced the order, which couldn't have happened without a functioning NLRB.

9. Richard Salinas, Washington: After Richard and his fellow employees at Oak Harbor Freight Lines went on strike in 2008, the company stopped paying into the workers' pension and health care trust funds. The NLRB found this to be an illegal action and ordered the company to reimburse the funds for the missed payment and make up for personal losses the employees incurred when their health coverage lapsed. The Court of Appeals has delayed enforcing the decision because of the uncertainty about the NLRB. Richard said he's close enough to retirement that the missed payments won't affect him much, but he's worried about how the loss will affect his younger co-workers.

10. Dave Preast, West Virginia: Dave was a miner at the Cannelton mine in Smithers, W.Va., when the mine was purchased by a new company. The new owner refused to give him a job because of his union membership. The NLRB has ruled twice that the refusal was illegal, but Dave and 84 other miners have not been rehired or given the back pay they deserve. Dave has a 16-year-old son who has needed several surgeries for a life-threatening heart condition. Luckily, he was able to cover the surgeries through the state's CHIP program and Medicaid, otherwise the costs could have bankrupted the family. As of now, Dave is doing odd jobs to make ends meet, but without reinstatement he'll be forced to live on $500 a month when he retires.

There are many more stories of workers whose lives and livelihoods are in crisis because of this NLRB fight.

Reproduced from the AFL-CIO, July 12, 2013, newsletter.

Added: July 12th, 2013 1:13PM   |   

Week of Action

GIVE US 5: We deserve a fully functional National Labor Relations Board

The NLRB is the only agency that enforces workplace rights for more than 80 million employed in the private sector. Now, because of those in the Senate who insist on blocking nominations and preventing an up-or-down vote on them, we may lose a fully functioning NLRB with five members. If we cannot get Senate Democrats to push for all 5 of the NLRB nominations, passed Senate Republicans, we will not have any recourse for cases involving NLRB violations.

Starting today, we need to generate 1,000 calls to Senator Schumer and demand he fight for all 5 nominations. So far, he has only received 19 calls from CWA members!

Help Protect 80 Million Workers!

Call your Senator and tell them to vote to confirm the five NLRB nominees and to vote for a rules change if the nominees are blocked.

To find your Senator, go to: www.cwa-union.org/pages/nlrb5_call_your_senators


Call 1-888-966-9824


Text "NLRB" to 69866

Tell them:
- We deserve a fully functioning NLRB with five members.
- If the nominees are blocked, I urge you to vote for a rules change to allow for an up-or-down vote

Call today!!!

Added: June 27th, 2013 1:58PM   |   

By-law Change

The Local 1106 Election Committee counted the 469 ballots received yesterday. The result was: 294 voted in favor of a by-law change to increase our dues, 175 voted against. The by-law change has passed. The dues increase will become effective on October 1, 2013.

Thank you to all who cast a ballot.

Added: October 4th, 2013 9:28AM   |   

Information Regarding Vz Relief Fund, Retiree Life Insurance and LTC Insurance

Verizon Employee Relief Fund

Verizon will announce the Verizon Employee Relief Fund (the "Fund") on June 17, 2013. The initial employee fund raising campaign will begin on July 18, 2013 and run through August 19, 2013. Employees can donate to the Fund through payroll deduction, by check, credit card or donation of stock. Employee contributions will be tax deductible and awards will not be taxable to the recipients.

This Fund will enable Verizon and its employees to provide financial support to Verizon employees who are impacted by a qualifying natural or personal disaster substantially impacting the employee and their dependent's ability to safely reside in their primary place of residence. All Verizon employees will be eligible to voluntarily contribute to the Fund and receive grants from the Fund. Active employees can submit an application to receive help from the Fund without making any contributions toward it.

Qualifying disasters are presidentially-declared or other government/local official-declared natural disasters. The maximum grant award is $5000 per calendar year and can vary based upon the nature of the event, related expenses, and number of dependents living in the primary residence affected by the disaster.

Retiree Basic Life Insurance

We have been informed by the Company that the Verizon Group Life Insurance Plan for New York and New England was being administered incorrectly. Retirees were being allowed to reduce their basic life insurance amount to $50,000. They were also allowed to increase their basic life insurance after making this reduction. They will no longer be allowed to increase their insurance after making a reduction to $50,000 effective January 1, 2014.

We signed a Letter of Agreement which will continue to provide our retirees the opportunity to reduce their basic life insurance to $50,000 if they choose to.

Verizon Group Insurance Program (LTC)

Effective July 1, 2013, the Prudential Life Insurance Company of America (Prudential) will no longer issue new long-term care (LTC) insurance policies to eligible Verizon employees and retirees and Verizon will no longer offer eligible employees and retirees the opportunity to purchase LTC insurance after this date.

If employees and retirees are currently enrolled in LTC coverage with Prudential, no action is required on their part should they wish to continue coverage. Be advised that the rate guarantee for Verizon LTC policyholders will expire on December 31, 2016, and as a result, their rates for coverage may materially increase and policy holders may be required to pay a higher premium if they continue coverage after that date.

Eligible employees and retirees may submit new enrollment applications no later than June 30, 2013 by calling Prudential at 1-888-989-4778. Customer Service Reps are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EST. You can also enroll or just get more information at www.prudential.com/gltcweb/verizon.

Added: October 24th, 2013 11:26AM   |   

End of Linked Weekend Tour Trial

The Company has informed the Union that, as set forth in our agreement, it is terminating the Linked Weekend Tour Trial, effective June 30, 2013.

Added: June 9th, 2013 2:14PM   |   


Verizon received $185 million in public funds (our tax dollars) to rebuild in lower Manhattan after 9/11.

Now they want to move 1100 workers out of lower Manhattan and sell or lease most of 140 West St. Our tax dollars shouldn't subsidize Verizon's luxury real estate deals. Say NO!

Politicians, Community Board 1 and business owners throughout lower Manhattan have joined CWA in telling Verizon: Don't abandon lower Manhattan. Keep Verizon workers at 140 West St.!

Rally Thursday, June 20, 5:30 pm at 140 West St. Come and add your voice! Remember to wear red!

Added: May 30th, 2013 5:52PM   |   

Make A Call To Save Our Work!!

Last Thursday, May 16th, the New York Public Service Commission held a hearing for Verizon's attempt to abandon the landline in New York. Verizon attempted to amend its tariff so that the company could abandon copper wire in favor of a wireless alternative, called Voice Link. While Verizon focused on the west end of Fire Island, its amended tariff would have applied to all of New York State. The PSC granted limited approval that will apply to Fire Island only, while they continue to review the issue and weigh public comment. This small, but temporary victory is due to the work you put in collecting signatures on our petitions and having our local elected leaders lending their support. Our work is not done! We cannot let Verizon successfully change the law in New York State that will do away with your work and do away with you! We will be in Albany over the next month working to get laws passed to protect our work and your jobs! We need every member to call their Assemblyman and New York Senator to tell them we expect them to co-sponsor and vote for these job saving bills. They are the following:

FiOS Study Bill Number A 6003
Call Center Bill Number A 7144 / Senate Version S4434
Voice Link Moratorium Bill - Bill Number 'pending' and
Safe Patient Handling Bill A 2180 A/S 1123 A

We cannot afford to have anyone sit on the sidelines! Everyone must call to support our efforts in Albany!

The Assembly Switchboard # is: 518-455-4100
The Senate Switchboard # is: 518-455-2800

If you do not know who your Assemblyman or Senator is, Google NYS Assembly and NYS Senate and put in your address and zip code and it will tell you who represents you in New York State.

The time is now brothers and sisters to fight for our jobs! The time is now to fight for our work! Make the call now!

Added: June 17th, 2013 2:41PM   |   

May 7th Membership Meeting

Last night, Tuesday, May 7th, this local held a General Membership Meeting. Turnout was disappointing, but we did have a quorum, so were able to conduct a vote on the referendum vote for a dues increase. The vote was unanimously in favor of the referendum vote. This means that within the next few weeks every member of the local will receive a ballot at their home so that they can vote for or against the increase.

The Executive Board, District Stewards and Shop Stewards have been distributing informational sheets explaining the need for an increase from the 1.57% we are paying now to the 1.95% we are asking to increase to. If you have not seen this sheet, please ask your steward for one or call the local. The sheet includes a chart showing each craft title and what the increase means to each member monetarily.

We encourage you to support our need for an increase. We have not had a dues increase in over 25 years and, as we all know, times are changing and our numbers are dwindling. The loss of revenue and increase in expenses makes running our local very difficult. We currently pay less in dues than nearly every other local, and the lowest amount allowed by our Constitution. We wish to remain an independent local, focused on our Queens members, providing the best possible service. We can't guarantee our ability to do this with the dues structure we are currently working with.

We will notify you when the ballots are going out and when they need to be returned. Please read the sheet, talk to your union representatives and make an informed decision. If you are aware of the reality of the consequences of loss of membership we're sure you'll vote "Yes", for the good of our local and, ultimately, your own good.

Added: May 8th, 2013 2:45PM   |   


Membership Meeting
May 7, 2013.
5:30 p.m.

VFW Post #6478
242-37 Braddock Ave
Bellerose NY 11426


No one should work overtime on the night of this, or any meeting. Management can ask you but cannot charge you for refusal!

See our Contract::

Article 12

(a) Each local union may designate one general membership meeting in each quarter of the calendar year for which it desires the cooperation of the Company in excusing employees from overtime assignments in order that the employees may attend that meeting. If the local union notifies the Company of the meeting date and time of the general membership meeting so designated at least fifteen (15) calendar days in advance of that meeting, the Company shall not require any employee who wishes to attend that meeting to work overtime which would prevent the employee from attending that meeting.

(b) In addition to the above, after the requirements of the job have been met, management may excuse employees from overtime work to attend other regularly scheduled local union meetings provided that the local union advises the Company in advance of the meeting dates and times. Efforts will be made to excuse officers of the union (including cheif stewards and area representatives).

(c) Overtime will not be charged where employees are excused to attend local union meetings under a) and b) above.

Added: May 1st, 2013 3:00PM   |   

Full Out Attack on the NLRB

Last Friday, House Republicans pushed through H.R. 1120, a bill that would essentially shut down the National Labor Relations Board. Piling on a recent Court of Appeals ruling challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's recess appointments to the NLRB, the legislation seeks to freeze all NLRB activities that require a quorum of board members. It would also bar the NLRB from enforcing any decisions it has made since Jan. 4, 2012, when Obama made those disputed recess appointments.

The legislation is the latest example of an all-out assault by many Republicans on the NLRB and on basic worker protections. While 10 Republicans stood up for workers' basic protections and voted "no" on H.R. 1120, the vast majority of Republican members of Congress voted for the bill's passage.

In The Huffington Post, CWA President Larry Cohen wrote:

How did we get here? The blame mainly falls on the broken Senate rules.

When Obama took office, the NLRB only had two members. In April 2009, Obama nominated three people to serve on the NLRB – Mark Pearce (D), Craig Becker (D) and Brian Hayes (R). Yet Senate Republicans' silent filibusters were effective in preventing a Senate vote on these nominees.

In March 2010, Obama recess appointed Becker and Pearce to the board. In June, the Senate confirmed Pearce and Hayes, but continued to block Becker.

When Becker's recess appointment expired on Jan. 3, 2012, the NLRB didn't have a quorum to make decisions. Confronted with Senate Republicans intent on undermining the NLRB's authority, Obama made three recess appointments – Sharon Block (D), Richard Griffin (D) and Terence Flynn (R) – to guarantee a fully functioning board. These members joined Pearce and Hayes, who left the board in December 2012. (Flynn resigned after an ethics scandal in March 2012.)

Senate Republicans argued the Senate had not formally recessed, but stayed in a "pro forma" session even though no business took place. Later, the Court of Appeals' three-judge panel – all appointed by Republicans – made their Noel Canning ruling.

But Obama's actions weren't unusual. In fact, every president has made similar recess appointments. More than 300 such appointments were made by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama.

The president didn't have to resort to such measures, if only the Senate had reformed its outdated rules. The ability of Senators to endlessly hold up presidential nominations was a big reason why Fix the Senate Now coalition pushed to overhaul the rules earlier this year. Unfortunately, those reforms didn't happen. As a result, even the Court of Appeals that decided Noel Canning is currently missing three justices, thanks to the broken Senate rules and the determination of Republican Senators to block nearly every judicial nomination made by Obama.

Republicans created this quagmire. And now those lawmakers, beholden to corporate interests, seek to further gut U.S. labor law.

At last count, 87 companies are using Noel Canning to challenge decisions issued by the NLRB and its regional offices, including McDonalds and Starbucks. They're attempting to overturn or block union elections, undo penalties awarded to fired workers and halt subpoenas.

Workers who have been vindicated by the board, following years of struggle against employers with deep pockets and expensive legal teams, are, at best, in limbo and, at worst, likely to lose everything they rightfully deserve.

For example, in 2008, a NLRB administrative law judge found that CNN created a phony reorganization explicitly to get rid of technicians because they had a union, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA. The judge ordered CNN to reinstate 110 workers, restore the economic losses of all 250 workers and recognize and bargain with NABET-CWA. Yet those workers still don't have their jobs, their back pay or their union.

The NLRB will ask the Supreme Court to take up Noel Canning by April 25. If the decision stands, some 600 NLRB decisions could be thrown out.

But H.R. 1120 has jumped the gun. Instead of waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the matter, it improperly involves Congress in the judicial review of the president's recess appointment powers.

Meanwhile, White House appointments are certain to be blocked by the same obstructionist Republican senators who are determined to keep the NLRB from operating.

This is not what democracy looks like. This calculated weakening of the NLRB potentially harms millions of workers, both union-represented and non-union.

Today the NLRB has no teeth, but if H.R. 1120 has its way, tomorrow it might not survive. A vote for H.R. 1120 is a vote to send this country to a pre-1935 era, before the National Labor Relations Act. It was a time when employers could punish, spy on and blacklist union members. It was a time when employers could legally bribe workers with rewards or promises during union elections.

To protect working Americans, the Senate majority must force confirmation of the White House's package of five NLRB members and general counsel and, if necessary, changing the Senate rules to do so. Otherwise, the United States becomes the only global democracy without any meaningful labor law.

CWA Newsletter, April 18, 2013

Added: April 18th, 2013 5:54PM   |   


NLRB Charges CEO James Dolan with Personally Violating Federal Labor Law at Meetings of Bronx Workers Prior to Election

NLRB authorizes official complaint finding that company repeatedly violated federal law by intimidating Bronx technicians organizing to join CWA union.

New York, NY - Region 2 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has authorized the issuance of a federal complaint against Cablevision because the company illegally intimidated, harassed and essentially bribed workers in the Bronx during a union representation election last year. The NLRB has given the Company several days to seek a settlement.

"Whether it's interfering with a fair election in the Bronx or refusing to sign a fair contract in Brooklyn, Cablevision's behavior is despicable and shameful," said Chris Calabrese, Executive Vice President of CWA Local 1109, the lead organizer in CWA's contract campaign for Cablevision workers in Brooklyn. "There's no excuse for any business to intimidate its workers in an effort to prevent them from exercising their right to organize and join a union."

In Brooklyn, Cablevision illegally fired 22 workers engaged in an attempt to meet with management about the slow pace of bargaining on January 30. Unfair labor practice charges on this matter are pending before the NLRB, even though all the workers have been returned to their jobs as a result of massive community and political pressure.

Inspired by 282 Brooklyn Cablevision technicians who voted to join the Communication Workers of America on January 26, 2012 -- despite a campaign of harassment and intimidation by company executives and managers -- Bronx technicians at the company began organizing their own effort to join the union. They received support from Rev. Jesse Jackson and a host of New York City elected officials including Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Speaker Christine Quinn, and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.

But Cablevision management was determined to prevent Bronx technicians from joining their co-workers in Brooklyn, and hired a union-busting law firm to wage a brutal, illegal, anti-union campaign. The NLRB has authorized issuing a complaint finding that Cablevision and Dolan violated the National Labor Relations Act in the following ways:

* In a speech to Bronx workers two days before the NLRB vote, CEO James Dolan personally threatened to deny workers job opportunities and training if they voted for the Union.

* Dolan illegally sought to try to address workers' grievances and offer benefits to induce them not to vote for the Union in a speech in Februaury, 2012.

* And Cablevision illegally gave raises of $2 - $9 - as much as $18,000 a year - to nearly 10,000 employees outside of Brooklyn, but not to the Brooklyn workers, in order to induce workers to vote against the Union.

"We predict James Dolan will try to sweep these charges under the rug by seeking a settlement of the complaint with the NLRB," Calabrese said. "He knows his actions were so egregious that no judge will find him innocent. If there was no guilt on his part, surely an individual of his reputation would have the courage of his convictions to stand trial and prove his innocence."

Cablevision is locked in a bitter dispute with its workers in Brooklyn, as well, even going so far as to illegally fire and lock out its employees. The firings were the latest action in a more than year-long anti-union campaign waged against the workers, intended to intimidate them from exercising their labor rights. While the Company, under pressure, rehired the workers, the Company continues to refuse to provide the workers with their back pay. CWA has also filed charges at the NLRB that Cablevision is engaged in "bad faith bargaining", sitting at the negotiating table and talking without any intention of actually reaching a fair contract agreement.

Article reproduced from The WiRE, April 8, 2013, Issue 77

Added: April 9th, 2013 2:45PM   |   


UPDATE: All 22 fired workers rehired, fighting now for a fair contract

ACTION: Turnout Monday, March 25th, 10:30 am for Congressional Fact-finding Hearing at the Brooklyn Borough Hall in the Community Room

All Techs Now Back At Work

We are extremely pleased to report that the last illegally locked out tech, Ray Reid, was re-hired yesterday afternoon. The tremendous outpouring of support and pressure forced Cablevision to bring back all the workers. The workers in the shop are overjoyed. Now we need to use this momentum to get the Company to settle a fair contract. As of now, Cablevision continues to refuse to bargain in good faith.

We need you to turn out: Congres to hold forum on Cablevision Union Busting March 25.
On Monday, March 25th, there will be a congressional inquiry about Cablevision union busting. It will take place in the Community Room at the Brooklyn Borough Hall. The hearing will start at 11 am, but we are asking everyone to be there by 10:30 am. The Fact Finding Forum led by U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee Democrats is titled "Understanding Problems in First Contract Negotiations: Cablevision and Worker's Rights."

This is a Federal Congressional Hearing by the Democrats (Republicans will not participate, obviously they tried to stop this forum from happening.) We know it's on very short notice but we need to ensure a big turnout since this will be a high-profile, high-impact event (the time and place were confirmed just last night).

Location and time:
Monday, March 25 @ 10:30 am
Community Room in Brooklyn Borough Hall
206 Joralemon St.
Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall or A, C, F to Jay Street Borough Hall

Added: March 22nd, 2013 1:42PM   |   

Want Nationwide Free WiFi? So Does the FCC!

The Federal Communications Commission's plan to create free public WiFi networks across the nation is rallying the open internet troops -- and seriously rattling the $178 billion wireless industry.

When free WiFi first appeared, it generated an explosion of innovation that helped level the playing field for the underprivileged and change the face of modern technology.

But a further expansion of free WiFi would also allow us to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cell carrier for the privilege -- which is why companies like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless are doing their best to take it down.

Facts are facts: by breaking the wireless provider monopoly on wireless access, we have a chance to expand Internet use to the poor, bolster innovation and help create a more vibrant online community. Help us take WiFi from carrier-centric to user-centric: Write the FCC to show your support now!

MESSAGE FOR FCC CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI: We stand with your quest to provide nationwide free public WiFi over the next several years, and urge you not to back down when facing threats to innovation from carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.

Please copy & paste this link to your browser to sign: http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/2369?n=18844166.-vCiZX.

It only takes a minute!


Added: March 15th, 2013 1:12PM   |   

No FiOS for Brookhaven?

Verizon refuses to bring FiOS to Brookhaven Town! There is no competition to
Cablevision for telephone,television and internet/data services. Brookhaven
residents pay higher rates to Cablevision than residents that live in towns
that have FiOS. The digital divide grows! No FiOS means loss of jobs for the
members of CWA 1108 in Suffolk! We ALL need FiOS in Brookhaven for good jobs
and fair prices!

That's why we're asking you to sign a petition to Governor Andrew Cuomo, which says:

"Dear Governor Cuomo,
We the undersigned urge you to demand that Verizon build FiOS, the state of
the art fiber optic network, throughout Brookhaven Town. Tell Verizon CEO,
Lowell McAdam that we need good jobs, economic development, and true
competition in phone, internet, and TV that a FiOS build can bring to

Will you sign this petition? You can copy and paste the link below to your browser:

033408> &r_by=7033408

Added: March 14th, 2013 1:02PM   |   

Verizon Corporate Profit Share Award for 2012

The Company announced today that the CPS award for full time employees is $675. The award was calculated at $675 but will be paid at the minimum negotiated amount of $700. The award will be pro-rated for part-time employyees and those employees who participated for more than 3 months but less than 12 in the plan year.

The award will be paid on March 15th, 2013 based on your regular payroll distribution schedule.

Added: March 6th, 2013 3:24PM   |   

2009 Layoff Arbitration

We have received the decision of the arbitrator regarding the "2009 Layoff Arbitration". It did not go our way. The arbitrator has denied our grievance. There will be a conference call to discuss what our attorney believes this decision means.

Added: March 6th, 2013 8:47AM   |   

Should You Contribute to Pension Plans and IRAs?

If you,re eligible to contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, should you? Should you contribute to an individual retirement account (IRA)? How about contributing to both? The answers are: Yes, yes and yes. if this comes as a surprise, it's probably because there are so many rules about eligibility for contributing to IRAs and workplace retirement plans that it's easy to become confused about what is allowed and what isn't.

But whatever rules there are, one thing is never ruled out: you can always contribute to both a workplace retirement plan - like a 401(k) or a 457 plan - and an IRA, as long as you have earnrd income. What"s open to question are how much you can contribute, to which type of account, and whether your contributions are tax deductible. Keep these three important points in mind:

Point 1: There are limits to your annual contributions. Every year, the IRS sets limits on how much you can contribute to retirement plans, and the amounts are different for different kinds of plans. The one rule common to them all is this: you can't contribute more than your earned income (except for contributions to a spousal IRA for a spouse who does not work.)

Let's say your employer sponsors a 401(k) plan. If you participate in the plan by a) making contributions of your own, b) your employer makes contributions for you, or c) you and your employer both contribute to your account, then you can still contribute to your own IRA outside the workplace. If you're 49 or younger, in 2012, you can contribute $17,000 to a 401(k) plan and another $5,000 to an IRA, for a total of $22,000 in retirement plan contributions. If you're 50 or older, those numbers are $22,500 for the workplace paln and $6,000 for an IRA, for a total of $28,500.

Point 2: Your income can affect the tax treatment of IRA contributions. Originally, there was only one kind of IRA: the kind that enabled you to reduce your taxable income by the amount of your contributions. Today, it's referred to as a "traditional" IRA, to ditinguish it from a Roth IRA, to which you can only contribute after-tax money.

There are good reasons to choose either the traditional or Roth IRA, but if you participate in a workplace retirement plan and have income above the IRS limits, your ability to take the tax deduction for a contribution to a trditional IRA is limited. In 2012, tax deductibity begins to phase out if you're a single filer and earn more that $58,000, and disappears altogether at $68,000. For joint filers, the ranges are higher: $92,000 to $112,000.

Take note, however: if you make too much to be eligible for the up-front income tax benefit in the year you contribute to a traditional IRA, you can still make contributions to it and to your workplace retirement plan. In this case, you might want to consider contributing to a Roth IRA instead. But here, too, you might be limited by income: for 2012, eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA phases out for single filers with AGIs above $110,000, and joint filers with AGIs above $173,000, and disappears completely for those earning more than $125,000 and $183,000, respectively.

Point 3: Doing either can build assets faster - both, faster yet. The complexity of the rules regarding whether IRA contributions are tax deductible has obscured the most important benefit of qualified retirement plans: they compound free of annual taxes. This gives them a distinct advantage over taxable savings accounts, because at the same rate of return, assets grow faster when returns are not taxed.

For someone with an effective federal tax rate of 25%, an annual contribution of $5,000 to a taxable account that returns 6% a year grows to almost $223,000 in 25 years. But that same contribution to an IRA at the same rate of return grows to more than $274,000 - a difference of more than $50,000 regardless of whether the contributions were tax deductible. Increase the contributions to $20,000 a year, and the assets grow to nearly $1.1 million after 25 years - and the advantage over a taxable account exceeds $200,000. These examples are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to project the performance of a specific investment vehicle.

The bottom line: you should contribute as much as possible to tax-advantaged retiremement plans. For many people who work, there are multiple retirement savings options available, including dividing your IRA contributions between a traditional and a Roth IRA. There are even IRA options open for nonworking spouses. To make sure you're taking full advantage of the options open to you, please call.
If taken prior to age 59 1/2, withdrawals from qualified plans or IRAs may be subject to federal taxes and a penalty.

This article was reproduced from "Retirement Insights", a newsletter by Guided Professional Solutions LLC

Added: March 4th, 2013 2:26PM   |   


Annual Golf Outing

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Charity Golf Outing

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

See you then!

Added: March 4th, 2013 12:19PM   |   


VFW POST #6478

Added: February 11th, 2013 10:11AM   |   

Cablevision Rally

On January 30th Cablevision illegally locked out and fired 22 CWA Local 1109 workplace activists at Brooklyn Cablevision who were seeking to have a brief meeting with management about their grievances.

We cannot allow this corporate anti-union activity to stand! We need to mobilize to support the Cablevision 22.

There will be a rally on Wednesday, February 6, 5:30 p.m., at 9502 Avenue D, Brooklyn

Come and show your support and outrage!

Added: February 4th, 2013 5:10PM   |   

CWA Disaster Relief Fund

The CWA National has a Disaster Relief Fund which exists to help members who are experiencing financial hardships due to national disasters as declared by FEMA. Hurricane Sandy has been declared a national disaster. If you have been affected by it, you may be able to get help.

"Hurricane Sandy has brought major devastation to our area," said Assistant to the District 1 VP, Dennis Trainor. "Hundreds if not thousands of District 1 members have suffered significant damage to their homes. Many of our members have lost homes and cars and others have lost everything. Many of our members have been forced to leave their homes because of the damages caused by this hurricane. For some members, it will be months before they can return to their homes and for others it will be much longer while they wait to rebuild."

The CWA Disaster Relief Fund may, with documentation, provide a benefit up to $1,000. This fund will provide a member with a subsidy based on their essential losses with their primary homes. Not all members will be eligible because it is not their primary home. For others it will not be enough.

A call will be sent out to all CWA Locals in the country to help our district. Secretary-Treasurer, Annie Hill, will issue a plea to every member to give generously to the Hurricane sandy Fund.The more that is donated, the more members can be helped. Forms will be sent to every local next week listing the criteria needed to receive money from this fund. Please save photographs or any documentation that you have to show how you were affected by the storm. Your District Stewards and Shop Stewards will be asking for names of members in need.

More information will be posted as we receive it.

Added: November 15th, 2012 8:55AM   |   

Open Enrollment Information

* The Company announced that it will extend the Open Enrollment period until December 6th

Open Enrollment for both our active and retired members will run from Wednesday November 7, 2012 to Wednesday November 21, 2012, at 11:59 PM.



There are changes to all Medical plan options and prescription drug coverage and you should review all the material before making decisions.

YOU must go online and certify that neither you nor your covered dependents use tobacco.

If you do NOT certify, you will be defaulted into the Tobacco user category and you will pay $600 more for medical coverage.

Tobacco users can complete a Tobacco Cessation Program which will qualify them for the $600 reduction.

You must complete the Health Assessment before December 31, 2012, through Benefit Connection to qualify for the $100 deduction for medical coverage. The Health Assessment is a simple, confidential questionnaire which takes about 10 minutes to complete. Starting November 7, 2012, you can take the Health Assessment, accessible through Benefits Connections. ( www.verizon.com/benefitsconnections )

If you are happy with your current health plan and want to continue it, there is nothing you need to do but you still must complete the Health Assessment questionnaire and certify that neither you nor your covered dependents use tobacco to qualify for the deductions.

Any Time Enrollment is no longer available – Changes can ONLY be made during Open Enrollment with the exemption of a Qualified Status Change. Examples of a Qualified Status Change are adding a spouse if you get married, added a child when there is a birth of new baby.

EPO is no longer open to new enrollments. If someone who now has the EPO choses another plan then they will no longer be able to re-enroll in the EPO in the future.

For retirements January 1, 2013 and later, if you are enrolled in an HMO/EPO at retirement, you may continue in it as long as it is offered and/or until Medicare –eligible.

If you are not enrolled in an HMO/EPO at retirement, you cannot enroll in an HMO/EPO as a retiree.


Starting with Annual Enrollment, Verizon will transition to Zerox HR Solutions. Hewitt will no longer handle Verizon Benefits after December 31, 2012. The NEW Verizon Benefit Center can be reached at 1-855-4VzBens (1-855-489-2367).

Access 2013 Annual Enrollment information online at Benefits Connections: www.verizon.com/benefitsconnections

You should continue to call the current Benefits Center (1-877-4VZBens) 1-877-489-2367 until December 31, 2012 for 2012 benefits.


If you need any printed materials mailed to your home, call the Verizon Benefits Center at 1-855-4VzBens (1-855-489-2367) as soon as possible.


You MUST complete the Health Assessment questionnaire and you must go online and certify that neither you nor your covered dependents use tobacco in order to qualify for the premium reductions.

Added: October 24th, 2013 11:18AM   |   

CWA Members Ratify A New Contract

CWA members ratified a four-year agreement covering about 35,000 workers from Virginia to New England.

Contract highlights include an 8.2 percent compounded wage increase over the next three years, and additional cash payments. Also on ratification, CWA members who were fired by Verizon during the August 2011 strike will return to work.

"This contract ensures that every one of our members will see an improvement in their standard of living. It was a tough fight, and we turned back efforts by the company to gut our contracts. Now, we'll keep up the fight to expand good jobs for Verizon workers," said CWA District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton, who represents members in New York, New Jersey and New England.

CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney, who represents Verizon workers in the mid-Atlantic States, said, "The unity and determination of CWA and the IBEW over 16 months of bargaining, and the support of our allies, made this contract possible. Our goal now is to make certain that CWA members continue to be a key part of this company's future."

The contract had expired in August 2011. A two-week strike, an active member mobilization and support campaign by progressive allies, and final intensive negotiations under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service brought about this settlement. The new contract expires August 2015.

Added: October 24th, 2013 11:17AM   |   


The Collective Bargaining Agreement has officially been ratified. Raises will become effective on October 21st, 2012.

Added: October 26th, 2012 3:33PM   |   


Because of American Crystal Sugar’s continued refusal to end its 14-month lockout of more than 1,300 workers and return to the bargaining table, working families across the country today launched a boycott against American Crystal Sugar (ACS) products. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says:

Making record profits while giving working families and communities the shaft is just plain wrong.

Despite record profits for ACS last year—including giving $2.4 million in compensation to CEO David Berg—the company's board demanded cuts to workers' health care coverage and elimination of seniority rights. Says Trumka:

Workers want to rejoin the ACS family, but shouldn’t be expected to give up their voice on the job.

You can sign a pledge to support the workers and to boycott American Crystal Sugar products.

The workers at the American Crystal Sugar facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota are members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM). Many of these workers have been with ACS for decades and helped build the company to be a leader in the industry.

While the workers have been without income or health care since the lockout began in August 2011, Berg has enjoyed the 50% pay raise he granted himself. Last month, children and grandchildren of the workers sent letters to Berg telling him how their families and communities are hurting because of the boycott. Ten-year-old Sophia Frank wrote:

I'm sorta worried that we're about to run out of food or lose our home because my dad’s out of work for so long.

Trumka says, “The greed of Berg and ACS board members is taking an economic toll on communities across the Midwest.”

Sugar beet farmers are being forced to “turn under” their crops and are seeing significantly lower payments for their beets compared with what they get from other sugar producers. Small businesses are losing revenue because workers and their families can’t spend like they did before the lockout.

Trumka says:

Corporate greed isn’t sweet no matter how many spoons of sugar you take with it.

Sign the pledge now to boycott American Crystal Sugar products.

Added: October 18th, 2012 10:11AM   |   

Important Letter From VP Shelton Regarding the Contract

October 1, 2012

Dear Fellow CWA Member at Verizon,

I am writing to explain to you why I think it is critical for you to vote to ratify our recently
negotiated contract with Verizon that has been recommended by your elected Bargaining

I wish I could have the opportunity to talk to each of you personally, but with nearly 18,000
District One Verizon members spread out from Massachusetts to New Jersey, that obviously
isn’t possible.

There’s a lot of heated rhetoric flying back and forth now about the contract. Some members and
a handful of local leaders are calling this contract a “sellout” and urging that we go on strike. I
respectfully disagree with them, in large part because I don’t think they can really answer this
fundamental question: “What happens after we turn the contract down?”

So I hope that before you cast your vote, you will read this letter carefully and seriously consider
what I have to say.

First of all, let me be clear: in the 44 years that I have been in CWA, these were by far the most
difficult contract negotiations we have ever faced.

There are many reasons for this and we all should be aware of them: the enormous decline in
private sector union membership over the last two decades, to under 7% today the loss of half of
our own membership at Verizon in the last 10 years the fact that virtually all workers, in both
the public and private sectors, now contribute substantially to the cost of their health care
premiums—on average 28% of the cost for family coverage.

On top of that, our industry has changed dramatically. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is blunt:
“The vision that I have is we are going into the copper plant areas and every place we have
FiOS, we are going to kill the copper… And then in other areas that are more rural and more
sparsely populated, we have got LTE built that will handle all of those services and so we
are going to cut the copper off there. We are going to do it over wireless.”

In other words, the company is abandoning the network that provides work for most of our
members.As leaders, in considering the union’s course of action, the Bargaining Committee had to weigh
all these factors. It is easy to just say “no.” It is easy to scream “sellout.” It is easy to walk out
the door. It’s getting back in that is hard.

That’s why I urge you consider this question very seriously—if we turn down this contract, what
will happen next?

It is clear to me, after more than a year of bargaining and mobilization, that we have negotiated
the best possible contract we can get. There is no more to be won by talking at the bargaining
The question, then, is “are we prepared to strike?” What are the risks of a strike? What would our
strike issues be, would we enjoy public support for our strike, how long could we sustain our
strike, and how effective would it be? I ask you to think these questions over seriously.
First, you should be aware of the specific provisions of the contract that go into effect only upon

• The return to work of the fired workers. If we strike, those workers will be back on
the street, with no arbitration and their only recourse will be to the NLRB, which
takes years and years to make a decision and no guarantees it will go our way.

• The $800 signing bonus will be lost.

• The first raise of 2.25% will be lost
Next, let’s talk first about health care.

None of us—least of all me--are happy about the decision to pay a share of health premiums. But
you should know that the Bargaining Committee and the Local Presidents have been wrestling
with the question of whether health care should be a strike issue for months. In January 2012, the
two groups decided unanimously that our number one priorities were job security and
pensions for active employees. However, at that point, I was not prepared to make any
compromise offer on health care premiums at the bargaining table
Then in early May, nearly six months ago, at another meeting of the Local Presidents and
Bargaining Committee, we reached another unanimous decision on a “what if” proposal to the
company, in which we offered to phase in modest payments for health care premiums in
exchange for the company withdrawing a range of other retrogressive demands. In the May 7
2012 Bargaining Report, we were upfront with our members about this decision. We had
decided that our most important objectives were job security, pensions, disability benefits
and retiree benefits.

I do not believe that this company will ever settle a contract without some contribution towards
the cost of premiums. The world has changed drastically since 1989, when it took us four months
in the street to fend off premium contributions. At that time, most workers and most unions had
free health care. As I mentioned earlier, virtually no one does today.

Besides, how much public sympathy would we have gotten during a strike once the public found
out that three years from now, our members will be paying $110 a month for family coverage
and $55 a month for individual coverage? The Con Ed workers in New York City—who were
recently locked out for 26 days—will be paying $94 a WEEK for health care by the time we’re
paying $110 a month. Nationally, workers pay 28% of the cost of family coverage, and with the
average cost of a family plan around $15,000 a year, that works out to $4200 a year. Our family health care costs are $32,000 a year—if we paid the same percentage as the typical U.S. worker,
the cost would be $8960—not the $1320 we negotiated.

How about the issue of 401(k)s for new hires? Ask yourself, how long would you personally be
willing to stay on the street to guarantee a defined benefit pension for workers who are not yet
hired—and may never be? In fact, it’s important to remember that the company has barely hired
anyone new over the last decade. There’s no army of new hires waiting outside Verizon’s doors.
But if some workers are in fact hired, we have negotiated an enhanced 401(k) plan that will give
them a real opportunity to save for retirement.

No one wanted to give up a defined benefit pension for new hires. But we had to weigh that
against the risk of 4, 5, or 6 months of lost pay for the 18,000 of you we represent right now.

And finally, would striking be the best strategy? At a time when the company is abandoning the
copper business…at a time when the company could give a cell phone to any customer who had
service problems during a strike….at a time when all of our call center work could be rerouted,
permanently, at the flick of a switch,your leadership decided that striking was a weapon we would use only as a last resort..

If we had to defend the pensions of active members if we had to defend the job security of the
current workforce if we had to ensure a decent wage increase if we had to bring back the jobs
of the fired workers—we were prepared to strike. In July, when it seemed like the company was
preparing to go to impasse and shove those demands down our throat, we in fact began preparing
for another strike.

But calling a strike is a decision no leader takes lightly. I felt that District 2-13 Vice President Ed
Mooney and I held the responsibility for leading 34,000 CWA families into a long, long strike.
Families—not just workers. Families with mortgages, rents, mouths to feed, and tuition to pay
At a time when working for the telephone company is one of the last good, family-supporting
working class jobs left, we thought long and hard before putting those jobs at risk.

That’s why we decided to go to federal mediation in a last-ditch effort to avoid a lengthy and
potentially destructive strike. The possibility of conflict also brought our top-level political allies
into the battle, and they pressured management to abandon its most extreme demands.
That’s why we were willing to endure over 7 weeks of intensive mediation and negotiation, in an
effort to get management to back off on huge issues like job security and gutting the pensions of
current employees. These were demands that the company had not moved on for a year. When
management did back off, and when wages and other significant improvements fell into place,
your Bargaining Committee decided unanimously that we had won a good contract that protected
the living standards and job security of our membership. Yes, we took a step back in certain
areas. We had to bend in order not to break. But we believed that in balancing all the factors,
going on strike over the remaining issues made no sense.
I urge you to vote Yes because this is a good contract, the best that could be negotiated, and
because a strike could put at risk everything we have. This contract includes:
• An 8.2% compounded wage increase over the next three years.
• A signing bonus of $800, and a minimum of $700 in corporate profit sharing each of
the next three years.
• The creation of an $850 tax-free Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) that can offset
new health care costs.• The preservation of all of our no-layoff, no forced transfer, no downgrade language.
• The preservation of the restrictions on movement of work out of the region.
• The preservation of pensions for the current workforce, with no reductions.
• The unconditional return to work of all but one fired CWA member.
• The preservation of shift and weekend differentials that the company sought to
• A “call-sharing” program among different call centers that guarantees us a percentage
of work that we never previously had, with new penalties built into the agreement to
provide additional job security provisions for those who are not covered under Job
Security Letter.
Given what is going on at bargaining tables in industries across the country, I believe that this
contract represents a tremendous victory against a giant corporation that was hell-bent on
destroying us. Not only did they not break us, every one of our members will see an
improvement in their standard of living over the life of the contract.
When we started bargaining in June 2011, we had the best contract in the telecom industry. I can
tell you unequivocally, even though this contract may not be perfect, it is still the best contract
in the industry. I am proud of what we accomplished at the bargaining table.
I really urge you to focus on this: It is easy to say “no.” It is easy to scream “sellout.” It is even
easy to call a strike—if you do not take seriously the responsibility for what would happen to
34,000 CWA families during a lengthy strike.
I truly believe—and so did your Bargaining Committee—that if we did go out, most likely it
would not have been for two or three weeks, maybe not even two or three months. We believed
that if we walked, we had to be prepared for a strike that might have lasted longer than our 17-
week strike in 1989, maybe six months or more. In fact, going out might have been walking
into a trap the company had set for us—giving them an opportunity to replace thousands
of us and break our union.
Finally, let me close by saying that the battle with Verizon is not over. We need to spend the next
three years preparing to continue the fight to preserve unionized jobs in the communications
industry. That is where the real battle for the future will be won or lost.
I think we made the tough, correct decisions. Ultimately, your vote will determine what happens.
All I ask is that you look past the rhetoric and strong emotions, and weigh the factors that all of
us on the Bargaining Committee weighed. I sincerely believe that if you do, you will vote Yes to
ratify this contract.
Chris Shelton
Vice President

Added: November 14th, 2012 12:39PM   |   

Hawaiian Telcom Lays Out New Union Employment Terms

November 22, 2011 | By Sean Buckley

With negotiations with its employees at an "impasse", Hawaiian Telcom (Nasdaq: HCOM) is going to present what it says is its best and final offer to settle a contract dispute between the company and the IBEW Local 1357 union.

In mid-August, the service provider and union representatives began formal negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement. But after neither side could reach a mutual agreement, Hawaiian Telcom presented what it said was a "Last, Best and Final Offer" to union leaders in early October.

The union rejected the company's offer and began a two day strike on Nov. 10 and 11 while delivering a set of CBA proposals including new pension benefits, reimbursement to purchase a personal computer, expanded dental coverage including cosmetic procedures and orthodontics, less than 2 percent contribution to employee healthcare, and reducing sick leave for 2012, which would then be gradually increased to the current 26-week leave.

Effective Dec. 1, the ILEC's offer includes a number of elements counter to the union's proposal, including 1 percent annual compounded wage increase for 3 years, $500 bonus annually for 3 years, up to 8 weeks of sick leave, healthcare at 10 percent employee contribution, and an enhanced 401(k) match while freezing pension at current values.

Similar to Verizon (NYSE: VZ), which has still yet to finalize agreement with its union workers, Hawaiian Telcom argues that it needs to ask the union for these concessions so it can economically viable.

Added: September 28th, 2012 3:56PM   |   

Ratification Vote Dates

Contract ratification voting will take place at the Local office. The address is: 221-10 Jamaica Ave Suite 210, Queens Village, NY 11428

The dates for voting:

October 11, 2012 from 6AM - 7PM

October 12, 2012 from 7AM - 3PM

October 15, 2012 from 6AM - 7PM

Added: October 4th, 2013 9:29AM   |   

Tentative Agreement Reached

Sep 20, 2012

CWA and the IBEW have reached tentative agreements with Verizon Communications covering 45,000 members from Virginia to New England.

The tentative contracts maintain workers' standard of living and employment security over the next three years and reaffirm that workers' bargaining rights are necessary to maintain the middle class in America. Read details of the CWA agreements here. CWA and IBEW are hopeful that the agreements will lead to additional investment and jobs going forward.

Also, CWA and IBEW members fired during the August 2011 strike, whose cases were being prosecuted by the National Labor Relations Board, will return to work as part of the tentative agreement.

Separately, CWA and Verizon reached a tentative agreement covering 70 Verizon Wireless technicians in New York.

The officers, staff and bargaining committee members of both unions worked endlessly, day and night, over the past 16 months, on behalf of the 45,000 active and 70,000 retired members. And they credited the mobilization of tens of thousands of members and allies throughout the labor and progressive communities in making a big difference in the negotiations. Verizon workers stood together to get the best possible agreement, CWA and IBEW said.

Over the past several weeks, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen met with union and management negotiators in efforts to help reach a fair settlement. CWA and IBEW appreciate the work of Director Cohen in helping to bring about a resolution after 16 months of negotiations. The previous contract expired in August 2011, and following a two-week strike that led to a better framework for bargaining, CWA and IBEW members continued to work under the terms of the expired agreement while negotiations continued.

Added: September 20th, 2012 7:47PM   |   

September 19, 2012 Bargaining Update

We Stood Up!

New Contract with Verizon Defeats the Most Aggressive

Attack Ever on the Living Standards of Our Members,

Preserves Job and Retirement Security for 34,000

On September 19th, the CWA reached a tentative agreement with Verizon Communications that protects the job security and retirement security of our 34,000 members from Virginia to Massachusetts.

A new contract was also negotiated between Verizon Wireless and 70 CWA-represented technicians who maintain cell sites in the metropolitan New York area.

Our new contract was won only after a militant two-week strike in August, 2011, and an ensuing 13 month on-the-job membership contract campaign that mobilized tens of thousands of members. It also took the support of literally hundreds of our allies, in labor and community groups all across the country, who adopted our struggle as their own, leafleted Verizon Wireless stores, joined our picket lines and rallies, and pressured Verizon management however they could.

“Our members stood up to the most sweeping and intensive attack on our standard of living and bargaining rights in the history of the telecommunications industry,” said Chris Shelton, Vice President for CWA District One, which stretches from Maine to New Jersey. “The unity and determination of 34,000 CWA members since bargaining began in June, 2011 has produced a new agreement that preserves intact our members’ pension and job security, provides for a substantial wage increase, and preserves a high-quality health plan.

“The solidarity of CWA members and the support of our progressive allies made this contract happen,” said Ed Mooney, Vice President of CWA District 2-13, which covers CWA members from Pennsylvania to Virginia. “Verizon workers will keep their standard of living and the benefits and working conditions we've fought for over the years.”

The achievements of this contract fight can be seen just by going back to a list of what was on the table when bargaining began 15 months ago : a sweeping list of take-back demands that included

o no guaranteed raises,

o elimination of night and weekend differentials,

o elimination of double time pay,

o freezing of pension accruals and elimination of the pension cash-out option,

o eliminating all job security provisions for all employees,

o eliminating the movement of work protection and the 35 mile transfer provision,

o slashing the Sickness and Accident Disability Plans in half,

o eliminating the New Contracts Initiative,

o totally gutting the medical plan with huge premiums, and unreasonable co-pays and deductibles, and

o reducing sick time pay to 0-5 days depending on seniority.

Your determination and solidarity got us a contract that fully protects our members’ job and retirement security, including no-layoff provisions and movement of work limitations, preserves an extremely high-quality medical plan with modest increases in deductibles and co-pays and limited premium sharing, provides for an 8.2% compounded wage increase over the life of the agreement, with additional cash payments, and bringing hundreds of new jobs into the bargaining unit.

Highlights of the new agreement include:

Job Security Preserved:

Existing job security language, including a prohibition on layoffs, forced transfer or downgrade of workers hired before 2003 and the .7% restriction on the company’s ability to relocate work out of the region, were preserved intact.
Provisions of the contract which restrict the company’s right to reassign workers long distances from their homes (35-mile rule) have been preserved.
Retirement Security Preserved:

The existing defined benefit pension plan has been preserved for all current employees, including the lump sum cashout provisions.

8.2% Compounded Wage Increased Plus Other Compensation:

Wage increases of 2.25% effective the first Sunday after ratification, 2.75% effective August 4, 2013, and 3% effective August 3, 2014. This amounts to an 8.2% wage increase with compounding.
In addition, members will receive a $800 signing bonus 30 days after ratification of the new agreement.
There will be annual corporate profit-sharing payments of at least $700 per year.
New Bargaining Unit Jobs

Verizon will hire 300 new full-time call center employees during the life of the contract
Verizon New York will bring back into the bargaining unit certain underground cable placing work currently performed by contractors in upstate New York.
Medical Plan

CWA members at Verizon will continue to have access to the most comprehensive, lowest-cost health care plan in the industry.
The unions and Verizon negotiated revisions to the current health plan that require workers to make modest contributions toward the cost of health care premiums. For participants in the MEP and HCN, these payments will start at $60 per month for family coverage and $30 per month for individual coverage as of November 2012, and rise over the remaining years of the contract to $110 family and $55 individual per month at the conclusion of the four year contract.
For participants in the EPO, HMOs and other plans, payments will start at $45 individual and $90 family, and rise to $82.50 individual and $165 family by the end of the agreement. These rates are higher because there are no deductibles in these plans.
These premiums include a $100 credit for employees who participate in an on-line health care assessment survey.
Effective January 1, 2013, Verizon will contribute $850 to a tax-free Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for current employees which can be used to offset increased out of pocket costs under the new health plan, and can be carried over from year to year at the employee’s discretion.
Any retiree who leaves service before January 1, 2013 will not be required to contribute to the cost of retiree medical care.
Employees who were hired after August 3, 2008 will see an increase in their retiree medical care accrual from $430 to $480 per year of service towards the coverage of the cost of health care.

Effective January, 2013, there will be changes to contract provisions covering paid absence days. Payment for incidental absence (personal illness or off-duty accidents) will be capped at 10 days.
Four incidental absence days per year shall not be subject to the Absence Control Plan.
Employees who use four or less absence days per year will be awarded a lump sum payment as follows:
o Employees with perfect attendance will receive a lump sum payment of five days’ pay.

o Employees who use less than two days will receive four days’ pay.

o Employees who use less than 3 days will receive 3 days’ pay.

o Employees who use less than 4 days will receive 2 days’ pay.

o Employees who 4 days will receive 1 days’ pay.

According to company figures, in 2011, 76% of our members used fewer than 10 days of absence. 48% of our members would have received one of the incentive payments listed above, based on their absence record. 29% would have received a week’s pay.
Accident and Sickness Disability remains unchanged.
Additional Contract Provisions

Employees hired after ratification will be covered by a 401(k) retirement program that provides a 100% company match for any employee contributions up to 6% of salary. They will also receive an annual discretionary bonus of up to 3% of their salary added to their 401(k).
Contract provides continuing funding to the Work-Family Committee of $1.5 million per year ($6 million over the life of the contract).
The TTA/Next Step program will be phased out over the life of the agreement.
Any member currently enrolled in TTA/Next Step will be entitled to complete the program and retain that title and associated wages and benefits.
Tuition Assistance Program will be capped at $8,000 per year.
Workers Fired During 2011 Strike

Upon ratification, 25 of the 26 CWA members fired during the strike will be returned to work, with restoration of full Net Credited Service and pension benefits.
We are working on a settlement for one worker

There are changes in our health care that will result in premiums and plan design changes which will result in some increased out-of-pocket expenses. However, when wages and the company-funded tax-free Healthcare Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) are factored in, CWA members will be better off, financially, at the end of this round of bargaining than they were at the start.

We started this round of bargaining with the best contract in the telecommunications industry. Your bargaining team is convinced that despite the intense attacks from Verizon, we have negotiated a contract that remains the BEST in the telecommunications industry.

Added: September 20th, 2012 9:29AM   |   

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Regional Bargaining Report # 63
Thursday, September 13, 2012    8 AM
Bargaining continues in New York with the Federal Mediators. CWA, IBEW and Verizon are still under the Guidelines imposed by the Mediators which includes that no information can be released by either party concerning the progress of these negotiations.  
CWA District 1 and IBEW New England as well as CWA District 2-13 and IBEW Local 827 have been meeting in New York since last week. Because of the agreed upon blackout, there is no news of progress or non-progress to report. Once we have information that can be released, we will announce it immediately.

Our members must continue to mobilize and we MUST let management know that we want a fair contract.


Added: September 13th, 2012 8:49AM   |   

Friday, August 31, 2012 Bargaining Report #63

Negotiations between Verizon and CWA and IBEW under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) have been going on for over a month, beginning on July 27th, and continuing through today. The parties have broken for the weekend, and will resume bargaining on Tuesday in New York.

All parties are continuing to abide by the mediator’s request for a blackout on the specific details of negotiations. However, we can report that significant, though painstaking, progress has been made on a number of major issues in the bargaining. A number of critical issues remain unresolved, and will be addressed when bargaining resumes.

Our members must continue to mobilize and we MUST let management know that we want a fair contract


Next week get involved

Mobilize! – Mobilize! – Mobilize!

A Happy Labor Day Weekend to All!

Added: August 31st, 2012 7:00PM   |   

August 26, 2012 Bargaining Report #62 8 AM

Bargaining continues in Washington DC at the Federal Mediation Conciliation Service (FMCS). CWA, IBEW and Verizon have agreed to Guidelines which includes that no information can be released by either party concerning the progress of these negotiations.

Last week,CWA District 1 and IBEW New England as well as CWA District 2-13 and IBEW Local 827 met with the company in sessions that went late into the night, every night for the entire week. Friday’s session ended on Saturday morning at 2 AM. Bargaining recessed so that the company could take the time to get additional information that the Union requested. Bargaining is scheduled to reconvene on Monday morning at 9 AM.

Because of the agreed upon blackout, there is no news of progress or non-progress to report.

Our members must continue to mobilize and we MUST let management know that we want a fair contract.


This week get involved

Added: August 26th, 2012 12:39PM   |   

CWA: FCC Decision on Big Cable Deal Will Kill Jobs, Harm Consumers

The following is CWA's statement on the FCC, by a unanimous vote, approving the Big Cable deal:

The FCC's decision allowing Big Cable to virtually monopolize wireline and video connections to millions of homes will lead to job loss and hit consumers with higher prices. It will slam the door on our country's high speed future because it has destroyed any incentive for Verizon to continue the build out of its high speed FiOS network.

It is clearly an example of the FCC, just as the Department of Justice did last week, acting on behalf of corporate interests, not the public interest and clearly not jobs.

Both the DOJ and the FCC now have shown that they are content with an anti-competitive deal that will result in job cuts, higher prices, and fewer choices for consumers. Regulators have demonstrated a striking disconnect between their support for this deal and the Obama administration's goals of affordable high speed Internet access for all and particularly, the creation of good jobs that are necessary to push our sluggish economy forward. The U.S. is near the bottom among global democracies in both price and access to high speed Internet.

The weak conditions on cross-marketing that both the FCC and the DOJ have put in place will result in fewer choices for consumers who already have limited options. Nor have regulators outlined how these limitations can be enforced.

For communities like Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, cities across upstate New York and most of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Virginia, there will be extremely limited, if any, options for high-speed broadband service. That is unacceptable.

Some elected officials got it right. More than 49 members of Congress, elected officials from every level across New York State, mayors from Boston and nine upstate New York communities, and many more weighed in on the harm that workers, consumers and communities will suffer. Sadly, federal regulators weren't listening to their voices.

Added: August 24th, 2012 9:07AM   |   

Justice Approves Verizon Deals With Cable Companies

By Hayley Tsukayama

The Justice Department approved deals between Verizon Wireless and several cable companies Thursday under conditions to ensure that the proposals to swap spectrum and to cross-promote services would not harm competition in the telecommunications industry.

The agency worked with the Federal Communications Commission and the New York State Attorney General’s Office on conditions for the deals’ approval.

The deals, as The Washington Post reported in July, were flagged by Justice over concerns that they would stifle competition for landline Internet service. Verizon’s FiOS service competes directly with cable companies involved in the agreements, including Comcast and Time Warner, and Verizon worried that the cross-promotion would eventually eliminate FiOS from the picture.

Among the requirements to let the deals move forward, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications must dial down the scope and length of their marketing agreements. The rules prohibit cross-marketing in communities also served by FiOS exists — mainly in the mid-Atlantic — and impose a four-year limit on the deals is areas where FiOS is absent.

The Justice Department also approved Verizon’s proposed spectrum sale to T-Mobile, and Verizon must announce a public process to sell other previously unused spectrum.

“By limiting the scope and duration of the commercial agreements among Verizon and the cable companies while at the same time allowing Verizon and T-Mobile to proceed with their spectrum acquisitions, the department has provided the right remedy for competition and consumers,” said Joseph Wayland, acting assistant attorney general for Justice’s antitrust division.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the new requirements would “promote the public interest and benefit consumers in several ways,” including boosting the United States as a leader in bringing 4G LTE “to more people in more places”

Genachowski said that he believes the FCC should approve the deals and that he will circulate a draft to the full commission.

Added: August 16th, 2012 11:35AM   |   

Mediation Update, Augst 15, 2012. 6:45 PM

The following statement is being released by FMCS Director George Cohen on the Verizon -CWA- IBEW- Labor Talks

Washington, D.C. - As of this date, the parties now have been engaged in intensive negotiations for three weeks under the auspices of myself and Director of Mediation Services John Pinto. As previously reported, progress continues to be made, but, again, a number of core issues remain to be resolved. Pursuant to the mediators' recommendations, the parties have agreed to continue their negotiations until concluded.

Added: August 15th, 2012 6:49PM   |   

Mediation Deadline Set For Wednesday, August 15

Politicians press Verizon for a resolution

Since July 25, representatives from CWA, IBEW, and Verizon have met with federal mediators behind closed doors in Washington, DC, in an attempt to resolve contract negotiations going on for more than a year. Last week, mediators pushed the deadline for a resolution to tomorrow.

A wave of support for workers has flooded Verizon corporate offices. Thirty-nine New York City Council members urged Verizon to enter into a fair and just contract. At the same time, 22 New York State Senators and 54 State Assembly Members signed a letter urging the company to invest in a bright economic future by creating good jobs and treating workers fairly. Led by James F. Brennan and Keith L. White, the politicians declared, “We believe that workers—and not just high-level executives—must share in a company's success.”

The union bargaining teams continue to work long hours to hammer out a fair deal. At the same time, preparations are underway to strike if Verizon's intransigence makes that necessary. Some workers have already received their strike assignments.

Added: August 14th, 2012 10:23PM   |   


Between 30 and 40,000 union and non-union workers rolled into Philadelphia on Saturday, August 11, 2012, to support the Workers Stand for America Rally, organized by the AFL-CIO. CWA had a large presence there, as we should have considering the position many of us are in.

CWA started the day by rallying in front of the Verizon Race St building. There we heard from several speakers from both CWA and other unions pledging their support. District 1 Vice President Chris Shelton read the names of all 41 members who were fired unjustly during last year's 2 week strike. He vowed that we will not agree to any contract until all 41 members are reinstated. District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney also gave a rousing speech, followed by CWA National President Larry Cohen. Larry started a chant - "We stand up! We fight back!" - which we continued chanting as we marched from Race St. to Eakins Oval.

When we reached Eakins Oval we gathered with thousands of other workers to listen to many inspirational speakers. Some were union leaders, some were politicians and some were from the group of the 41 fired members. The crowd was so large it spilled onto the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Monitors were placed around the Oval so that everyone was able to hear and see the speakers.

Though there were so many workers from all over the country, from different unions and trades, there was a real feeling of unity. We were all there for the same reason - to save Middle Class jobs.

Local 1106 would like to thank the members who took the time to attend the rally, including two members from Local 1123 who have been forced by Verizon to work in Queens.

To the members who could have come but chose not to, you don't really know the meaning of "union". We pity you. You should feel shame for yourselves.

Added: August 13th, 2012 5:26PM   |   

Friday, August 10, 2012 Mediation Extension

The press release from yesterday, August 9th, mistakenly said "... the parties have agreed to continue their negotiations until concluded." It should have said "... the parties have agreed to continue their negotiations until the conclusion of Friday, August 10th."

Today it was announced that both parties have agreed to continue negotiations until Wednesday, August 15th. At that point they may agree to extend negotiations again or they may end it.

We have no further information at this time.

We apologize for any confusion the error may have caused.

Added: August 10th, 2012 2:41PM   |   


WASHINGTON, D.C. - As of this date, the parties have been engaged in intensive negotiations for two weeks
under the auspices of myself and Director of Mediation Services John Pinto. The negotiations continue to be constructive and progress continues to be made, but, again, a number of core issues remain to be
unresolved. Pursuant to the mediators' recommendation, the parties have agreed to continue their negotiations
until the conclusion of Friday, August 10th.

Added: August 10th, 2012 2:31PM   |   


One Year Later, the Fight for Fairness Hits the Streets

Workers are marking one year since CWA and IBEW contracts with Verizon expired, and the fight for fairness continues. Activists are taking it to the streets. Every member must get involved in this struggle now. We must Stand Up to Verizon in what has become a fight for our future—and the future of every American worker.

In a Town Hall call last week, CWA President Larry Cohen told workers that the union has a positive message for Verizon: “This is about making the company what it can be.” Cohen asked Verizon to invest. “Invest in communities. Invest in our jobs. Invest in our future. We will build the best networks there are. We will provide the best service that can be provided.”

Mediation in DC
In an effort to move negotiations forward, Verizon and its unions agreed to federal mediation on July 25. As of Monday, August 6, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) declared that talks have been constructive and some progress is being made, but “significant key issues remain to be resolved.”

According to President Cohen, union representatives are working twelve-hour days, including weekends, to move the talks forward, but the pace remains slow. The stakes couldn’t be higher for union members, their families, and all the communities that depend on reliable landline and FiOS services.

When more information about the mediation efforts is available, your bargaining committees will post updates at the District websites, http://district1.cwa-union.org/ and http://district2-13.cwa-union.org/.

Pressure on Verizon Intensifies
Workers are determined to keep the pressure on to force the company to resolve remaining disputes and keep middle-class families strong.

As the clock ticked down to the anniversary of contract expiration last Friday, workers throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast made their commitment visible. At worksites across the bargaining footprint, workers began practice picketing and held entrance rallies at Verizon worksites.

This week sees workers, retirees, their families, and allies mobilizing on a massive scale. Each day actions are focused on a specific theme and group:

On Black Monday: Workers wore black armbands or ribbons and displayed black balloons at call centers to draw attention to the excessive discipline that they've experienced over the past year.

On Retiree Tuesday: Verizon retirees will join current workers at actions throughout the footprint to call attention to the company's outrageous healthcare proposals, which would cost retirees thousands more than they now pay for their healthcare.

On Wireless Wednesday: Before and after their shifts, workers and allies will take their message to Verizon Wireless customers in actions at stores.

On Solidarity Thursday: Allies from other unions who share our commitment to fair wages and benefits for all will join Verizon workers at practice pickets and rallies.

On Family Friday: Verizon workers will be taking family members and friends to picket lines and rallies to show Verizon just whose future we’re fighting for.

On Saturday,
Join Us at the Workers Stand for America Rally
Get on the Bus!

This week we are building momentum toward a rally of more than 30,000 in Philadelphia on Saturday. Members of CWA and IBEW will kick off the action at the Verizon worksite at 9th and Race Streets at 10 a.m.

In addition to brothers and sisters from the Philadelphia area, at least 49 busloads of workers from across the region and beyond will add their voices to the call for full employment, a living wage, full participation, and the right to a good education and a secure and healthy future. These are the foundations of the Second Bill of Rights that will be signed and presented to the Democratic and Republican candidates at their upcoming political conventions.

In the name of workers all over the country, we want the candidates to know that we are going to hold them accountable. Politicians have to answer the question, “Which side are you on?” And they will understand they can’t take us for granted.

President Cohen asks that whether you’re able to travel to Philadelphia or not, you show your support by going online to sign the Bill. “We need to make the candidates accountable, and remind them that if they’re not with us, they’re against us. This is about working-class Americans everywhere. We want economic opportunity for all. So, get on the bus!”

For more information about the location of worksite actions, contact your Local officers or mobilization coordinators.
For more information about the Workers Stand For America Rally in Philadelphia, click here http://www.workersstandforamerica.com/.

Added: August 7th, 2012 9:59PM   |   

Bargaining News

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services issued the following statement today on the status of negotiations between Verizon, CWA and IBEW. Under the agreement for mediation, all parties are to refrain from any public comment on the status of the talks while mediation is in progress. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Statement by FMCS Director George H. Cohen on Verizon-CWA-IBEW Labor Talks

Washington, D.C. - For the past ten days, the parties have been engaged in continuous negotiations under the auspices of myself and Director of Mediation Services, John Pinto. The negotiations have been constructive and progress has been made, but significant key issues remain to be resolved. Negotiations will resume on Monday, August 6, at our offices.

Added: August 3rd, 2012 3:31PM   |   

Bargaining Report #61, Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bargaining continues in Washington DC at the Federal Mediation Conciliation Service. CWA, IBEW and Verizon have agreed to Guidelines which includes that no information can be released by either party concerning the progress of these negotiations. Verizon had insisted that there would be a deadline set of Friday August 3, 2012.

Since last Wednesday July 25th, the CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England and the CWA District 2-13 and IBEW Local 827 have been meeting with the Chairman of the FMCS. Because of the agreed upon blackout, there is no news of progress on non-progress to report.
The Company is still not hearing us so it is more important than ever that we take this fight to a new level. The next couple of days we MUST let management know that we want a fair contract. Our members must continue to mobilize. Every member needs to commit to spending some time in the next few days participating in mobilization activities. Every member MUST call their their steward or their Local and ask how they can help. It’s time to show the company that we have 100% of the membership ready to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract.
On Saturday, August 11, 2012 Americans from all over the country will be in Philadelphia, for the “Workers Stand for America Rally” to stand up for the middle class and urge all Americans, especially our elected officials, to stand with us. It is time for every member to stand up and be counted. Contact your Local for information on transportation to the rally.

If you have not been involved it is time to get involved TODAY
Call your Local and find out what you can do today to help TODAY.
Mobilize! – Mobilize! – Mobilize!

Added: August 2nd, 2012 12:32PM   |   

Verizon's Plan To Kill Jobs and Raise Prices

There's something big afoot. It's a scheme hatched by the telecom giants that could kill jobs and cost consumers millions or even billions in cable and phone bill increases. I thought you deserved to know about it.

Instead of competing against each other for TV, phone and high-speed internet customers, Verizon and cable giants like Comcast and Time-Warner are trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission to change the rules and allow them to team up, to sell each other's services.

If their plan is approved, millions of New Yorkers would only be able get high-speed internet access and TV from one big monopoly. And Verizon would have no incentive to invest in its high-speed FiOS network. That means prices go up and jobs building and supporting FiOS disappear.

There's still time to stop the deal. But only if our elected leaders step in and call on the FCC and the Department of Justice to stand up for consumers, not CEOs. Join us in calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to help to save New York customers:


If the telecom giants get their way, here's what it would mean: Instead of competing to provide the best, cheapest deals for high-speed internet, cable TV and home phone service, cable companies and Verizon Wireless would band together to market phone service, cable, internet and mobile phone service all packaged together. It’s a monopolistic merger by any other name. This monopoly power grab hits our rural areas and upstate cities the hardest, reducing consumer choice and deepening the digital divide as Verizon refuses to build next-generation FiOS networks for what Verizon deems to be less lucrative customers.

The Department of Justice and FCC will decide the fate of this plan in the next few weeks. So far, our elected leaders have not spoken out against this deal that will hurt millions of New York consumers.

Federal regulators must put the needs of workers and consumers above the demands of profit-hungry corporations. Please join us in calling on Governor Cuomo, Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand to stand up for New York consumers and help stop the Verizon-Big Cable monopoly deal:


Added: July 31st, 2012 4:02PM   |   

Verizon Union Hall Call, Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sign up for the Verizon Union Hall Call, Thursday, August 2 @ 7:00 PM ET

Registration closes at noon on Thursday.

Join us for a Verizon member update call on Thursday, August 2 at 7:00 pm ET. We'll hear an update on bargaining and reports from activists who have been mobilizing for a fair contract. Learn what's at stake and why thousands of workers will be gathering in Philadelphia on August 11.

Register for the call by texting VZCALL to 69866 or at www.cwa-union.org/vzcall

You can listen on the web at www.cwa-union.org/vzcall

Your local may be hosting a call at the union hall. Check with your local for information.

Please join us on August 2 at 7:00 p.m.

If you'd like to submit a question before the call, use the online sign-up form even if you've registered previously.

You can sign up for the call now by texting VZCALL to 69866.

Added: July 31st, 2012 3:00PM   |   


Tuesday, July 24,2012,

On July 19, 2012, CWA and IBEW requested the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in our contract negotiations with Verizon.

The Company first refused the Union's request for Mediation but we have been notified that the Company has agreed to Mediation and we are scheduled to meet with the Federal Mediator on Wednesday in Washington DC

At this point, it appears that this enormously profitable company—which made nearly $22 billion in profits over the last five years and paid its top five executives nearly $350 million during that time— is determined to destroy your benefits and destroy the middle class jobs that CWA and IBEW have fought so hard to create over 50 years.

After negotiating for over one year we are still far apart on many of the issues involved in these negotiations. Here is a list of the many items the company has proposed in order to lower our standard of living.

1. Wages –

• 2011 - 0%
• 2012 -1.75%
• 2013 -1.50%

The Company has offered 0% wages for the first year. You read that right- 0% - the company has no money on the table for wage increases for their employees for the first year of the contract., The company did make a proposal that would give 1.75% in the second year and 1.5%
for the third year but the 1.75% for the 2nd year would not go into effect until the first Sunday after ratification of the 2012 MOU. The company is making it clear that they will not pay any retroactive wages to our members.

2. Health Care Benefits

This is not only about premiums. The company's proposal would diminish the benefit plans we enjoy today and we would be paying more for everything we use. The Company's plan is for you to pay more when you need these benefits. Verizon hopes that if you have to pay more for your benefits, then you will not use them.

The Company proposed Premium Contributions for all medical plans (HCN - Health Care Network, MEP HC PPO – Medical Expense Plan, and HMO – Health Maintenance Organization.) Today there are no contributions for any plan.

These are the premiums that the company proposed for each of the plans

MEP HCN HMOs and Other
Employee $390 $520 $740
Employee + 1 $900 $1,230 $1,820
Employee + Family $1,380 $1,900 $2,850

On and after 1/1/2013 Premiums increase 6% each year

That's right they want to increase your prremiums each year by 6%,

Tobacco users would add $600 to the annual premiums. Family coverage would require that everyone covered did not use tobacco products in order to qualify for the lower premium.

Deductibles and Out of Pocket Maximums

Today our Deductible in the MEP Plan is $250 for individual and 2.5 x individual for family In the HCN plan the deductible is $0 in network and $250 in the out of network

Today our Out of Pocket in the MEP is $700 for in and out of the network and for the family : the maximums are per individual per year combined family max is not applicable
For the HCN Plan — the OOP Max is none in-network and $1500 out of network and for the family. the maximums are per individual per year combined family max is not applicable

Here is what the company has on the table now for Deductibles
and Out of Pocket Maximums

Plan Design MEP HCN

Annual Deductible In-Network/Out Network In-Network/Out Network

Individual 2013: $650/ 2013:$800 2013: None/ 2013:$850

Family 2014: $700/ 2014:$850 2014: None/ 2014: $850

Out of Pocket Max

Individual $1700/$2000 $1000/$2000

Family Maximums are per individual $3000/$6000
year: combined family max is
not applicable

Today there is no coinsurance for most services for in network use — the company proposes co¬insurance of 90%. This means the member pays 10% of the charge for the service.

Today the following services are covered in network at 100%. The Company proposes these services be covered at 90% and the member pay 10% of the cost.

• Radiation Therapy
• Chemotherapy
• Hospital Room and Board
• In Hospital Physician Visits
• In Hospital X-ray and Lab Tests
• Newborn Baby Care
• Birthing Centers
• In Patient Surgery / Out Patient Surgery
• Anesthesia Services
• In Patient Substance Abuse
• Ambulance Services

• Today a physician office visit is $15 — the company proposes $20.
• Today X-Rays are paid at 100% - the company proposes $20 co-pays
• Today Maternity care is paid at 100% - the company proposes $20 co-pays
• Today Second opinions are paid at 100% - the company proposes $20 co-pays
• Today Urgent Care is a $15 co-pay— the company proposes a $80 co-pay
• Today Emergency Care is a $15 co-pay and $5 co-pay for Medicare eligible — the company proposes $170 co-pay and $85 co-pay for Medicare eligible.

Today Out of Network services under the MEP are mostly at 100% with a few at 98% and a couple at 80% - the company proposes to make the co-insurance 70%, so you will pay 30% for any out of network services.

Prescription Drugs

Today there is no deductible for prescription drugs — the company proposes a $25 deductible for every individual in your family. So you would have to lay out the first $25 for each member of your family and then your prescription benefit would kick in.

Today there is a $400 annual out of pocket maximum for each member of your family. So no matter how much your prescription bills are for the year, you would not have to pay any more than $400 for each member of your family. The company wants to eliminate this benefit.

The company also proposed significant increases in co-pays for prescription drugs both retail and mail order. So, now you will get to the $400 amount faster but since the company has proposed to eliminate the out of pocket maximum, you will continue to pay for all of your prescriptions.


In addition to the Medial Premium the company has proposed an annual contribution for the Dental Plan. An individual, non-tobacco user, annual premium would be $36 and family non-tobacco users premium would be $108. A tobacco user would add $60 to both amounts
The Company has also proposed that retirees pay annual premiums for coverage and additional costs for services as well.

3. Pensions — there is no increase to your pension and the company proposes to:
• Cut pension accruals in halt For anyone currently on the payroll your pension will be capped at 30 years. Beginning November 1, 2012, your pension plan will only accrue at 70 %.
• Eliminate the Pension Lump Sum option.
• Modify the 401(k) Plan
• Eliminate the Sickness Death Benefit

For those currently on the payroll, after November 1, 2012 your current pension benefit will be frozen and from that point forward you will only earn 70% of the current pension band value until you reach 30 years of service. After 30 years of service you will no longer accrue time towards your pension. If you currently have 30 or more years of service, your pension will be frozen on November 1, 2012 and no longer accrue time toward your pension.

Anyone hired or rehired on or after August 1, 2012 ("Pension New Hire") will not be eligible to participate in the Pension Plan.

The Pension Lump Sum program will terminate.

4. Eliminate Job Security:

• Eliminate the Job Security Provisions for all employees.
• Eliminate the Movement of Work Protection
• Increase the mileage on the 35 mile transfer provision
• Eliminate provisions in Force Adjustment Plan
• Eliminate New Contracting Initiatives agreement — which would allow them to increase the level of contracting

By eliminating the Job Security Provisions in the contract, members hired before August 3, 2003 will not be covered by the no-layoff, forced transfer and loss of compensation commitments that was contained in the Job Security Letter

By eliminating or modifying the movement of work protection, the company will have the opportunity to move more of our work to other areas of the country. If this is allowed and without the protection of the Job Security Letter, more of our members will be laid off.

By eliminating the "new Contracting Initiatives Agreement" — the company will be able to increase the level of contracting and without the protection of the Job Security Letter, more of our members will be laid off

By increasing the mileage in the 35 miles provision of the contract, the company would be able to close more garages, close more offices and transfer more employees longer distances then they are allowed today.

By eliminating provisions in the Force Adjustment Plan (FAP), the company will be able to declare more surpluses and without the protection of the FAP more of our members will be laid off.

5. Absence

• Maximum of six (6) paid incidental absence days per year. New hires receive a maximum of five (5) incidental absence days per year.
Company still wants the ability to administer the Absence Control Plan with this limited amount of paid incidental absence.

6. Next Step Program —

• The Company wants to eliminate the Next Step Program
7. Excused Work Days (EWD) -

• Eliminate the ability to take EWD's on short notice

8. Sharing of Calls

• The company wants the ability to implement and expand upon sales and service call routing capabilities for the routine transfer and/or routing of calls between centers performing like sales and service call functions on a next available representative, balanced load or any other determined by the company. Accordingly, calls may be transferred and routed between and among centers in NY/NE, the former GTE areas and any other locations that are not a center staffed by employees of the 2012 South MOU Companies.

• The company wants no limitation, geographic or otherwise, on the Companies' right to share calls and work between and among CSSCs, BSBCs, MSSCs and VCCD and individuals working at home, and contractor locations that perform like functions, except the Companies may not transfer or route calls between and among centers staffed by employees of the 2012 South MOU companies.

• Additionally, there will be no limitations, geographically or otherwise, on the Companies right to share calls and work between and among the following Centers and individuals working at Home, and contractor locations (to the extent not staffed by employees of the 2012 South MOU companies) that perform like functions CFS-MMCC, OCO, MCO-HIS, DRC,NAC, TPM and APC.

We are working on percentage of calls that can be shared and Verizon still demands their call sharing proposal with their percentages of calls that can be shared.

The Company has withdrawn the portion of the proposal that would give us more protection in our EVRCs and FSC because we did not accept their proposal with their percentages on Call Sharing.

• In addition, the company may require representatives in any CSSC, BSBC, MSSC, VCCD, FSC, or EVRC to handle customer inquiries and request that can be resolved with the aid of written or electronic instructions or guides if such inquiry or request is either part of a misrouted or a secondary request or inquiry that is part of a properly routed call.

9. Sales Compensation Plan Titles

The Company has proposed two new sales job titles with variable compensation:
• Customer Contact Sales Associate ("CCSA")
• Business Sales Associate ("BSA")

Paid at Seventy (70%) percent of the Service Representative and Representative titles pay rate with the remaining thirty (30%) percent to be made up by commission sales.

The Company does not want to negotiate the 30% Commission portion with the Union — they want us to trust them that they will do the right thing. They also do not want the commission plan to be subjected to a challenge in the grievance and arbitration section of the contract. Again the Company wants us to trust them. Now, what do you think — should we trust them that they will do the right thing

These titles do not receive the Corporate Profit Sharing Award.

• The Company wants the ability to change the terms of the commission plan as they see fit and again —
we must trust them on the terms of the plan

"We need Verizon to hear us at the Bargaining Table

We have made meaningful proposals on wages, on changes to our healthcare plans, absence, medical, job security, call sharing, just to name a few. Yet, the Company has rejected every one of our proposals saying they don't go far enough to meet their needs. At the same time, almost every proposal the Union has placed on the table has been rejected by the Company. Bargaining will continue in Washington DC on Wednesday with the Federal Mediator. In the meantime, we need every member to get engaged.

Verizon is doing more than its part to destroy middle class jobs in this country. The Company is still not hearing us so it is more important than ever that we take this fight to a new level. Our members must continue to mobilize. Every member needs to commit to spending 4 hours per week participating in mobilization activities.

On Saturday, August 11, 2012 Americans from all over the country will be in Philadelphia, for the "Workers Stand for America Rally' to stand up for the middle class and urge all Americans, especially our elected officials, to stand with us. It is time for every member to stand up and be counted. Contact your Local for information on transportation to the rally.

If you have not been involved it is time to get involved.

Call your Local and find out what you can do today to help.



Mobilize! — Mobilize! — Mobilize!

Added: July 28th, 2012 2:10AM   |   


Unions Seek Independent Third Party After Verizon Negotiations Drag On For Over A Year

Washington, DC - In response to the unwillingness of Verizon to bargain a fair contract for workers, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) today filed a request for mediation with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS). CWA made the request with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) the two unions represent approximately 45,000 workers at Verizon locations from New England to Virginia.

CWA and IBEW workers have been unable to negotiate a fair contract for over a year as Verizon executives continue to insist on drastic cuts in compensation for workers. At the same time the company has made more than $16.3 billion in profits over the past four years and given its top five executives close to $300 million.

"This delay in reaching a fair agreement is not only bad for workers - it's bad for consumers and bad for our communities," said Chris Shelton, Vice President of CWA District 1 and Myles Calvey, Chairman of IBEW System Council 6. Added Ed Mooney, Vice President of CWA Districts 2-13 and Bill Huber, President of IBEW Local 827, "For the past year we have been flexible and shown a willingness to negotiate but the company continues to play games with workers' health care, retirement security, and job security."

Verizon is a $100 billion company and recently its Board of Directors approved a 200 percent increase in compensation for the CEO, to $23.1 million. In spite of its billions in profits the company continues to make demands which would gut workers' job security and pension security, drastically increase health care costs, and fail to bring back thousands of jobs which the company has subcontracted and off-shored.

From coast to coast, working families, unions, students, faith leaders, progressive groups, civil rights and community organizations and many more are standing up to Verizon and its greed. In addition to signing a petition to Verizon's CEO, allies have participated in actions at Verizon locations and consumers are urging Verizon to do the right thing. Read more at www.verigreedy.com.

Added: July 20th, 2012 11:17AM   |   


To: New York and New England Verizon Local Presidents

From: Chris Shelton, Vice President

Date: July 11, 2012

Re: Tape Messages, Newspaper messages or any type of communication with your Members on Voluntary Overtime

All members should be aware that the recent threat from Kevin Service was just that an empty threat. Vice President Shelton's You Tube video clearly delineates the line between lawful and unlawful refusals to work voluntary overtime. The Union cannot direct you not to work voluntary overtime. It is perfectly legal for you of your own volition to refuse to work voluntary overtime for whatever reason you choose. So by this message the Union is not directing you to either work or not to work overtime, that decision is completely yours and that is what Chris Shelton's You Tube message was meant to convey.

Dennis G. Trainor Gladys Finnigan
Debbie Hayes
Staff Leading Verizon

Added: July 12th, 2012 9:59AM   |   

Dist 1 V.P. Chris Shelton's Response to Kevin Service's Letter

Chris Shelton's video response:

Added: August 10th, 2012 11:33AM   |   

T-Mobile befriends its enemy, agrees to swap AWS spectrum with Verizon

Former foes are now good friends. T-Mobile USA, once a passionate opponent to Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) $3.9 billion proposed purchase of nationwide AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo, a joint venture of cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks as well as Cox Communications, has agreed to swap a substantial amount of AWS spectrum with Verizon. The spectrum covers 18 markets across the country and both companies said the deal will help their respective LTE network rollouts. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Up until this point, T-Mobile had been a vocal opponent of Verizon's deals with the cable companies. "Prior to these divestitures, we believed the transaction represented an unfair concentration of spectrum in the hands of the nation's largest wireless carrier," a T-Mobile spokeswoman told FierceWireless. "The significant spectrum divestitures by Verizon announced today are good for competition and consumers."

The move is a big win for Verizon because the deal with T-Mobile includes spectrum that will be purchased in its transactions with SpectrumCo, Cox and Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP). Verizon said the deal with T-Mobile is contingent on the closing of those transactions.

The FCC and Department of Justice are reviewing Verizon's $3.9 billion purchase of nationwide AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo and Cox, with a final decision expected by late summer. Verizon has already said it will sell its Lower 700 MHz A and B Block spectrum if the spectrum deals with the cable companies are approved.

Verizon said the T-Mobile exchange includes a number of intra-market spectrum swaps that will result in better use of the AWS spectrum for both companies. The swap will result in an overall net transfer of spectrum from Verizon Wireless to T-Mobile and a cash payment from T-Mobile to Verizon. The license transfers require FCC approval, which Verizon said is expected to receive later this summer.

T-Mobile said the transaction will improve its spectrum position in 15 of the top 25 markets in the United States by giving it the opportunity to acquire additional AWS airwaves and to realign its existing spectrum holdings. T-Mobile said it will be able to quickly use the spectrum for LTE services, which it plans to deploy next year.

T-Mobile said it will gain spectrum covering 60 million POPs--notably in Philadelphia Washington, D.C. Detroit Minneapolis Seattle Cleveland Columbus, Ohio Milwaukee Charlotte, N.C. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Greensboro, N.C. Memphis, Tenn. and Rochester, N.Y.--in exchange for spectrum covering 22 million POPs and cash.

Verizon already owns substantial AWS holdings east of the Mississippi River, and the spectrum it will get from the cable companies is mainly in the West. Verizon is using its 700 MHz Upper C Block spectrum for its LTE network, which currently covers more than two-thirds of the U.S. population. Verizon plans to use AWS spectrum for LTE services as well, particularly for dense urban areas.

T-Mobile has already received a chunk of AWS spectrum from AT&T (NYSE:T) as part of the $6 billion breakup fee AT&T had to pay to T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom, stemming from AT&T's failed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile. In that spectrum transfer, T-Mobile scored AWS spectrum from AT&T in 128 market areas, including 12 of the top 20 markets in the United States: Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Added: June 29th, 2012 3:36PM   |   

Trouble on Verizon

The following article was published in The Daily News on June 19, 2012. Several members have called about it. President Jerry Bulzomi asks if anyone has any other story or information about issues discussed in the article, to call the Local & let us know.

Elderly customer stranded with no phone service for weeks

By Joe Stepansky

An 85-year-old woman with dementia and her ailing 90-year-old husband in Rockaway were without phone service for three weeks because Verizon did not repair their line.

The couple's frustrated daughter, Rita Burgess, 53, managed to restore service, but only by switching to Time Warner Cable.

A Verizon official said the couple's case fell through the cracks because the company could not reach them.

Consumer advocates said the case underscores a pressing issue - the need for more regulatory oversight of utility companies.

Union workers also charge that Verizon has been neglecting its traditional copper lines in favor of its FiOS fiber-optic cables, which allows the company to charge more for Internet, phone and television bundles.

A Verizon official denied the allegations.

Burgess' father, Salvatore Platania, was hospitalized for part of the time during the outage, which started May 11.

He said he was unable to call his wife Mary from the hospital. "It was busy - busy all day, all night. I was worried about her," said Platania, a World War II veteran.

The ordeal left Burgess - who said she spoke with Verizon representatives 13 times - frustrated to the point of tears, she said.

"God forbid something happened to my mother," said Burgess, who lives in Oceanside, L.I. "I would have held them accountable."

Verizon spokesman John Bonomo said service was restored briefly on May 22. But the company could not reach the Platanias because of the downed line.

Bob Master, legislative and political director for the Communication Workers of America, said the couple's ordeal is not unique.

"They're diverting resources from basic phone services," Master said of Verizon. "That's the business model, to divert resources to the most lucrative areas." Bonomo called the claim "insulting" and noted that Verizon is currently in contract talks with the union.

In 2010, the state Public Service Commission, which oversees utilities, required Verizon to submit a new service plan after it failed to meet standards for repair times. Verizon failed to meet performance standards in the plan in October and December of 2011, resulting in a $400,000 fine that Verizon disputed but eventually paid.

In March, the State Attorney General's office urged the PSC to make the 2010 plan stricter, citing an increase in complaints and reports of service problems last year. However, repair times did improve. The plan is currently in a public comment phase.

Bonomo said the Platania case is an isolated incident.

The 2012 first-quarter report by the PSC showed Verizon generally met standards for reliability and repair times, and complaints have declined.

Verizon has lost over 50% of its landline customers over the last decade, Bonomo said. "Verizon cannot sustain a workforce sized for a customer base that no longer exists," he said.

After a Daily News inquiry, a Verizon rep reached out to the Platania family. Burgess declined an offer to restore service, choosing to stay with Time Warner.

"All of a sudden they come out of the woodwork," said Burgess. "But I wanted to say 'You people put me through hell.'"

Added: June 19th, 2012 3:22PM   |   

Larry Cohen on Wisconsin

Subject: Moving Forward After Wisconsin
From: Larry Cohen, President
Date: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 11:10 AM

Local Leaders >»
Communications Workers of America

June 6, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Last night's election results in Wisconsin demonstrate once again the reach of the 1 percent into nearly every aspect of our economic and political lives. Right-wing billionaires dumped $40 million into a sophisticated ground campaign, as well as paid media, overwhelmingly outspending our side. CWA is not one of the largest unions in the state, but the work by our leaders, members and staff was outstanding and a model for our political work going forward. From January 2011 until the polls closed last night, our CWA Local Political Action Team (LPAT) leaders were working day and night. Hundreds of CWAers from other District 4 states and around the country also provided critical support, calling our Wisconsin members so our Wisconsin activists could focus on worksite and other turnout activity. The one positive result is that the Racine Senate seat apparently will be won by a democratic candidate who will provide a one vote democratic majority, blunting Walker's continuing attacks.

But we must go deeper and learn more. First, in the last year since the anti-worker legislation crushed public sector unions, AFSCME has lost more than half its members. Second, exit polls indicated that 36 percent of voters from union households voted for Walker. While there is no further breakdown of the 36 percent, that number will reverberate across our movement. It seemingly indicates that the right-wing continues to be at least partially successful in dividing working class voters based on public vs. private sector and the promise of more tax cuts and gutting public services and public worker benefits. On the other hand, it also shows that two-thirds of voters in union households were not fooled and do stick together and vote together.

Our Executive Board and 2012 Convention have supported expanding efforts to build a much deeper movement for economic justice and democracy that links our economic interests as workers with a renewal of this nation's democratic values. We can't sit back and play by rules that make it nearly impossible to work through the system for economic and social justice.

On our website is a new publication http://cwa-union.org/EconomicJustice that is a great way to start that discussion. Hard copies are available without charge to every local by contacting Liz Schilling at eschilling@cwa-union.org. This strategy rests on a level of community organizing by every local that is unprecedented. We accelerate our coalition building and create new organizations that the 99 percent can join, uniting workers both union and non-union. Labor councils remain critical but not sufficient. Our electoral work in 2012 is critical but not sufficient. We need to fight for our basic values and link the fight to restore our democracy to those values.

Our fight for secure jobs and fair trade, health care coverage for all, retirement security and, most importantly, bargaining and organizing rights cannot appear to be just for us, but a renewed commitment to fight for all of us. Our commitment to getting the big money out of politics and reversing Citizens United, reforming the Senate rules, stopping state legislation that is intended to hold down voter turnout, and supporting immigrants with a path to legalization so they can join us in this fight are all directly linked to our economic issues.

Only a large renewed progressive movement, in our workplaces, the streets, and at the ballot box can reverse results like last night. Each of us must make this work a central part of our own leadership. This is hard but not hopeless and together we will make a difference.

In Solidarity,
Larry Cohen President

Added: June 19th, 2012 2:24PM   |   

More Revenue For Verigreedy?

Verizon will kill 'grandfathered' unlimited data plans, push users to data share

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) plans to eliminate the $30 per month unlimited data plan that it still provides to 3G customers who were "grandfathered" into the plan because they were data customers prior to the company's switch to tiered data pricing last July. Speaking at the 40th Annual J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said that as these 3G unlimited data plan customers migrate to 4G LTE, they will have to purchase the company's data-share plan (which Verizon plans to launch in mid-summer) and move off the $30 per month unlimited data plan. "Everyone will be on data share," Shammo said.

Verizon's data share plan is scheduled to launch in mid-summer but no pricing details have been announced. Shammo said that he believes this new plan will make it easier for families and small businesses to connect multiple devices. The industry, Shammo said, has constrained the market around connected devices because people think they need an additional data plan. "If I can add as many devices as I want, that is more efficient from a family perspective and a small business perspective," he said.

However, Shammo said that with the launch of this new data share plan, the industry will have to change a key metric--average revenue per user. Shammo said that Verizon will move to a "revenue per account" metric that will more accurately measure the company's business.

When asked how Verizon will drive customers to this new data share plan, Shammo said that LTE will be the anchor for the new plan and that as customers upgrade from 3G to LTE, they will have to be on a data share plan, allowing the company to sunset its unlimited 3G data plan. "So as you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data share plan," Shammo said, according to a transcript of his remarks. "And moving away from, if you will, the unlimited world and moving everybody into a tiered structure data share-type plan."

"So when you think about our 3G base, a lot of our 3G base is unlimited," he added. "As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan. And that is beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously."

Verizon later issued a statement clarifying Shammo's remarks, as there was some confusion about when the unlimited data plan would sunset. Specifically, the company said that customers with unlimited plans will get to keep their unlimited plans. However, when shared data plans become available, the unlimited option will no longer be available to customers when they buy a new device at a subsidized price, which usually happens with a two-year service contract.

In an unrelated note, Shammo also said that the company will launch Voice over LTE technology at year end, but will not push the technology until mid-2013 when it has a bigger LTE footprint. In fact, Shammo noted that by the end of 2013 Verizon's LTE footprint will be equal to or even bigger than its existing 3G footprint.

Added: May 30th, 2012 1:16PM   |   

Verizon: 36 Buyers Interested In Our 700 MHz Spectrum

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has so far attracted interest from 36 potential buyers for its 700 MHz Lower A and B Block spectrum, according to the carrier.

Verizon made the disclosure in a letter dated May 22 it sent to the FCC. The carrier said 36 entities have signed non-disclosure agreements over the proposed sale. The disclosure was part of a larger accounting of the planned sale Verizon gave to the FCC following the commission's request for more information.

Importantly, Verizon has said the sale of its Lower A and B Block spectrum is contingent on the carrier getting regulatory approval to buy more attractive nationwide AWS spectrum from cable companies. The FCC had asked Verizon to explain what steps it has taken to build out the 700 MHz spectrum, what difficulties exist in deploying that spectrum, why the 700 MHz sale is relevant to a review of the AWS spectrum purchases and what Verizon would do if the entirety of the AWS purchases were not approved.

In its response, Verizon said that it has taken a number of steps to prepare to use its Lower And B Block spectrum, "including RF system design, site construction planning, and discussions with vendors. In all markets covered by these licenses, three phases of the initial RF system design have been completed: identifying cell sites for development, selecting configurations of antennas, and determining center height requirements for the antennas." Verizon said it has also "communicated with equipment vendors about procuring both devices and network equipment that will operate on" the spectrum.

The nation's largest carrier also matter-of-factly stated what has been a general consensus among analysts since the proposed 700 MHz sale was announced: that AWS spectrum is better spectrum and is more complementary to Verizon's existing spectrum holdings. Verizon noted the technical challenges associated with making its devices work for both the Lower 700 MHz spectrum and the Upper C Block, which it is currently using to deploy LTE to around two-thirds of the U.S. population. Verizon also noted the interference concerns between the A Block and Channel 51 broadcast spectrum.

Verizon also took aim at its critics, including T-Mobile USA and the Rural Cellular Association, which have accused it of hoarding spectrum. "The sale of the Lower 700 MHz licenses also further undercuts the meritless 'warehousing' claims by several of our competitors," Verizon said. "In response to the license assignment applications in this proceeding, these parties argue that Verizon Wireless should not be allowed to acquire AWS spectrum because it is 'warehousing' what they describe as beachfront Lower 700 MHz spectrum in order to keep other wireless providers from using it. The fact that Verizon Wireless has announced a public sale process for the Lower 700 MHz spectrum if the AWS transactions are approved conclusively refutes those claims."

The filing contains numerous portions that have been redacted for public viewing, including sections detailing the efforts Verizon has undertaken since 2009 to sell its Lower A and B Block spectrum. Verizon indicated that after discussions it held in February and March with unnamed parties it determined that there was enough interest in the spectrum to warrant a sale. The company said that if the FCC does not approve its AWS purchases, Verizon "would have re-assess all available options to meet its customers' needs."

In response, the Alliance for Broadband Competition, a group backed by T-Mobile and the RCA and supported by Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), said that Verizon's "math simply doesn't add up."

"In the letter, Verizon fails to mention that the spectrum licenses it seeks to purchase from the cable companies cover the entire nation, while the lower MHz holdings provide only incomplete coverage," the group said. "The spectrum Verizon is so willing to offload requires costly upgrades by 2013. The spectrum from the cable companies does not. The FCC must consider these transactions accordingly, which is to comprehensively assess their impact on the entire mobile industry, and not simply facilitate horse trading between the Twin Bells."

U.S. Cellular has indicated in a regulatory filing that it is interested in buying Verizon's 700 MHz spectrum (it already owns some A Block spectrum), but has said the sale did not override the need for the FCC to issue interoperability requirements for the Lower 700 MHz band. Such a mandate would require carriers to sell phones that support multiple 700 MHz bands, not just the bands they own licenses in.

In December, Verizon agreed to pay $3.6 billion for the nationwide AWS spectrum licenses held by SpectrumCo, a joint venture of cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Separately, Verizon said it will buy Cox Communication's 20 MHz of AWS spectrum covering 28 million POPs for $315 million. All of the deals include the option of Verizon reselling cable services and cable companies reselling Verizon service. The cable companies can also become MVNOs of Verizon.

Added: May 25th, 2012 10:45AM   |   

T-Mobile, RCA Join Forces to Stop Verizon's Cable Deals

T-Mobile USA, the Rural Cellular Association and public interest group Public Knowledge are joining together to formally oppose Verizon Wireless1 (NYSE:VZ) planned $3.9 billion purchase of AWS spectrum from cable companies.

The three will forge a new group, dubbed the Alliance for Broadband Competition, which describes itself as a "collection of like-minded businesses, trade associations, and public interest groups who are concerned about the ability for the current marketplace to sustain a competitive broadband landscape." Representatives from the American Antitrust Institute and Free Press are scheduled to make an appearance during the group's introductory conference call with media.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which has urged the FCC to examine the Verizon deal closely but has not formally asked the FCC to block the transaction, supports the new coalition but is not participating in the call.

A Verizon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

T-Mobile, the RCA and Public Knowledge have made no secret of their opposition to the deal, with RCA accusing Verizon of warehousing it spectrum and T-Mobile arguing that it uses spectrum 50 percent more efficiently than Verizon in top markets. Verizon has rebutted these claims repeatedly in its FCC filings, and has said it needs the spectrum to keep pace with growing data demands. Moreover, Verizon has argued that it will put to good use spectrum that the cable companies are not using and that it will sell its Lower 700 MHz A and B Block spectrum if it receives regulatory approval for the cable deals.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, has a clear interest in ensuring that as much AWS spectrum remains on the market as possible. The company is using AWS spectrum to deploy LTE, and despite the spectrum it received from AT&T (NYSE:T) as a result of AT&T's failed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, T-Mobile has said it will need more spectrum.

In December Verizon agreed to pay $3.6 billion for the nationwide AWS spectrum licenses held by SpectrumCo, a joint venture of cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Separately, Verizon said it will buy Cox Communication's 20 MHz of AWS spectrum covering 28 million POPs for $315 million. All of the deals include the option of Verizon reselling cable services and cable companies reselling Verizon service. The cable companies can also become MVNOs of Verizon.

Sprint, T-Mobile and the public interest groups have argued that Verizon and the cable companies have been too secretive about the details of the commercial arrangements they have struck. Verizon and the cable companies have said the deals are outside of the FCC's purview.

Added: May 14th, 2012 12:38PM   |   

FCC "Stops the Clock" on Verizon Wireless/Big Cable Proposal

CWA Applauds FCC Decision to "Stop the Clock" on Verizon/Big Cable Proposal

May 1, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. --The Communications Workers of America supports the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to "stop the clock" on its review of a proposed deal between Verizon Wireless and large cable operators, noting the action is an important step forward in assuring full disclosure of the potential impact on consumers and the prices they would pay.

"Today's FCC decision simply shows that as federal regulators look more closely at this proposal, the more they are seeing the potential problems," said CWA Telecommunications Policy Director Debbie Goldman. "CWA and many other national groups are saying it's important that all the facts regarding the impact of this proposed merger - particularly ones concerning pricing and competition - see the light of day."

On April 20, the CWA wrote a letter on the FCC to stop the 180-day clock in its review of the Verizon Wireless/Cable transaction that would allow Verizon, Comcast, Bright House, Cox and Time Warner to market each other's products and services. CWA asserted in the filing that the parties to the transaction have failed to provide requested data in a manner that allows for meaningful review. CWA also urged the FCC to follow the precedent it used in prior transaction reviews in which it stopped the clock until the agency and outside parties received requested documents in an accessible format and had a chance to review their content.

Meanwhile, public concern about the implications of the deal has mounted, with growing numbers of elected officials, consumer advocacy organizations, civil rights organizations, smaller cable providers, telecom workers, and individual consumers voicing their opposition to the venture. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino commissioned a study detailing the economic dangers of the deal for urban areas and the Maryland Chapter of the NAACP filed comments to the FCC explaining how concentrated power in the industry would put poor and minority communities at further economic disadvantage.

Further, residents of Syracuse, N.Y., protested the partnership, and over 145,000 consumers nationwide have signed an online petition against the deal. Last week, Rep. Henry Waxman and Rep. Anna Eshoo added their voices to the dissent by urging the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to hold public hearings on the deal.

Added: May 3rd, 2012 2:03PM   |   

NYS Attorney General Files Against Verizon At PSC

NYS Attorney General Schneiderman Files Against Verizon at PSC

The AG's Intervention with the PSC Confirms CWA's Arguments on Service Quality and Workforce Cuts

NYS Attorney General Schneiderman just intervened in the PSC's Verizon Service Quality proceeding. The filing details Verizon's service quality failings and recommends actions to the PSC, including ending workforce reductions. The Attorney General's intervention at the PSC confirms everything you have been lobbying and telling legislators for years.

Here's a representative quote from the beginning of the report: "Rather than meet its obligations to provide wireline telephone customers with minimally adequate telephone service, Verizon is continuing to drastically reduce its workforce with the result that the company cannot meet its customers repair needs in a timely manner."

The filing and the AG's second information request to Verizon is attached to this memo. You can also find it on the PSC website at:
http://documents.dps.ny.gov/publ idMatterManag ement/CaseMas ter. aspx? MatterCaseNo=10-C¬0202&submit.Search+by+Case+Number

The Attorney General's filing enormously amplifies our arguments on service quality, confirming that workforce reductions and capital dis-investment are destroying customer service quality. Your support on this issue was crucial to get the AG to intervene so forcefully. Although the filing is long, it is well worth reading.

Verizon Wireless/Cable Deal Update

We are also campaigning against the Verizon/Cable deal, focusing on the marketing agreement between Verizon and the Big Cable companies. One of our tactics is to delay the spectrum deal. Recently, CWA filed objections to Verizon Wireless and the cable companies' obstruction of the FCC and the public's review of the deal.

Here is a Bloomberg/BusinessWeek story about our filing:
Union Asks FCC to Slow Review of Verizon, Cable Deal littp://www.bloombeis.com/news/2012-04-20/union-asks-fcc-to-slow-review-of-verizon-cable-deal.html

Here is a link to our release and the letter we filed:
http://www.cwa-union.org/news/entry/cwa calls on fcc to stop the clock on review of anti-competitive verizon wi#.T5jYINXhdj4

Consumer groups, as well as Sprint, T-Mobile, and other companies followed our lead, generating more pressure and headlines. There are many more additional stories, here are two:
Reuters: Rivals seek delay of Verizon Cable deal review http://vvww.reuters.com/article/2012/04/24/us-verizon-cable-fcc-idUSBRE83N1F720120424

The Hill: Groups balk at paying Verizon $2K for FCC paper http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technologv/223417-groups-balk-at-paving-verizon-2k-for-fcc-paper

Added: May 1st, 2012 4:38PM   |   

Ready To Strike Campaign

People are in a state of shock. It's like a death - people are going through blame, denial, resignation ... but not looking reality in the face. The more initiative we can take, the more people will be forced to come to terms with the stakes of this fight. People are avoiding thinking about it, so we need to prepare for a worse-case scenario, and assume a fighting stance. Even if the Company backs down (unlikely) we will have mobilized and engaged a bigger swath of the members.

Remember who Enemy #1 is - Verizon!

Written by Amy Muldoon (Local 1106 Mobilization Liaison)

Added: April 25th, 2012 12:43PM   |   

NYS Attorney General Files Against Verizon At PSC

NYS Attorney General Schneiderman Files Against Verizon at PSC

The AG's Intervention with the PSC Confirms CWA's Arguments on Service Quality and Workforce Cuts

NYS Attorney General Schneiderman just intervened in the PSC's Verizon Service Quality proceeding. The filing details Verizon's service quality failings and recommends actions to the PSC, including ending workforce reductions. The Attorney General's intervention at the PSC confirms everything you have been lobbying and telling legislators for years.

Here's a representative quote from the beginning of the report: "Rather than meet its obligations to provide wireline telephone customers with minimally adequate telephone service, Verizon is continuing to drastically reduce its workforce with the result that the company cannot meet its customers repair needs in a timely manner."

The filing and the AG's second information request to Verizon is attached to this memo. You can also find it on the PSC website at:
http://documents.dps.ny.gov/publ idMatterManag ement/CaseMas ter. aspx? MatterCaseNo=10-C¬0202&submit.Search+by+Case+Number

The Attorney General's filing enormously amplifies our arguments on service quality, confirming that workforce reductions and capital dis-investment are destroying customer service quality. Your support on this issue was crucial to get the AG to intervene so forcefully. Although the filing is long, it is well worth reading.

Verizon Wireless/Cable Deal Update

We are also campaigning against the Verizon/Cable deal, focusing on the marketing agreement between Verizon and the Big Cable companies. One of our tactics is to delay the spectrum deal. Recently, CWA filed objections to Verizon Wireless and the cable companies' obstruction of the FCC and the public's review of the deal.

Here is a Bloomberg/BusinessWeek story about our filing:
Union Asks FCC to Slow Review of Verizon, Cable Deal littp://www.bloombeis.com/news/2012-04-20/union-asks-fcc-to-slow-review-of-verizon-cable-deal.html

Here is a link to our release and the letter we filed:
http://www.cwa-union.org/news/entry/cwa calls on fcc to stop the clock on review of anti-competitive verizon wi#.T5jYINXhdj4

Consumer groups, as well as Sprint, T-Mobile, and other companies followed our lead, generating more pressure and headlines. There are many more additional stories, here are two:
Reuters: Rivals seek delay of Verizon Cable deal review http://vvww.reuters.com/article/2012/04/24/us-verizon-cable-fcc-idUSBRE83N1F720120424

The Hill: Groups balk at paying Verizon $2K for FCC paper http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technologv/223417-groups-balk-at-paving-verizon-2k-for-fcc-paper

Added: May 1st, 2012 4:31PM   |   

Union's Response to Verizon General Counsel's Message Regarding Strike Disciplinary Action

Verizon recently distributed a message from its General Counsel, Randy Milch, setting out the Company's position on disciplinary actions taken by Verizon following the strike after the old contracts expired. This message does not give an accurate picture of what happened or of the legal proceedings that are now going on as a result of unfair labor practice charges filed against the Company by CWA. CWA wants to set the record straight.

The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against Verizon on January 31, 2012 involving the suspension and termination of 13 IBEW-represented employees in New Jersey for actions that took place during the strike. The NLRB's complaint states that Verizon's actions were intended to "discourage employees from engaging in [protected] activities" in violation of the law. The NLRB is actively investigating Verizon's suspension and discharge of other individuals in Districts 1 and 2-13 and in New England and we believe that the NLRB will soon be issuing more complaints against Verizon in these cases as well.

The issuance of a complaint means that the NLRB has cause to believe that an employer has violated the National Labor relations Act. This is far more than simply a routine decision to hold an "administrative hearing" as Verizon's General Counsel well knows - this means that the federal agency charged with upholding the law that governs your workplace has concluded that is more likely than not that what Verizon did in these cases was unlawful.

Verizon's disciplinary process here was profoundly unfair. First, it made decisions to discipline employees before interviewing them or getting the full facts about what actually happened. Second, the discipline imposed was very different and far more severe than in past contract disputes and earlier strikes. The NLRB is taking these charges very seriously because it has concluded that Verizon's actions were intended to discourage employees from engaging in conduct that is protected by law. We will keep you posted about future developments as these proceedings go forward.

Added: March 6th, 2012 12:28PM   |   

To All CWA and TWU Local Unions

We are pleased to announce that our two unions have signed an affiliation agreement that creates exciting opportunities for us to build power for our combined 850,000 members and to grow our unions through new organizing. This alliance will enhance our efforts to build a strong progressive movement for change in this country.

Our goals as trade unionists are to enhance the job security, working conditions, and bargaining power of our members and grow through organizing and political engagement. We are stronger as a movement when we work together. This partnership enhances both of our unions' capacity to wage these battles on behalf of all workers.

Members of our unions often live and work in the same communities. Some of us share the same employers. This alliance will build on those synergies, allowing us to take on strategic campaigns and win.

By forming this alliance, we agree to develop a closer relationship between our unions, to launch joint projects, and share information. In the coming months, we will evaluate areas of shared strength and identify opportunities to work together.

This agreement is a positive step for both our organizations, and we are excited about the future as we move ahead together. We believe this is a movement-building opportunity let us seize it. We encourage each of you to get involved in strengthening our alliance and continuing our efforts on behalf of working people.

The agreement:

The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and the Communications Workers Union of America CWA agree to enter into an Alliance/Affiliation for the purpose of strengthening the collective interests of our combined or respective memberships.

The goal of both Unions is to enhance the job security, working conditions, bargaining and organizing capacity, necessary ti insure economic prosperity for our members, while preserving and building upon the proud history and accomplishments attributed to both Unions. It is further expected that both Unions will begin to act and work together in the following areas:

    Develop a closer relationship in order to maximize our efforts where we have common interests and issues

    Facilitate joint efforts, both Domestic and Internationally in order to achieve specific goals and objectives

    Develop coordinated and innovative Legislative and Political campaign and corporate strategies

    Evaluate areas of shared density for future growth and support with major emphasis on organizing

    Create information sharing mechanisms including research, education, training, health & safety, communications, legal, etc.

It is the TWU's and CWA's intent to maintain their respective identities, brands, logos, autonomy, etc., consistent with similar Union Alliances and Partnerships.

Added: March 2nd, 2012 10:58AM   |   

Cuomo's Internet phone deregulation bill dead

ALBANY, Mar 23, 2012 (Times Union - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has removed legislation from his executive budget that would have protected telecommunications companies offering Internet phone service from regulation.

Unions and consumer advocacy groups had opposed the bill, which had support of companies like Verizon and Time Warner Cable that argued the absence of the law provided an uncertain regulatory environment.

New York state currently doesn't regulate Internet phone service, although it heavily regulates traditional wire line phone service. Verizon is the largest provider in the state.

Over recent years, the telecommunications industry has pushed legislation across the country to prevent states from regulating Internet phone service. They argue such regulation would stifle innovation and competition and would be nearly impossible because of the wide array of players such as Vonage and Skype that don't have a physical network in the state like Verizon and Time Warner Cable.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto confirmed that the bill was no longer included in the budget, but he said the governor did not immediately have a comment on why the legislation did not survive.

Verizon still gets a significant amount of its revenues from its traditional phone service, but it has increased the amount of alternative phone offerings it sells to customers as it seeks to compete with cell phone and cable companies.

"Verizon is very disappointed that New York's lawmakers, who want the public to believe that 'New York is open for business,' will not be acting on this important measure to modernize the state's outdated telecommunications laws in this year's budget," said Verizon spokesman John Bonomo. "New York has fallen behind 21 other states in taking this step, losing its leadership position in terms of promoting business and consumer-friendly telcom reforms. If New York wants to maintain its key role in the global economy, it needs telcom laws that reflect 21st century realities." ___ (c)2012 Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) Visit Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) at www.timesunion.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

Added: March 29th, 2012 8:26PM   |   


We're all receiving proxies solicited by the Board of Directors of Verizon Communications Inc. for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders, taking place on Thursday, May 3, 2012. Please give them to your District Steward or either of the two Division Stewards of the Local, to be forwarded to the District 1 mobilizers.

Added: March 27th, 2012 1:40PM   |   

Verizon Wireless Call Center Closures to Affect More Than 3,000 Jobs

More than 3,000 Verizon Wireless workers will need to find new jobs over the next few months. The company will close or consolidate several call centers in the U.S. where it handles customer complaints and questions. The non-union employees were informed of the decision March 8th and are being given one of three different options, Verizon explained in a statement sent to CNET.

Workers can apply for a different job elsewhere in the company (if there are any, which is doubtful). They can try to find a similar job in another Verizon call center with relocation assistance in the form of $10,000 in after-tax dollars. Or they can opt for a severance package.

"We value the employees at these centers," Verizon further said in its statement. "They are highly trained, highly skilled, and experienced - and they will be encouraged to stay with the company.

Though this sounds like a cost-cutting move on Verizon's part, Verizon spokesperson, Tom Pica, insisted to CNET that it's not.

We are moving all the jobs to other call centers," Pica said. We will relocate as many employees as we can. We are investing in new technologies and training in the new core company centers." But the company also acknowledged that the move is designed to maximize the assets of the company and its real estate.

Added: March 20th, 2012 1:44PM   |   

Farewell to Tommy O

The Executive Board of Local 1106 wants to wish congratulations and good luck to Inside Delegate Tom Occhiogrosso on his retirement.
Tom started with New York Telephone in 1966. Early on he became a Shop Steward, and then went on to become the District Steward for the Newtown/Corona inside district. He served on the Executive Board as a Delegate representing Inside crafts for 18 years. During that time Tom also served on the Training Advisory Committee for the National Union as well as representing 1106 on the Next Step Committee. He was one of the two trainers who prepared many of you for the UTP/SPV tests. He is to thank for many of your upgrades.
Tom also served on the Inside Safety Committee and was instrumental in the many successes of that committee. He was the co-editor of the quarterly Safety Newsletter, published through this committee, besides being the editor of the Local 1106 News Letter.
Tom was a committed Delegate and all those members who had the opportunity to work with him recognized his dedication. He will be sorely missed.
The entire Executive Board will feel his absence, as he could always be counted on. He will especially be missed by Inside Vice President Hondo DeStefano and Inside Delegate Eileen Flannery who worked closely with him for 18 and 15 years, respectively. They both know that Tom started and retired as a true union labor leader.
From the entire Executive Board, we wish Tom well in his retirement and feel grateful we had the opportunity to work with him.

Added: January 6th, 2012 11:24AM   |   

Communications Workers Seeks Conditions on Verizon Bid for Cable Spectrum

Washington, D.C. -- In a filing to the Federal Communications Commission, the Communication Workers of America called for specific conditions on the application by Verizon Wireless to purchase additional spectrum from four cable providers.

CWA does not oppose the sale of spectrum. We believe that spectrum should be used and that additional spectrum is necessary to expand connectivity. However, to ensure competition, protect consumer choice, and promote job-creating investment, the FCC should set specific conditions on this application.

The FCC stated and CWA agrees that competition among network operators is critical to ensure that broadband is affordable & accessible. The proposed transaction, without conditions, would eliminate the historic competition between FiOS and cable company services through joint marketing arrangements. The result: reduced investment in infrastructure, job loss and higher prices for consumers. Millions of consumers in Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo and other cities in the Verizon footprint where the company has not yet built FiOS will never have access to the advanced fiber network.

The joint marketing agreements will give Verizon and the cable companies -- through their ability to offer a quad play of voice, video, data and wireless from the top video, broadband, and wireless providers -- the market power to harm competition, raise cable and broadband rates and reduce incentives for new video entrants to invest in their networks, leading to significant job loss.

CWA is calling for specific conditions on this transaction.

First, consistent with past transactions, the FCC should require that Verizon continue to offer FiOS broadband Internet access service, expand its in-region deployment to cover at least 95 percent of residences and, following the merger, continue to deploy a set percentage of broadband to rural and and low income areas, with timetables, data reporting and penalties for non-compliance.

Second, the joint marketing arrangements should not be permitted to put other marketers of Verizon Wireless service at a disadvantage. Comparable conditions and terms for the marketing of Verizon Wireless service should be available to all wireline competitors in a market. This will even the playing field among competitors.

CWA urges the FCC carefully to review this proposed transaction and address the effect on competition, consumers and jobs by setting conditions to ensure the deal is in the public interest.

Added: February 23rd, 2012 9:53AM   |   

Verizon Wireless' Partnership With Comcast Sets Up Potential Conflicts With FiOS

A few weeks ago, Verizon Wireless and Comcast took the first steps toward a partnership involving spectrum deals and an agreement to sell each others' services. The wireless giant started offering Comcast's Xfinity internet TV, and home phone services in Portland and Seattle, but there's a few potential conflicts that could crop up - specifically the fact that Verizon is also heavily invested in its FiOS services which compete directly with Comcast. While Portland and Seattle are both markets where FiOS is unavailable, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that as the Verizon Wireless/Comcast partnership expands, it could start encroaching upon FiOS areas, setting up a potentially awkward conflict between Verizon's wireless and telecommunications arms.

There's already some oddity on display: a page on Verizon Wireless' website claims Comcast offers "the fastest Internet service in the nation," while the Verizon FiOS page simultaneously claims it "beats every other cable provider in speed reliability." Comcast is even expecting to use this disconnect to weaken the position of FiOS going forward: last month, Comcast Cheif Executive Neil Smit, indicated that his company will work with Verizon Wireless to develop new products with the goal of giving Comcast "a very important strategic competitive advantage." Smit then confirmed that Comcast would be able to use that advantage." Smit then confirmed that Comcast would be able to use that advantage against Verizon in areas where FiOS and Comcast compete.

All this action comes even though Verizon hasn't managed to wrap up its $3.6 billion spectrum purchase from Comcast and Time Warner, a deal that's still under investigation by the FCC. We're still waiting to hear from the Department of Justice and the FCC, but it's clear both companies are taking this partnership seriously and hope to have joint services available as soon as possible.

Added: February 10th, 2012 2:54PM   |   

1106 Speaks Out Against Verigreedy

On December14th approximately 200 Local 1106 members joined the CWA & Occupy Wall Street Labor Outreach Committee for a march & general assembly in Forest Hills, Queens. We met at the Verizon Multi-Lingual Center and Central Office on 70th Rd. We were lead by our District 1 Occupy Wall Street liaison, Amy Muldoon, who had contacted the NYPD Community Affairs liaison & arranged to close off the streets to traffic as we marched. We went up 70th Rd. to Austin St., passing the Verizon Wireless Store, down to Continental Ave., then back to the Verizon building.

The energy was high and positive. We chanted as we marched and carried signs identifying ourselves as part of the 99% and calling out to the Verigreedy Company for a fair contract. We were joined by a few members of Local 1105, several members of our sister unions TWU, Local 100 and, SEIU, Local 1199, as well as Occupy Wall Street activists . Even some pedestrians who identified with our cause picked up signs and marched right along with us. It was a powerful feeling to be part of this very important march. There was a strong sense of unity and purpose.

When we completed the march we assembled in front of the Verizon building, around the large rat, supplied to us by the Teamsters, Local 814. There, Amy conducted an "open mic" session, which allowed anyone who wished to speak to do so. Many of our members, including President Elect, Jerry Bulzomi, got up to speak their minds. Members of the other unions spoke, too, sharing stories of their own struggles and pledging their support to us. One of the most moving stories came from a member of CWA Local 1101 whose employment was recently terminated due to "strike related activities." He told us how afraid his family is for the future, but how he, himself, felt no fear while he attended our rally because it gave him hope.

Being part of events like this gives everyone there hope and a sense of empowerment. We are strong and we are right! We encourage all members to participate in any future events that are scheduled. We will keep the tape and our steward body updated with that information as it becomes available. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to our Bargaining Teams to conduct mobilization activities. So, get involved! Get off the sidelines! And thank you to all of you who did participate.

Added: December 22nd, 2011 3:51PM   |   

Verizon to auction spectrum worth billions

Verizon Wireless to auction spectrum worth billions contingent on controversial deals

New York (AP) -- Verizon Wireless on Wednesday said it will auction a parcel of radio frequencies, which could be worth billions of dollars in an industry scrambling to offer consumers more cellular broadband.

The offer is contingent on Verizon getting government approval for three deals to buy spectrum from cable companies and Leap Wireless for a total of about $4 billion. Those deals were struck in November and December, but have met resistance from public-interest groups who say the cellphone company, already the nation's largest, doesn't need more spectrum and shouldn't be cozying up to competitors such as the cable companies.

Spectrum rights are the lifeblood of the wireless industry, since they're necessary to operate wireless networks. In recent years, growing demand for wireless data service has prompted cellphone companies to search for more spectrum, which would allow them to offer higher download speeds.

The spectrum Verizon proposes to auction has been called the "beachfront property" of the airwaves because it makes it easy to build a wireless broadband network with good coverage.

Verizon bought the rights to use the frequencies from the government for $4.4 billion in 2008. They were formerly used by UHF TV stations and cover areas like New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami.

Verizon is keeping a larger, nationwide swatch of spectrum it bought in the same auction. It's using that for its "4G LTE" network, which went live a year and a half ago.

Verizon spokeswoman Robin Nicole denied that the auction is designed to get regulators at the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department to approve the spectrum deals with the cable companies and Leap. If those transactions go through, Verizon doesn't need the licenses it plans to auction, she said.

"We wanted to put these licenses in the hands of other carriers who could use them, for the benefit of their customers," she said.

One of the companies that might be interested in the spectrum is No. 2 carrier AT&T Inc., which has been building its own LTE network in adjacent bands.

An AT&T spokesman said the company has no comment on Verizon's proposal.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture controlled by Verizon Communications Inc., the New York-based company. Vodafone Group PLC, a British cellphone company, owns the 45 percent Verizon doesn't own.

Verizon shares fell 10 cents to $37.63 in midday trading. The company is set to report first-quarter results on Thursday morning.

Added: April 19th, 2012 12:32PM   |   

Verizon, Time Warner Push Ahead with Cross-Selling

Maisie Ramsey
Wireless Week

Verizon Wireless and Time Warner have begun cross-selling each other's products in Ohio, Kansas and North Carolina even though the government has yet to close its review of the marketing arrangement and a multi-billion dollar spectrum sale associated with it.

The companies said yesterday that customers in Kansas City, Kan Raleigh, N.C. and Columbus, Toledo and areas of southwest Ohio would be able to purchase Time Warner's video, Internet and voice services and Verizon's smartphones and tablets from both companies. Customers who sign up for the bundled services may be eligible for a $200 prepaid debit card.

Verizon is buying $3.9 billion worth of AWS spectrum from Time Warner Cable, BrightHouse Networks, Comcast and Cox Communications. Along with the spectrum deal, the five companies also agreed to market and cross-sell each other's products.

The FCC is still reviewing the spectrum transaction and has asked the five companies for information about the marketing arrangement. The Justice Department is also said to be looking into the marketing deals.

Verizon and its cable partners insist that the cross-selling deal and spectrum sale are unrelated despite being forged at the same time, a claim that has been repeatedly called into question by opponents to the deal.

"They're two separate issues," Verizon spokesman Paul Macchia says. "The spectrum has nothing to do with the agreement between Time Warner Cable and Verizon Wireless."

A spokesman for the FCC could not be immediately reached for comment.

Verizon has said the FCC has no jurisdiction over the marketing arrangement and has also pushed ahead with cross-selling Comcast's products in Seattle, Wash. Portland, Ore., and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The cross-selling agreements came under intense scrutiny during a recent congressional hearing, when lawmakers asked whether the deal amounted to a non-compete clause between Verizon's FiOS service and its partners' cable offerings.

Added: April 18th, 2012 12:25PM   |   

Verizon 2012 Dependent Verification Request

We have been notified by the Company that they will be conducting a Dependent Verification process and will be sending a Dependent Verification Communication package to all their employees and retirees who have a dependent on record. It is extremely important that every member take the time to review the entire package. The material is time sensitive and if ignored your dependent's coverage will be terminated. Action is required by everyone.

4/17/2012 - Packages Mailed to Home Address on file
5/15/2012 - Reminder Mailed
6/15/2012 - Communications End Date
6/20 - 6/25/2012 - Coverage Termination Notices Sent
7/13/2012 - Grace Period Ends
7/31/2012 - Termination of Benefits for Unverified Dependents

The first action that must be taken by our members is for everyone to review the list of dependents they have enrolled as of March 6, 2012. They should note that dependents who are certified as disabled or are covered under a QMCSO are not subject to this verification process. Dependents who fall into these categories are pre-populated with a verified date and no further action is required.

If you have an ineligible dependent on your list, you must remove that dependent from coverage by accessing the website at www.verizon.com/benefits or by calling the Dependent Verification Center at 1-877-489-2367. They should follow the instructions that are provided in the package under Verification Request Notice - in section - Your Action is Required - Dependent Verification. The Company has agreed that they will not be looking back on any of the changes that we make during the first phase of the verification process. The time for us to drop a dependent that does not meet the qualifications for coverage is as soon as you receive the Dependent Verification Communications.

Everyone must follow the instructions to verify your dependents. Everyone MUST verify their dependents. There are documents that are needed for every dependent on the list that you have enrolled as your dependents. Please follow the instructions that are outlined in the "Eligibility Rules and Documentations Required" section in the package. If you are having trouble obtaining any document birth certificate, marriage license, or whatever document you need to verify eligibility, you should call the "Dependent Verification" representative at 1-877-489-2367 to inform them. All members should make sure they have received the Dependent Verification Communications and they know how important it is to follow the instructions provided.

Everyone must receive a confirmation notice when the process is completed. The Union will be working with the Company during this process to ensure that members are given enough time if they encounter a problem. We need to know the specifics of those problems in the early stages of the process to avoid any coverage being terminated.

Added: April 17th, 2012 11:08AM   |   

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