We, the members of the Communication Workers of America located in the Southeastern United States designated as District 3, do hereby and hereon sign this petition as a Vote of No Confidence in our District 3 Executive Board Officers and District 3 Bargaining Team regarding the 2012 Core Contract and all addendums and appendixes related to the same.
The epic lack of adequate representation as evidenced by the Tentative Agreement dated August 7, 2012 will forever mark in the memory of all represented employees identified herein the lowest point of confidence in our elected District Executive Board ever recorded.
Our petition identifies that as a body of members we are unified in our response to this Tentative Agreement.
We will not accept in any agreement already tentatively agreed upon, or even in the future yet to be discussed, any binding contract language that would result in a step backwards for our membership.
The specific grievous complaints that we present here within this petition must be rectified with forethought, patience, and careful planning so that present and future members may have job security, quality of family life, and the assurance of pay protection.
What must be clear and evident for all concerned is that dues paid will result in quality representation, and more specifically quality bargaining representation.
The specific grievous complaints are listed here as an abbreviated list highlighting the lack of representation we feel that was demonstrated by our collective bargaining team. The list does not include all of the problems with the Tentative Agreement, but is meant to reveal the level, or lack thereof, of representation that occurred.
1. The backwards step of creating the mini-contract (Network Addendum for U-Verse Field Operations) within the core contract, thereby creating a sub-tier of technician. We do not know how the bargaining committee thought this was a good idea. Data on the telephone lines has been a reality for decades, and because the data is IP driven does change the basic fact that it is data. Services Technicians have always had data enabled circuit installation, rearrangement, and repair as a function of their job title. In the BellSouth Job Brief and Description this can be found in item number 5: “Installs, rearranges, and removes telephone equipment and associated plant including wiring and cabling associated with services such as non-design watts, ISDN, ESSX, etc.”
The work of IP data installation and repair is Services Technician work. The Premise Technician should be brought into the core contract as a Services Technician. There is absolutely no reason ever to make this work a sub-tier technician title called Wire Tech and then create an Addendum that strips the union employee of rights afforded to he or she in the core contract.
The Addendum at its best is a horrible piece of bargained for language. The obvious attempt by the company to relieve Services Technicians of their work and then to have it performed by this sub-tier technician title is appalling. Any Addendum that has in its first four paragraphs a clause that states it shall prevail over the core contract is wrong, and then to further the pain inflicted it closes with a paragraph on page 23 that states the ramifications of the changes will not be subject to National Labor Law, and that its commitments will exist beyond the life of the tentative agreement until the company and the union mutually agree that it shall cease. When would the company ever agree to give up keeping us under its thumb? And why would the union ever think this kind of language is acceptable to its members?
Every section of the Addendum clearly is substandard to the core agreement and it is quite obvious that the intention of the company is to surplus employees from the core contract as a direct result of this Addendum.
Did the bargaining team even read the core contract articles that would not apply to its long time dues paying members when forced into this title? Just the knowledge that the pension of the affected employees would be changed should have been a clue.
2. The backwards step of making the Outside Plant Technician worth less than the Services Technician. How could the bargaining team even think for a second that the OPT was not worthy of all the same core contract privileges that the rest of the titles enjoy? There was never a title that did more Facility Tech wage scale 32 work on a daily basis than the OPT. There should not ever be less or more protection in surplus situations or wage scale considerations between Services Technicians and Outside Plant Technicians.
3. Service Requirements. How could the union allow the company to continue to force tasks and overtime hours to provide one group of customers (U-Verse) excellent customer service while providing another class of customers (POTS) substandard service? Obviously there is a need to provide quality service to all of our customers, unless of course the company has decided that these legacy customers just are not worth the trouble. The bargaining team should make sure that all of our customers are met with a timely response to their call by knowledgeable, skillful, motivated and well compensated union core contract employees. There would never be a service emergency during a simple rain shower if adequate levels of staffing were provided.
4. Profit Sharing. Does the union bargaining committee realize the profits being created by the employees of this company? The core fundamental basic life-giving strategy of a union is to represent the employee in regards to compensation with the company. Compensation takes many forms, pay, healthcare, and pensions being the main three. The company continues to make not just profits but record profits and now for the last two contracts we have been asked by our district representatives to give back our share of the profits in regards to healthcare premiums and actual costs as coinsurance, copays, and prescription drugs take away our earnings. No one denies that healthcare is expensive, but it is a bargained for form of profit sharing in which we share in the success of the company. Just three years ago we had the greatest healthcare coverage in costs to the employee in the entire telecommunications industry, and maybe even in any industry in the United States of America. We opened the door three years ago to premiums and now we are finding that the person on the other side wants that door wide open. Stop accepting the premise that we don’t deserve to share in the success of this company and demand that our healthcare coverage be the very best, not average, not above average, but the very best.
Let us as the membership of the Communication Workers of America send a clear message to our District 3 Executive Board Officers, and to the District 3 Bargaining Team: We are united in sending you a Vote of No Confidence!
The District 3 Executive Board Officers need to be relieved of their positions, and the District 3 Bargaining Team needs to be replaced with rank and file members who are going to be affected by not only the pension increases, but also the other contract language that will continue for many contracts into the future.
Please sign this petition either online, or at your local union hall, and then forward the signed petitions to the National CWA Headquarters, and to the District 3 CWA Headquarters. We are the UNION.
Drafted by union member Alton Carter on behalf of CWA Local 3203 President Don Hamrick, the members in Athens, GA, and the entire CWA District 3 membership on August 24, 2012. Thanks to all who have helped in creating this document and for those who will be helping to spread the Vote of No Confidence to every local union hall in the district.