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“My Friends it is solidarity of Labor we want. We do not want to find fault with each other, but to solidify our forces, and say to each other: We must be together: our masters are joined together, and we must do the same thing”

...Mother Jones

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By better than a 86% margin members of CWA

District One have authorized the CWA

International Executive Board to call a STRIKE

against Verizon Communications.  

Our contract with Verizon expires on Saturday, August 1st

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Regional Bargaining Report # 25

Thursday July 30, 2015 

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CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York.  The Regional Bargaining Committee gave the company our proposal on building out FiOS in all areas across the northeast, including upstate New York and New England cities, the Town of Brookhaven, and eastern Suffolk County. 

 In order to help us make our case to the company, three special guests joined us:  Mayor Stephanie Miner of Syracuse, Mayor Shayne Gallo of Kingston, and Bob Master, District One Legislative and Political Director.  After we presented the demand, the Mayors forcefully told the company how important it is to get FiOS in the cities they represent.  They said the absence of true high-speed internet in their communities is hindering educational, cultural and economic development. Both gave several examples of how job-creating economic and cultural projects could not move forward because of the lack of high speed internet.  Mayor Miner even told the company how frustrated her family is that they have no alternative to Time Warner service, which is expensive and has repeated outages.  Mayor Gallo talked about ongoing construction projects in Kingston, including a new high school and a branch of Ulster County Community College, which desperately need FiOS service.  Bob Master summed up our presentation by explaining that our members' interest in jobs and job security is directly linked to the public interest, as reflected in the presence of the Mayors today at the bargaining table, because maintaining the legacy network, and building and installing FiOS is what our members do and what the public needs.  He questioned whether the company still holds on to the commitment it once had to meeting the needs of the public, and said that the union is baffled by the company's failure to take advantage of Governor Cuomo's $500 million New York Broadband Program which is available to subsidize the buildout of high-speed internet in underserved communities. This would sharply reduce the company's own investment costs in building FiOS in NYS.

The company's bargainers took extensive notes on the presentations, but did not respond to any of our presentations at the bargaining table. Instead Verizon chose to use a company spokesman to blast the Union in the press for including the Mayors in the negotiating process calling it a “publicity gimmick”. Does the Company actually believes that the Mayor’s constituents need for reliable high speed internet so underprivileged children can have additional educational opportunities and the economic growth of the Mayors regions are Union gimmicks or do they just not give a SHIT about the consumers in there footprint? 

  In addition to having Mayor Miner and Mayor Gallo at the table today, the Union presented letters which echoed the two Mayors and also asked for FiOS in their communities from Mayor Robert Palmieri of Utica, Mayor Joseph Fusco of Rome, Mayor Kathy Sheehan of Albany and Supervisor Ed Romaine of the Town of Brookhaven.

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It is time that Verizon invests in America and build FIOS through out there footprint.  Corporations like Verizon should not be destroying middle class jobs. They should be helping to rebuild the American economy and sharing their success with the workforce that made that possible. 

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It’s time to fight back!

Turn up the Heat in your Work place

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Now more than ever we need to mobilize!

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Mobilize! – Mobilize! – Mobilize!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 24

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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The CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met with the Company today on an informal basis to continue discussions on issues involving Flexibility, Health Care, and Call Sharing.  We also received a presentation from the Company explaining the effects the sale of California, Florida, and Texas to Frontier will have on our members.   The Company sold these territories for $10.5 Billion but their “subject matter expert” couldn’t tell the Union what the Company plans to do with the profits of the sale.  The Union was adamant that the money should be invested back into the landline business to build Fios.   

The Company still has not begun to bargain seriously.  With only 3 days left until the expiration of our contract we need every member to participate in mobilization more than ever to send the Company a message that it is time to start bargaining a fair and just contract for our members and their employees.  

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MOBILIZE NOW!!

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FIGHT BACK!!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 23

Monday, July 28, 2015 

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The CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met with the Company today on an informal basis to continue discussion on issues involving Flexibility.  As the clock keeps ticking toward expiration, the Company will not even engage in honest, informal discussions around difficult issues that both parties need addressed even though we have tried to engage them in these discussions.

The Company needs to get serious and remove their retrogressive demands and start bargaining with your Union.

With only 4 days left until the expiration of our contract it is clear that there is no urgency on the part of the Company to reach an agreement. Verizon has no regard for our members who built this Company and made this Company profitable.

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Strike signs are being delivered to all Locals by Thursday.

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It’s time to fight back!

Turn up the Heat in your Work place

Now more than ever we need to mobilize!

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Mobilize! – Mobilize! – Mobilize!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 22

Monday, July 27, 2015  

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CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees reconvened bargaining in Rye, NY.

Today we met with the Company and had informal discussions centered on Flexibility, Call Share and Health Care issues. These informal discussions were suggested by the Union in an attempt to move the bargaining process along.

While we were meeting, Marc Reed put out another email suggesting that the Company is the one who is bargaining seriously and they have made every effort to move the process along. Just a reminder of what the Company still has on the table:

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  • JOB SECURITY- Remove the protections against layoffs and forced transfer
  • NO COLA
  • CORPORATE PROFIT SHARING at risk if not settled by certain date. Eliminate the minimum payout.
  • DIFFERENTIALS AND PREMIUM PAY -Eliminate Saturday and Sunday Differentials and premium pay.  Tour differentials only paid for time worked between 9pm and 6 am. Eliminate all but 10% differential.
  • SUNDAY TOURS- Include Sunday as part of basic work week.
  • OVERTIME – only paid after 40 hours workedNo payment of more than one and half time (1 ½ X). Eliminate caps on Overtime.
  • TECH CHANGE NOTICE- reduce notice given to the Union of any major technological change
  • BENEFITS- the Company proposes major reductions in medical benefits including higher deductibles, co-pays, premiums and co-insurance.  The Company also proposed to remove the Unions ability to negotiate retiree health care benefits. Eliminate Class II/Sponsored Child coverage.
  • PENSIONS- Eliminate the lump sum pension.  In addition, employees would have to choose between a pension which would be frozen at 30 years and an enhanced 401K. If you choose Pension – No 401K match.  If you choose 401K enhanced (100%)-Your Pension freezes immediately.
  • 401K Plan changes- begin charging a quarterly administration and a $50 fee for processing new loans.
  • DISABILITY BENEFITS- Eliminate Accident Disability Plan. Establish a rolling 5 years period for 100% payment on Sickness Disability. Once 100% is used – members are paid 50% (currently full pay benefits recycle after being back at work for 13 weeks)
  • CALL SHARING- give the Company additional leeway to route calls out of our bargaining units and to contractors while giving contractors the handling of all new products and services.
  • TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENTS– Ability to transfer employees to any state in Verizon footprint.
  • TUITION ASSISTANCE- Expanding the list of “Excluded” studies
  • FORCE ADJUSTMENT PLAN- changes to the FAP that would eliminate job security provisions.
  • WORK FAMILY- Reduce funding by $900,000. Added limitations if not agreed to by a certain date.
  • FAMILY CARE LEAVE- eliminate
  • EXCISE TAX- Company wants ability to change medical plans, health care spending account or premiums to avoid excise tax without negotiating with the Union.
  • PRE TEST TRAINING - Eliminate
  • INCOME PROTECTION PLAN - Would require employees to sign a Disclaimer to receive an IPP.

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Reed also suggests in his e mail that he has a concern for you and your family. Ask yourself, if he really gave a shit about you and your family why is he proposing to gut the contract that provides for you and your family.

While it is true that the Union has made proposals to reduce our health care costs, to increase Pensions, expand Job Security, increase paid time off and more. These are legitimate proposals that a Corporation as rich as Verizon can provide to our members.

We need to send a very clear message that this is not acceptable, that we will not be passive as they seek to gut our contract.

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MOBILIZE!!!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 21

Friday, July 24, 2015  

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CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met with the Company today in Rye, NY.

Today the company asked questions about some of the Union’s initial set of proposals and then they rejected just about all of the Unions Proposals on Job Security, Pensions and Healthcare.

It is clear that Verizon’s agenda has not changed. The Company is still hell- bent on retrogressive demands regarding Pensions, Healthcare, Job Security, Disability, Work- Family Issues and more.

We need to send a very clear message that this is not acceptable, that we will not be passive as they seek to gut our contract. This is not a Company facing a financial crisis. They are extremely profitable yet with their proposals they seek to destroy our future.

Tomorrow, thousands of CWA and IBEW members and retirees will be at the Rally at 11AM at Verizon headquarters at 140 West Street in New York City.  Every member should be at his rally, and should bring their families, neighbors and friends. Remember to wear RED!!!

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Now more than ever we need to mobilize!

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Mobilize! – Mobilize! – Mobilize!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 20

Thursday, July 23, 2015  

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CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees spent today reviewing information that has been provided by the Company.

There continues to be no progress made at the bargaining table. If the Company wants a deal by the expiration of our Agreements and avoid the cost of a battle with us they should start getting serious at the bargaining table. The Company’s Regional Bargaining Committee still has not responded to a single Union proposal.

We need every member to attend the rally on July 25th, 2015 at 140 West Street, New York, N.Y. at 11 am. to send a strong message to Verizon that we will not allow their Greed to destroy good Union jobs.

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IT IS TIME TO GET ANGRY

IT IS TIME TO GET INVOLVED

 IT’S TIME TO FIGHT BACK

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Now more than ever we need to mobilize!

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Mobilize! – Mobilize! – Mobilize!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 19

Wednesday, July 22, 2015  

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CWA District 1/ IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York. The Union continued to ask Verizon about safety issues involving work being done by Contractors. All members should remember that safety should be their #1 concern. The Union also raised concerns about the closing of the LPC stores which are now staffed with unqualified contractors.

Today we met with the Company’s “subject matter experts” on Absence, Disability and Family Care Leave. Part of the Company’s proposal was to eliminate Accident Disability and to greatly reduce the Sickness Disability benefits. Another portion of their proposal was to eliminate the Family Care Leave that has been in effect for over twenty years. There is no end to how low Verizon will stoop. They want to take benefits away from sick and injured employees, and from people who are caring for seriously ill family members. Verizon also wants to separate employees from the payroll who were hurt on the job, after 52 weeks of disability.

Your Union Bargaining Committee repeatedly reminded the Company Bargaining committee that we had rejected their proposal and we made it clear that we think this is a disgraceful and heartless attack by Verizon on our members and their families. You have to wonder what kind of people make up these proposals.

This morning a Verizon Vice President visited workers in a Brooklyn garage and told them that there is significant progress being made at the Bargaining table. We would love to know where he gets his information from since there has not been any agreement on any issue and not one of the Union’s proposals has been addressed by the Company’s Regional Bargaining Committee.

It’s shocking how Verizon executives continue to lie to their employees about the status of bargaining.

With only 10 days left until the contract expiration this Company needs to get serious about bargaining.

Every member should make plans to attend the July 25th, 2015 rally at Verizon Headquarters at 140 West Street in NY City. The Rally will begin at 11 AM.

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IT’S TIME TO GET ANGRY!

IT’S TIME TO GET INVOLVED!

IT’S TIME TO FIGHT BACK!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 18

Tuesday, July 21, 2015  

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CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York.

This morning we met with the Company and rejected numerous sections of the Company’s proposal, including Job Security, Pensions, Force Adjustment Plan changes and more.

We also reminded the Company that they have not yet responded to a single Union Proposal at the Regional Table. We told them we need our issues addressed.

The Union also raised questions about the safety performance of the contractors who are working on poles in Suffolk County. At this point the Company has not provided answers regarding the issues that were raised by the Union.

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All members should be aware of Verizon’s safety creed:

“The demands of the service or the urgency of the job are never so great that we cannot take time to perform our work safely”

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This afternoon we met with the Company’s “subject matter expert” on Call Sharing. He explained that the Company’s proposal would allow them to contract out 100% of the work that is in the call share agreement (Reps, FSCs, EVRCs)

They claim it is not their intention to do so, but they want the flexibility to do whatever the hell they want.

The Company needs to get serious and begin bargaining with your Union. The clock is ticking and time is running out.

Reminder…Every member is expected to attend the Rally on Saturday July 25, at 140 West Street at 11 am.

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Mobilize!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 17

Monday, July 20, 2015  

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CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY.

On Friday the Company responded to the Union’s request for information on call centers which we requested over two weeks earlier.  After reviewing the information over the weekend we found that it was incomplete and incorrect. Today the Union criticized the Company’s committee for not providing all the data.  The Union also blasted Verizon on the Company’s plan to go forward with the contracting of pole work in Suffolk County and possibly Albany, Syracuse, and Utica. 

Next on the agenda was a presentation on the Company’s Pension Proposal.  After listening to 5 minutes worth of their retrogressive and insulting pension presentation/proposal, the Union made it clear to the Company that we are looking for improvements to the Pension Plans not diminishments to our retirement security. 

This Corporation has no respect for the members of our Union who have built this Company.  All members should be as angry as the Bargaining Team.  It is time for every member to make it clear to management that we are not going to accept these retrogressive demands

Reminder…Every member is expected to attend the Rally on Saturday July 25, at 140 West Street at 11 am.

We need to show this Company that we are United and ready to Fight!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 16

Friday, July 17, 2015  

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CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York.

Today we presented the Company with a proposal dealing with Neutrality. We also requested additional information regarding costs associated with our collective bargaining agreements.

The Committee ended today’s meeting by expressing their anger to the Company regarding their plans to move forward with Contracting Initiatives in Suffolk County beginning on Monday.

Every member should realize this is not just an attack against our members in Suffolk County; this is an attack against every member of our Union. Verizon is out to destroy our jobs and our standard of living.Every member needs to engage in the fight to preserve good Union jobs.

Bargaining is scheduled to resume on Monday.

Locals should continue conducting their strike votes and preparing for the July 25, 2015 rally at 140 West St in NY City. The rally will begin at 11 AM. Members from all areas of the Verizon footprint will be joining us in the fight to protect our wages, benefits and working conditions that are under attack by this Greedy Corporation. Every member from every Local should be at this rally to send a message to Verizon.

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Mobilize!            Mobilize!            Mobilize!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 15

Thursday, July 16, 2015  

CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York.  The Union spent most of the day reviewing data that the Company provided late last night. We continue to wait for more information that has been previously requested.

All employees in the East will be greeted by Mark Reeds latest e mail. After reading it you may come away with the belief that Verizon is financially struggling.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We can’t allow Mark Reed to keep lowering the bar. The only reason for a Company who is making enormous profits like Verizon to take away from their employees is GREED! They want you to get less while Corporate Pigs like Mark Reed take more. Instead of taking more from our members they should share Verizon’s financial success with the workers who made those profits possible.

It would be more advantageous for Verizon to start having serious discussions around issues at the bargaining table rather than taking time away from this process by sending misleading e mails to our members. For example when Reed explained Medicare Advantage, he states that there would be “reduced costs”.

Guess whose costs would be reduced? Verizon’s- not yours. Their Medicare Advantage Proposal would save Verizon tens of millions of dollars and they have the nerve to propose increasing the cost for Retirees. They are despicable.

It’s Time to Get Angry!

It’s Time to Fight Back!

Reminder…Every member is expected to attend the Rally on Saturday July 25, at 140 West Street at 11 a.m.

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Regional Bargaining Report # 14

Wednesday, July 15, 2015  

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CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York.  The Union worked on proposals, reviewed information provided by the Company and continues to wait for more information that has been previously requested.  There were no meetings with the Company today.

Tonight there was a scheduled Public Service Commission hearing in New York City to discuss the state of Telecommunications throughout NYS. Several members of the bargaining team attended the hearing. CWA told the PSC what is really going on at Verizon:

-Job Losses
-Deteriorating Service Quality and;

-Millions without FiOS!!!

While Verizon is failing to build out FiOS and maintain its copper network, at the Bargaining Table this Greedy Corporation is proposing to completely eliminate Job Security to slash thousands of Jobs.

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That’s Unacceptable!  We are not going to take it!

It’s Time to Fight Back!!

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Reminder…Every member is expected to attend the Rally on Saturday July 25, at 140 West Street at 11 am.

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Regional Bargaining Report # 13

Tuesday, July 14, 2015  

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CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York. 

We met in the morning and afternoon and handed more Union proposals highlighted by a comprehensive proposal on call sharing which would assure all calls would be handled by a CWA or IBEW union member.

Locals are in the process of conducting a Strike authorization Vote. We need to send the Company a strong message that we will do whatever it takes to achieve a fair and just contract.

Reminder…Every member is expected to attend the Rally on Saturday July 25, at 140 West Street at 11 am.

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We need to show this Company that we are United and ready to Fight!

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MOBILIZE!        MOBILIZE!         MOBILIZE!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 12

Monday, July 13, 2015  

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CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees reconvened today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, New York.  The Union worked on proposals, reviewed information provided by the Company and continues to wait for more information that has been previously requested.  There were no meetings with the Company today.

We are less are than 3 weeks from expiration and Verizon is hell-bent on destroying this Union and its members standards of living.  Locals and members need to continue their mobilization efforts.

Keep up the FIGHT for a fair and just contract!! 

Every member is expected to attend the Rally on Saturday July 25, at 140 West Street.

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Regional Bargaining Report # 11

July 10, 2015

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CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees met Verizon today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY. The Union passed several proposals regarding Health Care, Dental and Vision for active and retired members which are in deep contrast to the Company’s healthcare proposals which would raise healthcare costs for our members by up to 143%.

The Company had no proposals for the Union today.

Your bargaining committee continues reviewing information provided by the Company.  Bargaining is scheduled to resume on Monday.

With two weeks to go before the July 25, 2015 Rally scheduled for Verizon headquarters at 140 West Street in New York City, locals should be doing everything necessary to ensure that as many members, retirees and family members as possible attend. 

We will be joined by Union Sisters and Brothers from several areas of the country who will be supporting us in our fight against Corporate Greed to protect our wages, benefits and working conditions and also that we will not forget our retirees.

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MOBILIZE!          MOBILIZE!          MOBILIZE!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 10

July 9, 2015

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CWA District 1/IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Teams met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY. We gave the Company numerous proposals centered around Pensions, Benefits, Tuition Assistance and more.

You may have or soon will be receiving an e mail from Marc Reed, Verizon’s Executive Vice President explaining to you the Company’s proposal to slash your retirement security.

It will state that you have two options:

  • Option A - Continue to participate in the pension plan but it freezes at 30 years and lose any company matching contributions to the 401(k) plan.

Or

  • Option B - Give up future pension accrual and participate in the 401 (k) with 100% match and possible profit sharing contributions up to 3% of salary.

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What the e mail doesn’t say is the Union proposed:

  • Option C - Our proposals include pensions for all employees, higher pension amounts, to retain the lump sum cash out, and an improved 401 (k) plan for all employees.

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While Verizon proposes to destroy your retirement security, it’s a safe bet that Marc Reed and the top executives of this corporation don’t have to worry about the size of their retirement portfolios.

Verizon should stop wasting their time writing lengthy e mails filled with propaganda and get serious at the bargaining table. Why would a corporation as wealthy as Verizon want to take away from their employees?

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We could think of only one reason, and it rhymes with Reed-

                                                               GREED!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 9

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July 7,2015

 

 

CWA District 1, IBEW Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional Bargaining Committees resumed negotiations with Verizon today at the Rye Town Hilton inRyeNY.

 

The Company provided data that the Union requested on Healthcare and Pensions. The Regional Bargaining Committee spent much of the day reviewing the data.

Your Union teams presented proposals covering numerous issues and also asked questions regarding the data we received.

 

The Company will be giving another presentation on healthcare tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

 

Preparations are being made for Strike Authorization Votes to be held in all locals.

 

Members should plan on attending the July 25th rally at Verizon Headquarters at 140 West St in NY City.  Every member from every Local should be at this Rally to send a message to Verizon.

The Rally will begin at 11 a.m.

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Let’s Rock NY City Again in 2015

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Now more than ever we need to mobilize!

 

Mobilize!  -  Mobilize!  -  Mobilize!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 8

July 2, 2015

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CWA District 1 Regional Bargaining Committee met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY.

Discussion centered on their proposal to the Force Adjustment Plan (FAP). The proposed changes to the FAP could result in the following, with little or no regard to seniority:

  • Closing of work locations/centers
  • Reduce the number of job vacancies to surplus employees.
  • IPP offers
  • Forced Transfers throughout the State.
  • Layoffs

The proposal also weakens the Union’s ability to return contracted work back to the bargaining unit.

Bargaining will resume on Tuesday July 7, 2015.

We need every member to make plans to attend the July 25th, 2015 rally at Verizon Headquarters at 140 West Street in NY City. The Rally will begin at 11 AM.

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IT’S TIME TO GET ANGRY!

IT’S TIME TO GET INVOLVED!

IT’S TIME TO FIGHT BACK!

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WE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS COMPANY TO GUT OUR JOB SECURITY PROVISIONS!

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Regional Bargaining Report # 7

July 1, 2015

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CWA District 1 and IBEW Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY.

In the morning and afternoon we were given a presentation on the utilization of the Medical and Prescription plans.

This evening we exchanged additional proposals with the Company.

Regional Bargaining will resume tomorrow morning.

We need every member to make plans to attend the July 25th, 2015 rally at Verizon Headquarters at 140 West Street  in NY City. The Rally will begin at 11 AM.

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Regional Bargaining Report # 6

June 30, 2015

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CWA District 1 NY/NE and IBEW NY/NE Regional and Local Bargaining Teams  met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY. The Regional Committee presented proposals to the Company including a proposal to eliminate all Contracting and to stop plans for future contracting.

The Company responded to some of the Unions request for information and the Committee spent the rest of the day reviewing the information that was provided.

The Regional Committee is scheduled to meet with the Company tomorrow morning to receive information on the utilization on the medical plans.

We need to continue to stand strong and get our message out that we are more committed than  we’ve ever been to fight to protect our wages, benefits and working conditions.

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Mobilize!        Mobilize!        Mobilize!

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Regional Bargaining Report #5

Monday, June 29, 2015

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CWA District 1 and IBEW met with the Company today in Rye New York where the Company made a presentation on Excise tax, which is a potential tax on health care plans related to the Affordable Care Act. 

Last week, in the Company’s propaganda they boasted about offering a wage increase to 38,000 workers.  As usual, when dealing with this greedy corporation the devil is in the details. 

Here are some of the other things that Verizon has proposed:

JOB SECURITY- Remove the protections against layoffs and forced transfer.

NO COLA

CORPORATE PROFIT SHARING at risk if not settled by certain date. Eliminate the minimum payout.

DIFFERENTIALS AND PREMIUM PAY -Eliminate Saturday and Sunday Differentials and premium pay.  Tour differentials only paid for time worked between 9pm and 6 am. Eliminate all but 10% differential.

SUNDAY TOURS- Include Sunday as part of basic work week.

OVERTIME – only paid after 40 hours worked. No payment of more than one and half time

(1 ½ X). Eliminate caps on Overtime.

TECH CHANGE NOTICE- reduce notice given to the Union of any major technological change

BENEFITS- the Company proposes major reductions in medical benefits including higher deductibles, co-pays, premiums and co-insurance.  The Company also proposed to remove the Unions ability to negotiate retiree health care benefits. Eliminate Class II/Sponsored Child coverage.

PENSIONS- Eliminate the lump sum pension.  In addition, employees would have to choose between a pension which would be frozen and an enhanced 401K. If you choose Pension – No 401K match.  If you choose 401K enhanced (100%)-Your Pension freezes.

401K Plan changes- begin charging a quarterly administration and a $50 fee for processing new loans.

DISABILITY BENEFITS- Eliminate Accident Disability Plan. Establish a rolling 5 years period for 100% payment on Sickness Disability. Once 100% is used – members are paid 50% (currently full pay benefits recycle after being back at work for 13 weeks)

CALL SHARING- give the Company additional leeway to route calls out of our bargaining units and to contractors while giving contractors the handling of all new products and services.

TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENTS– Ability to transfer employees to any state in Verizon footprint.

TUITION ASSISTANCE- Expanding the list of “Excluded” studies

FORCE ADJUSTMENT PLAN- changes to the FAP that would eliminate job security provisions.

WORK FAMILY- Reduce funding by $900,000. Added limitations if not agreed to by a certain date.

FAMILY CARE LEAVE- eliminate

EXCISE TAX- Company wants ability to change medical plans, health care spending account or premiums to avoid excise tax without negotiating with the Union.

PRE TEST TRAINING - Eliminate

INCOME PROTECTION PLAN - Would require employees to sign a Disclaimer to receive an IPP.

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This is not a Company facing a financial crisis. They are extremely profitable. This is not a Company coming to its union employees seeking ways to work together to face the challenges of the future. Their proposals seek to destroy our future.

We need to send a very clear message that this is not acceptable, that we will not be passive as they seek to gut our contract.

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MOBILIZE!!!

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Regional Bargaining Report #4

Wednesday, June 25, 2015

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CWA District 1 and IBEW Regional Bargaining Committees met with the Company today at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye, NY. The Regional Committee continued making proposals to the Company to improve the working conditions and quality of life for our members. We are waiting for information and data that we have requested from the Company.

Regional bargaining will resume and Local bargaining will start on Monday, June 29, 2015 in Rye, N.Y.

We need to continue to stand strong and get our message out that we are more committed than we’ve ever been to fight to protect our wages, benefits and working conditions.

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Regional Bargaining Report # 3

June 24, 2015

The CWA District One and IBEW New York/New England Regional Bargaining Committee met with the company today in Westchester, NY.  The first session of the day focused on the questions the committee had for the company on some of their proposals.

During the second session, the Union Committee made it very clear to the Company with a proposal on job security how important this issue is to the Union and the Members.  We pointed out examples where the Company has declared surpluses as they continue with their plans to contract out work our Members perform.  

We need to continue to be united and mobilize so the greedy executives at Verizon understand we will do whatever it takes to gain a fair and just contract.

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Regional Bargaining Report #2

June 23, 2015

 In response to Verizon’s opening day bargaining position, Vice President Dennis Trainor said claims about the pay increases they put on the bargaining table yesterday are simply a smokescreen designed to hide the harsh reality of their concessionary demands; deep cuts to pension benefits, skyrocketing increases in medical costs , and the complete elimination of job security. Despite $9.6 billion in profits in 2014 and $44 million in compensation to their top five executives, Verizon wants to eliminate middle-class jobs and let customer service deteriorate. Their proposals would slash thousands of jobs and leave our remaining members with a diminished standard of living at the end of any new contract."

There was no formal bargaining session today at the Regional table. The Union bargaining committee spent most of today reviewing the company’s proposal from yesterday’s session. 

Bargaining is scheduled to resume tomorrow. 

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CWA - Verizon Regional Bargaining Report   #1

Monday June 22, 2015


CWA Districts 1, 2-13 as well as IBEW New York (NY), New England (NE) and New Jersey (NJ) opened negotiations with Verizon today. CWA District 1 and IBEW NY and NE are negotiating for new contracts at the Rye Town Hilton in Westchester County. CWA Districts 2-13 as well as IBEW NJ are negotiating for new contracts in Philadelphia. 

Dennis Trainor, Vice President District 1 gave an opening statement to the Company at the Regional Bargaining table in NY. Dennis closed his statement by stating, “We are united in our commitment to grow with Verizon. The Company cannot keep claiming surplus after surplus while hiring more contractors or moving our work. It is not fair to our members and your employees to tell them there are too many of them but yet you need contractors to do their work".
 

We are united in our commitment to fight for fairness – we are the foundation upon which the success of Verizon rests.  We have helped to boost the company’s earnings and productivity even through a global recession.  It is now our turn to share equitably in that growth.
When workers at Verizon improve their living standards through collective bargaining, all of our communities also benefit.


When CWA members succeed at the bargaining table, when we secure a better standard of living for our members, we help to boost the entire U.S. economy. 
 

Verizon- it is time to stop the greed. Enough of the givebacks. It is time to negotiate a contract that is fair to your employees, one that protects good union jobs and that gives our membership the opportunity to grow with the company. 
 

Verizon- it’s time to set the right priorities in these negotiations. This means meeting its responsibilities to employees, as well as investors, executives and consumers.” 
 

After opening statements, Verizon gave the Unions an insulting and retrogressive comprehensive proposal.

The Regional Bargaining Committee has adjourned for today and will resume tomorrow to review the Company’s proposal.
 

The Regional Bargaining Committee attended a rally tonight at the Rye Town Hilton, which was hosted by Local 1103. The rally was a huge success and was attended by hundreds of CWA and IBEW members from New York State and New England.

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Wednesday June 6, 2015

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CWA and Verizon Communications will begin

contract negotiations on Monday June 22nd

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Our contract with Verizon Communications expires in eighty-seven (87) days on Saturday August 1st.

We have been down this road many times in the past. We accept and understand that we must stand in solidarity with one another and engage ourselves in this contract fight with resiliency, resolve and collective action. Collective action designed to protect our collective group tomorrow by securing a fair and just contract labor agreement with our employer Verizon Communications. 

We ask that you click on the link below and move forward with us in this fight for fairness....

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standuptoverizon.com

 


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Stand Up to Verizon

Unity is the key to victory - nothing in our contract came for free. 2015 bargaining will be no different. We will all need to stand up to Verizon in unity to win a fair and just contract.

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like “Stand Up To Verizon” on Facebook for pictures, updates, and to join the conversation.

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STATE OF NEW YORK PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

CASE 14-C-0370 - In the Matter of a Study on the State of Telecommunications in New York.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC STATEMENT HEARINGS (Issued June 24, 2015)

In May 2014, the New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) opened a proceeding to examine the state of telecommunications in New York State. The Commission has a primary responsibility and an overarching interest in ensuring that telecommunication services are provided in a safe and reliable manner and are available at just and reasonable rates. In light of radical changes in the telecommunication landscape over the past decade and with the emergence of new more robust technologies, the Commission is seeking to determine if the current regulatory system is sufficient to protect the interests of consumers and whether current laws or regulations should be changed to promote the public interest.

As part of the Telecommunications Study, Staff of the Department of Public Service (Staff) prepared a fact based assessment of the current telecommunications landscape in New York, examining trends in voice, video and broadband services and reviewing different technologies such as copper, fiber, cable and wireless networks. On June 23, 2015, Staff filed its Assessment Report and a Notice seeking comments was issued.

The Commission seeks public comment on the Assessment Report and on the questions posed in the Notice. Obtaining public input from consumers, the telecommunications industry, public interest groups and other interested stakeholders is critical to developing a rational and balanced approach to meet the needs of the changing industry and evolving customer demands. Comments received in response to the Notice will be used to develop recommendations for further regulatory changes.

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CASE 14-C-0370

TAKE NOTICE that opportunities for public information and comment will be held, as follows:

  • Long Island Wednesday, July 8, 2015 William J. Lindsay County Complex W.H. Rogers Legislature Building Rose Y. Caracappa Auditorium 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Information Session

3:00 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Information Session

7:00 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

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  • NYC Wednesday, July 15, 2015 NY Institute of Technology on Broadway 1871 Broadway between 61st and 62nd Street New York, New York 

6:30 PM - 7:30 PM Information Session

7:30 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

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  • Utica Tuesday, July 28, 2015 SUNY Polytechnic Institute Kunsela Hall Auditorium, Room A112 5701 Horatio Street, Utica, New York 13502

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Information Session

3:00 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Information Session

7:00 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

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  • Binghamton Wednesday, July 29, 2015 Binghamton City Hall 38 Hawley Street, Binghamton, New York 

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Information Session

3:00 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Information Session

7:00 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

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  • Lake Placid Tuesday, August 4 Olympic Regional Development Authority Conference Center at Lake Placid 2608 Main Street, Lake Placid, New York 

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Information Session

3:00 PM    Public Statement Hearing Begins

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Information Session 7:00 PM Public Statement Hearing Begins

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Buffalo Wednesday, August 5, 2015 Buffalo Central Library 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, New York 14203

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2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Information Session

3:00 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Information Session

7:00 PM   Public Statement Hearing Begins

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In the hour prior to each Public Statement Hearing, representatives from Staff will present an information session on the Assessment Report and be available to answer questions. The information sessions will be immediately followed by Public Statement Hearings where all those wishing to comment on the Assessment Report and the discussion questions will have an opportunity to make a statement on the record. It is not necessary to be present at the start of the hearing, to make an appointment in advance, or to present written material to speak at the hearing. Persons will be called to speak after completing a request card. The public statement hearing will remain open for a minimum of one hour and will continue until everyone wishing to speak has been heard or other reasonable arrangements have been made. A verbatim transcript of the hearings will be made for inclusion in the record of these proceedings and will be posted on the Commission's website.

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Disabled persons requiring special accommodations should call the Department of Public Service's Human Resources Management Office at (518) 474-2520 as soon as possible. TDD users may request a sign language interpreter by placing a call through the New York Relay Service at 711. Individuals with difficulty understanding or reading English are encouraged to call the Commission at 1-800-342-3377 for free language assistance services regarding this notice.

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The Staff Assessment Report may be obtained at http://www.dps.ny.gov/TelStudy/ or by searching the abovereferenced case number in the Department’s Document and Matter Management System (DMM). Public comments will be accepted throughout the pendency of this proceeding, but parties are encouraged to comment on the assessment at one of the Public Statement Hearings, or by other means described below, prior to August 24, 2015. All comments will become part of the record considered by the Commission.

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Other Ways to Comment

For those who cannot attend or prefer not to speak at a public statement hearing, there are several other ways to provide your comments to the Commission. Comments should refer to "Case 14-C-0370."

Via the Internet or Mail:

The public may submit comments electronically to the Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at secretary@dps.ny.gov, or by mail or delivery to Secretary Burgess at the New York State Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223- 1350. Comments also may be entered directly into the 14-C-0370 case file from the Commission's website, www.dps.ny.gov, by entering the case number into the Search field on the homepage -4- CASE 14-C-0370 and selecting the “Post Comments” button on the upper right hand corner of the page.

Toll-Free Opinion Line:

Individuals may choose to submit comments by calling the Commission's Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This line is set up to receive in-state calls 24 hours a day. These calls are not transcribed but a summary will be reported to the Commission.

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(SIGNED) KATHLEEN H. BURGESS Secretary

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CWA 1122 VNA Newsletter July 8, 2015

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THIS IS BIG! IMMEDIATE OPENINGS AT VNA UNIT TO REPLACE LYNNE O’BRIEN, NANCY HUBER, JEAN NELSON and DEAN CARROLL!!!

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THESE LEADERSHIP POSITIONS COME WITH URGENT RESPONSIBILITES WHICH INCLUDES DEALING WITH A BACKLOG OF GREVIANCES, NEGOTIATING  CONTRACTUAL ISSUES WITH A NONEXISTENT HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT (STILL NO HR MANAGER!),  AND  PUTTING OUT FIRES NEAR AND FAR  AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE.

This may be not a reality today, however, the truth is this will, one by one, surely be the case in the future. Are you ready for that to happen?

Picture these following scenarios ….violations of the contract go uncontested….an employee berated after a patient complaint with no representation…. A clerical worker with no one to stand beside her when her productivity is questioned… inappropriate safety equipment in the workplace. The list is never-ending.

Who is the next generation?

It should be you.

Stand up! Step in! Be heard!

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In Solidarity,

VNA Unit Mobilization Committee

Download Newsletter V25 7-8-2015

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CWA 1122 VNA Newsletter June 10, 2015

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Game of Work

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Anyone that has read or watched Game of Thrones knows its characters maneuver through a fictional, chaotic world of risk and reward.  However, unlike in fiction, we have structure and rules for our Game of Work.  Our contract is both a shield and sword to fend off malicious advances and to slice through issues that come up.

Knowing your contract allows you to be assertive of your rights without being insubordinate. We strive to be assertive, not aggressive. You can assert your rights to decline an unreasonable request without being insubordinate or aggressive.

Assertiveness is based on balance. It requires being forthright about your wants and needs, while still considering the needs of the agency. When you are assertive, you ask for what you want but may not get it.

Insubordination is a willful refusal by an employee to follow a reasonable request of a manager.

Aggressive behavior comes out of pursuing one’s self interest.  When you are aggressive you demand what you want regardless of whether or not it is supported by the contract.

We need to be assertive in the workplace to be treated with dignity and respect.  The contract provides the framework for the rules of our Game of Work and the basis of how we assert our rights.  When staff members have attempted to assert their rights, with management, they are met at times with aggressive responses.

One area of the contract that is very specific about your rights is Section 4.2 Additional Hours. The term additional hours is used, not overtime, because this part of the contract is applied equally to part time and full time employees. No employee can be mandated to work additional hours beyond their scheduled workday.  It details the process of filling additional hours with staff that volunteer. You can assert your right to not work additional hours beyond your scheduled workday.

A practice has been established, with management’s approval, to call a manager at 2 PM when you determine that your assignment could extend beyond your scheduled workday.  When you call your manager, you will inform them regarding your assignment and the inability to work additional hours. The manager will decide how the assignment will be completed.

  

A CWA1122/ VNA HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

By Nancy Huber RN, Chief Steward

Additional hours have been part of the VNA since the 1980’s. It was mainly utilized by nurses in the field. If a nurse wanted to work additional hours, all they would have to do is notify their manager. The time was usually on the weekends because fewer nurses were scheduled to work.  As time went on, nurses regularly started picking up extra time on long days and evenings.  Homecare began to transform into a 24 hours a day/7 days a week service.  As a result, more nurses were scheduled for weekends and more long days were left uncovered. At this time additional hours were all voluntary. Picking up these hours was quite popular and guidelines were established to fairly distribute hours based on seniority.

 In the 1990s, due to nursing shortages and cost saving measures the company mandated unlimited additional hours daily. If you refused to be mandated you could be disciplined. The contract at that time addressed mandatory extra hours by seniority, but not how many hours could be mandated. In the next contract it was limited to 4 hours.

During the early 2000s, mandated additional hours continued to be utilized. The mandated hours became a way of life for the nurses, which caused a lot of stress due to childcare issues, appointments, and just plain fatigue. On one of our Pre-Bargaining Membership Surveys getting rid of mandatory additional hours was the number one issue. This was more important than increases in wages and healthcare benefits.  During contract negotiations, the union proposed the elimination of mandatory additional hours, while the company proposed increasing it to 8 hours. A strike vote was taken, and with a 96% membership approval it gave the union the leverage to reach an agreement with the company to eliminate all mandatory additional hours.

To this very day all staff: nursing, rehab, clerical, drivers, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, and warehouse staff are included in this protection of no mandated additional hours.

So what does this mean? You can never be made to work past your scheduled shift unless you volunteer.   Do not hesitate to assert your rights!  

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In Solidarity,

VNA Unit Mobilization Committee

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Download Newsletter V24 6-10-2015

July 31, 2015

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CWA Staff Representative Erin Bowie has informed us that a tentative agreement has been reached today, Friday July 31st. with the American Red Cross.  Further information will be released upon receipt.  Our ratification meeting and vote will soon follow and is to be determined.

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Download CBA ext

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Red Cross Union Coalition:

Together we represent about 4,000 Red Cross union workers across the country:

AFSCME

American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees

AFT

American Federation of Teachers

CWA

Communications Workers of America

IBT

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

SEIU

Service Employees International Union

UAW

United Auto Workers

UFCW

United Food and Commercial Workers

USW

United Steel Workers

June 19, 2015 Update

ARC National Negotiations

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Your National Red Cross Bargaining committee met with National Red Cross on June 9-11 for our first national bargaining session.

We are fighting for a contract that improves our wages and working conditions, consolidates our strength to bargain strong contracts, and gives us the ability to organize and grow as unions.

Red Cross is proposing to have greater control over our hours, scheduling, and work assignments.

We shared the challenges we face every day on blood drives and fought for important issues including:

  • Safe Staffing on all Blood Drives
  • Improved Scheduling Practices
  • Fair compensation for Wages and Premiums
  • Quality and Affordable Healthcare
  • Common Contract Expirations to Build Power
  • Language to Organize and Grow our Unions

Our next meeting with Red Cross is June 22 and we will keep you informed as we progress.

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CWA - American Red Cross Bargaining Update

Tuesday 5-26-2015

National Red Cross Negotiations Begin

Leaders from our eight unions of the Red Cross Union Coalition met with National Red Cross in Washington DC and reached an agreement to formally enter into national negotiations on some joint issues.  This has been an involved process to begin negotiations because this is a significant step and we want to cover all details of what this means for every local union at the table.

Who will bargain the National Agreement? Local and national leaders of the national unions covered by ARC will form the Union Coalition National Bargaining Committee. Local leaders and members from each union will also form the Bargaining Council and Delegates Council to give local input at negotiations.

What Issues Will be Negotiated?  The National Bargaining Committee will advocate for important issues that impact all of us.  We will come to an agreement with ARC to identify which issues to negotiate on a national level.  At this time, we have identified some issues including healthcare & benefits, wages, staffing, and scheduling to negotiate on a national level.

Who will ratify a National Agreement? If the National Bargaining Committee reaches a National Tentative Agreement, we will bring it back to our local union for a ratification vote consistent with applicable local and national bylaws / constitution. We may need a certain number of other local unions to ratify the National Agreement in order for it to go into effect.

What will happen to our local Agreement? If our local and a certain number of other locals vote to ratify the National Agreement, we will adopt all the terms of the national agreement as an addendum or addition to our local contract.  If issues are not covered in the National Agreement, we will keep the terms of our local contract.

What Happens If We Do Not Reach a National Agreement? If the National Bargaining Committee does not reach an Agreement, we will go back to local contract negotiations. We will continue to work with other Red Cross unions to support each other and fight for strong local contracts.

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Red Cross Union Coalition

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We are committed to standing together to bargain a strong contract that will improve our wages and working conditions for all union Red Cross workers across the country.  We need every member to stay engaged and involved to make these negotiations successful.  Together we represent about 4,000 Red Cross union workers across the country:


American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Communications Workers of America

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

United Auto Workers (UAW)

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)

United Steelworkers (USW)

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Downlaod Flyer

Verizon's union busting law firm's manipulative and coercive attempt to divide and conquer our solidarity.

Their plan will FAIL as this letter is full of bull... our members are much smarter and tougher than to fall for this...

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Now for the TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH

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Welcome CWA 1122 members

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Your exclusive discounted Good any Day Tickets are available for the 2015 Season for only $28.99, includes FREE PARKING.

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Save $17.00 on daily admission tickets!

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Access your online Darien Lake site offering discount Darien tickets and SEASON PASSES

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Season Pass Bonus free parking & 2 free guest tickets ends June 28th

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 Click on to>>> www.DarienLake.com and enter promotional code: GAD

Enter the quantity of tickets you would like to purchase and hit next.

Then enter your gift code which is: CWA-CWA-1122

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For more information or if you are having trouble purchasing online, please contact

Phil Mcguire at pmcguire@darienlake.com

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New in 2015! The wet: Brain Drain—

experience the breathtaking force of

our most intense water slide ever!

The wild: Rolling Thunder, our brand

NEW 7-story steel loop of pure adrenaline!

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Download Flyer


CWA President chris shelton's address to the delegates of the 75th CWA convention

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Verizon's 'Local Service' and Wired Networks Are Profitable Once the Slush Fund of Corporate Expenses Is Removed

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This article was written by Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director of New Networks Institute, and appeared in the Huffington Post on June 14, 2015

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Did you know that -- if you have been or are a Verizon residential or business customer, it would appear that you are paying extra for Verizon's lawyers to take legal actions to block Net Neutrality or to create laws to raise your rates or to remove your right of having the wires fixed if they break? Did you know that you pay for "corporate governance and external affairs", (whatever that means) not to mention the company's advertising and media relations, which is used to promote the company's agenda over your own interests? In fact, without audits, it is impossible to say whether Verizon Foundation's grants that Verizon gives to non-profits, (sometimes in exchange for backing the company's proposals), or even executive pay, are part of this garbage pail accounting. And while we will present information from Verizon New York's 2014 annual report to prove this point, this is happening, we suspect, in all Verizon and AT&T state holdings.

Now, AT&T and Verizon have continuously said that it is 'uneconomical' to upgrade most areas and that the solution is to force customers onto their wireless services, (which also gets a number of financial perks, but that analysis is for another story).

But, it has all been a financial shell game. There has been massive dumping of corporate expenses, which has been going on for a while, but is now out of control and in high gear -- and this is one (of many) reasons "Local Service" and the wired networks are 'unprofitable'.

In 2014 Verizon New York showed a loss of $2.58 billion, while Verizon's "Corporate Operations" dumped a whopping $2.6 billion of Verizon corporate expenses into the Verizon NY State utility books. More troubling, in 2014, Verizon New York's 'Local Service' bucket of revenues, (which includes the copper-based residential and business phone services), came to $1.44 billion, but the expenses for Corporate Operations came to $1.57 billion -- i.e.; Local Service would be profitable if the excessive corporate subsidies weren't being dumped into the expenses.

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And, as we will show, if Verizon's other lines of business were paying their fair share of this expense, Local Service would be profitable. I'll get to that in a moment.

"Corporate Operations": Verizon Services

The opening includes a description of a Verizon affiliate company called "Verizon Services", which is an umbrella for the corporate-expense slush fund that ends up in the accounting of the state utility. Almost identical language appeared in every Verizon state-based SEC report for the year 2010, from Massachusetts down through Virginia, (with the exception of most of Connecticut), and even in the SEC-filed reports for the former GTE territories, including California and Florida, which are now being sold off.)

These different corporate expenses appear to be part of a collection of affiliate companies with names that sound like someone just started shuffling small pieces of paper with the words 'corporation', 'group', 'Verizon' and 'services' into different configurations to form the names of a collection of business entities.

Here is what it looks like. This is a partial collection of affiliate companies where "purchases from affiliates" are services bought (or dumped) into Verizon New York's financials. Unfortunately, there are no descriptions of these companies in the financial books or any coherent description anywhere else online.

(NOTE: We can't even get the numbers to exactly match the summary information provided, and we are not even sure if all of these companies are part of Verizon Services or are there affiliates missing. We just know that they sound similar, were part of a long list of companies, and they all charge Verizon New York for services.)

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Local Service Paid 109% of Corporate Expenses as Compared to Revenues.

The first obvious question should be -- how the hell did they get away with this as it is happening in every state; we can only document New York because the State requires Verizon to file their financials annually and we could find no other state that requires and publishes this financial detail. (And, the FCC is useless and stopped collecting and publishing basic data in 2007.)

But that's only a slight wrinkle.

Verizon dumped the majority of these expenses into the Local Service category; the category that is dedicated to regular phone service that uses the existing copper wires. The company isn't focused on even advertising these services anymore, much less doing upgrades of the existing infrastructure. So, why is it paying the majority of this expense?

Local Service had $1.44 billion of revenues but was charged $1.57 billion in Corporate Operations in 2014, meaning -- Local Service losses were generated, in a large part, by these corporate expenses.

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Also, the Local Service category didn't pay just its fair share. It turns out that Local Service paid the majority of Corporate Operations, 60% of the total amount that was charged to Verizon New York. However, the Local Service financial bucket only comprises about 28% of the total revenues these days.

Now there are some that might say... but these are Verizon's companies; they can do what they want, right?

Well, not in this case. Local phone customers were charged extra -- in the form of rate increases for "massive deployment of fiber optics" and "losses".

Local Phone Rate Increases Are Directly Tied to Losses Created by 'Corporate Operations'.

In June 2009, the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) granted Verizon NY the third rate increase for residential POTS customers since 2005. The NYPSC press release explained that the rate increase was due to "massive deployment of fiber optics" and because VNY was "in need of financial relief" due to major losses.

"'We are always concerned about the impacts on ratepayers of any rate increase, especially in times of economic stress,' said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. 'Nevertheless, there are certain increases in Verizon's costs that have to be recognized. This is especially important given the magnitude of the company's capital investment program, including its massive deployment of fiber optics in New York. We encourage Verizon to make appropriate investments in New York, and these minor rate increases will allow those investments to continue'."

The NYPSC Order also indicated that the Commission granted the rate request because VNY was experiencing major financial losses. 

"Verizon's financial condition is 'relevant' when the Commission considers pricing changes because the state has an interest in a viable company.... there seems to be little question that the company is in need of financial relief; Verizon reported an overall intrastate return of a negative 4.89% in 2006 and its reported intrastate return on common equity was a negative 73.6%."

And in granting the second rate increase in 2008, the NYPSC said there were the same 'dual financial pressures' as found in the first increase in 2006 -- fiber optic investments and financial losses of basic service. ("Intrastate" service is where the calls never cross state boundaries or the service has been classified as 'in-state'.)

"This is especially important given the magnitude of the company's capital investment program, including its massive deployment of fiber... There seems to be little question that the company is in need of financial relief; Verizon reported an overall intrastate return of a negative 4.89% in 2006 and its reported intrastate return on common equity was a negative 73.6%."

And then there are those who will argue that local phone service is not based on the old 'rate-of-return' where expenses and revenues were taken into account. Unfortunately, the State and Verizon tied the increases to specifics --'massive deployment of fiber optics' and 'losses', so the expenses do matter.

In going through the total rate increases, and just examining basic residential phone service and a few 'ancillary' service increases, (such as inside wiring or non-published numbers), the consequence of this pile-on of additional costs to Local Service financials is that:

  • Verizon charged local service customers -- including seniors and low income families,752.00 EXTRA per line on just basic local service (counting taxes, fees and surcharges). (This is based using actual Verizon NY phone bills as the primary source.)
  • The price of local phone service went up 84%, based on these multiple increases.
  • Verizon also has been continuously raising the rates on all ancillary services, such as inside wiring. Inside wiring, which is popular among seniors, for example, had a 190% increase since 2006, and customers paid an additional430.00 extra, counting taxes, fees, and surcharges. NOTE: Lifeline costs do not cover inside wiring or other related calling features.
  • This comes to about4.9 billion collected from local phone customers for basic service and one ancillary service (and taxes, some of which are also revenue to the company).
  • Many of the various phone services and ancillary services had increases. The chart at the end of this article lists the increases and changes to everything from the "Essentials" package to Directory Assistance, for the year 2013.


Re-engineering Expenses: Local Service Is Profitable.

The losses appear to be manipulated so that Local Service would pay an unfair share -- not a 'fair and reasonable' share.

There are four major financial areas -- buckets -- of revenues and expenses in the state-based financial books.

  • "Local Service" -- are the revenues from the local phone services based mostly on the copper networks, (also defined as "Intrastate" or "In-state").
  • "Access" -- (which includes 'Special Access', sometimes called 'backhaul'), are revenues related to services using broadband business networks that have been classified as 'inter-state', (cross-state boundaries) and carry everything from wireless calls, video and data for Verizon as well as for competitors, from T-Mobile to Netflix.
  • "Non Regulated" -- are services that were once regulated but are now 'deregulated', 'forebeared', or the regulations were erased. There are a host of issues surrounding this category. (In future articles I will explain all the details.)
  • "Black Hole" -- When examining two different sets of Verizon New York's financials, one set being the SEC-filed reports for Verizon New York, (which stopped being published in 2010) and the other, the Verizon NY State filed financial reports, we found that in 2009 there was an additional2.7 billion dollars of revenues that was in the SEC books but was not included in the State annual reports. (We do not have any data about 2014 for this category. We will address this in future articles.)

Simply Put: What would happen if the other two financial buckets of revenues, Access and Non Regulated, paid their fair share for just "Corporate Operations" expenses based on the revenues they bring in? In 2014, Access revenues were $2.38 billion, while Non Regulated revenues were $1.4 billion and this financial bucket is about the same size as Local Service.

However, the Non-Regulated financial bucket only paid 10% of the Corporate Operation expenses and this calculation had nothing to do with the total revenues it brought in.

Low and behold, if we re-engineer the expenses based on revenues, Local Service overpaid Corporate Operations expenses by $855 million while the Non Regulated side underpaid by about $448 million and Access underpaid by $407 million.

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Moreover, Local Service should have only paid about $718 million for just this one massive expense item. Rebalance this expense and Local Service was profitable in 2014. And even that should be contested because of the myriad of expenses being added that have nothing to do with provisioning phone service.

Is it legitimate to reverse engineer the expenses based on revenues? With $2.5 billion in losses a year for the last five years and losses extending over the entire last decade while the 'massive investment in fiber optics' is not happening for the majority of New York State -- you bet it's legitimate and should be demanded by every customer who had rate increases, especially those who can't get the high-speed or cable services.

But there are deeper issues that require investigation. If Local Service is really profitable, especially if Verizon's other subsidiary businesses are not paying their fair share of the expenses, the premise that Verizon's failure to properly upgrade and maintain the network because they are 'uneconomical' is suddenly in question. Worse, forcing customers onto inferior wireless services using this manipulated mathematics -- requires immediate audits and investigations.

As we go through the rest of Verizon New York's financials, feel secure in the knowledge that every Verizon state and most likely every AT&T state is using the same corrupted slush fund shell game.

And this analysis also calls into question all of the previous rate increases, and there have been many over the last decade. I leave you with a chart of rate increases and changes to service in New York for just the year 2013. And remember, each service is taxed, fee-ed and surcharged multiple times.

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Verizon New York Lost $2.5 Billion in Just 2014, and that Might be the Good News

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This article was written by Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director of New Networks Institute, and appeared in the Huffington Post on June 5, 2015

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To understand Verizon's financial shell game see: The Book of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal and Free the Net.

Verizon New York's Annual Report for 2014 has just come out and it is a page turner. Let me start with some facts and then answer two questions -- How did Verizon New York lose billions in 2014? Isn't FiOS, Verizon's fiber optic service, profitable?

Note: In the last article, we detailed major holes in Verizon's New York City and New York State's deployment of fiber optic upgrades, known as FiOS. Here's why.

Verizon's Losses and Charging Customers Extra
  • Verizon New York lost $2.58 billion in just 2014; and that's just New York State.
  • Verizon New York lost $12.5 billion over the last five years, 2010-2014, with a $1.28 billion income tax benefit -- and paid no income taxes since 2004. (There are some questions about 2013).
  • Verizon charged local service customers -- including seniors and low income families, about $752.00 extra on just basic local phone service (counting taxes, fees and surcharges, some of which are also revenues to Verizon).
  • The State granted this largess based on "massive deployment of fiber optics" and "losses", starting in 2006.
Dumping Expenses Makes Local Service and the Wires "Unprofitable".
  • There has been a massive dumping of expenses into the "Local Service" accounting that makes Local Service look "unprofitable".
  • These multi-billion dollar expenses include corporate lobbying and lawyers, to possibly executive pay and foundation grant money.
  • In fact, "Local Service" accounting for regular copper-based wireline phone service paid 173 percent more in expenses than all of the other areas.
  • Moreover, the construction budgets for the "massive deployment of fiber optics" were diverted to pay for the companies' other construction needs, including Verizon Wireless' fiber optic wires to the cell towers.
  • This also means that Verizon's services, like Verizon FiOS TV, or "special access" business services aren't paying "market prices" and are getting a free ride or reduced costs.
Consequence besides Rate Increases: Not Enough Broadband Upgrades.
  • Because of this shell game, only 46-59 percent of New York City has been upgraded to fiber optics, even though the franchise called for 100 percent by July 2014. Only 42-51 percent of the rest of New York State has been upgraded.
  • 80 percent of the New York State municipalities will not be upgraded in parts or not at all.
  • 100 percent of phone customers were hit with multiple rate increases for "massive deployment of fiber optics" but 50 percent will never get what they paid for.
Local Service is Profitable.
  • The wired phone networks, including local service, are profitable when the flows of money are recalculated to remove the cross-subsidies, expense dumping and other financial games.
  • In fact, Local Service over-paid about $1.7 billion in just one year, 2014, while Verizon's other services that use the wired networks, including business services like "special access", under-paid at least by $1.3 billion.

This is happening, to varying degrees, in every Verizon state and most likely All AT&T states --and it is time to stop this chicanery.

Summary

There is a massive financial shell game afoot to use public funding of a utility to fund Verizon's other "subsidiary" companies. It has harmed customers and NY State by allowing Verizon's other subsidiaries and services, like Verizon Wireless, or FiOS TV, or "special access" business networks, to dump their expenses into the State utility and the financial accounting for "Local Service", thus creating massive losses for basic wireline services. This is then are used to raise rates, to stop building out the fiber optic broadband networks because they are "uneconomical" and to show the need to "shut off" the "unprofitable" networks and force customers onto Verizon Wireless. And the kicker is the company's losses are then used to not pay income taxes and the losses are a tax benefit to the corporate parent, Verizon Communications.

However, recalculating this financial shell game reveals that the wired networks are profitable and there is enough money to start upgrading New York State -- but the "will" to actually hold Verizon accountable, audit the books, enforce the basic laws and penalize the company for its financial chicanery is what's missing, The NY Public Service Commission, the State Attorney General's Office and even New York City or the Governor's office could have all investigated by now. Instead, the regulators and politicians just keep giving the same company that has been manipulating their books, overcharging customers, and not upgrading their networks, more money.

I repeat: This is happening in every Verizon state and most likely All AT&T states -- And it is time to stop this chicanery.

I can hear someone in the back saying -- But everything is going wireless? Besides the fact that very High-speed Internet or cable TV isn't going to be coming via wireless (especially at reasonable prices), every cell phone call, sent photo or video that is picked up by WiFi or hot spot or cell site connection goes back to a wire -- and guess who controls that wire, including the costs to all that use the wire, including the competitive cell phone companies...

Discussion

Verizon New York is a Utility that Controls Critical Communications Infrastructure. It is NOT an "ISP" or a Cable Service.

Verizon New York is the state telecommunications utility, which are the wires into homes and offices, and schools and libraries, etc., and today, and while many believe it is still mostly based on copper wires that could have been put in over the last 100 years, all of the fiber optic networks are being constructed as part of this Public utility network, including FiOS.

As a utility, it is based on "Title II" telecommunications regulations as set by the Communications Act of 1934. "Title II" has been all the rage as the FCC's Open Internet Order declared that broadband and Internet were now classified as "Title II". But, the utility has always been Title II, something the phone companies have been attempting to erase for a decade-plus, or use to their advantage when it suits them.

NOTE: We previously filed a perjury case against Verizon with the FCC as Verizon claims that Title II harms investment. These financials prove that Title II is Verizon's primary investment vehicle -- and phone customers have been forced into being defacto investors.

Verizon New York also receives perks for running the state utility. It receives the use of the public rights-of-way, in the past it had guaranteed profits (but still has rate increases to compensate the company), and it has a monopoly on the use of the wire (I.e., Verizon doesn't have to share this network to let competitors offer High-speed Internet (ISP) service or cable service, and controls critical infrastructure as a monopoly provider.)

Title II also requires that the company can not "interfere" with what's carried over the wires, (known as "common carriage") and it has to make sure that everyone receives phone service, that repairs are done on a timely basis and that prices are "fair and reasonable", though some of these regulations have been "erased", "forebeared", or "relaxed" in favor of the company over the last decade.

And starting in the 1990s, in every Verizon and AT&T state there were plans to replace this aging copper wire with a fiber optic wire, though each state has different laws and regulations to give the phone companies more money via rate increases and tax perks to pay for this fiber optic upgrade. In some states, like New Jersey or Pennsylvania, the Verizon state-based companies made commitments to have 100 percent of their territories upgraded to fiber optics and capable of speeds of 45 Mbps in both directions. Verizon New Jersey was to be completed 100 percent by 2010; Verizon Pennsylvania should have 100 percent broadband deployment by the end of 2015.

In New York, Verizon got out of the requirements to have fiber optics deployed in the 1990s, (though they announced plans) but in 2006, Verizon went to NY State and was able to secure multiple rate increases, claiming it was for "massive deployment of fiber optics" -- with brand name, FiOS and "losses".

Over the last decade there has been a massive financial and regulatory shell game.

First, Verizon goes to the New York State Public Service Commission around 2005 and claims that FiOS is a "telecommunications" service, "Title II". and that it is an extension of the utility networks. This allows Verizon to get rate increases on basic service phone customers to start to fund and roll out their FTTP, fiber-to-the-premises networks used by FiOS TV, the cable service.

But instead of upgrading the utility, Verizon decides to divert the funding from these rate increases and the construction budgets to Verizon's other subsidiaries, including the Verizon Wireless', which gets what appears to be a free ride on the costs of installing the wires to the cell towers. Verizon's "special access" wires, sometimes called "backhaul", which are wires in the network that handle the calls, videos and content of the competitive cell phone providers or the content companies, like Netflix, pays a fraction of the expenses as compared to Local Service, while Verizon's own services using these networks appears to be paying below market prices.

In fact, the New York State Attorney General's Office pointed out that 75 percent of the billion dollar budget to upgrade and maintain the utility networks in 2011 was being diverted to fund the construction of these other lines of business.

So, besides diverting the construction budgets that should have been used to upgrade the state utility, Verizon has also been able to dump the majority of expenses for "special access" or even most of the corporate expenses, including lawyers, and lobbying firms into the "Local Service" accounting, making it look unprofitable.

And the consequence has been that while Verizon did start to do FiOS fiber optic deployments in 2006, by 2012 the company left the majority of New York State unfinished. And it now claims it has stopped its deployment, except for where there are remaining contracts.

This shell game gets more complicated -- Verizon's plan has been to "shut off the copper", claiming it is uneconomical to upgrade. After the Sandy Storm, the plan has been to not upgrade or even fix the copper wires but to force customers onto more expensive wireless plans. At the same time, Verizon uses the losses to continually raise rates, claiming local service is losing money; this is commonly known as "harvesting", which hits low income families, seniors and rural areas that depend on these networks, the hardest. But it also helps to drive customers to get rid of their wired phone lines -- the lines that were never upgraded.

This manipulation of the books doesn't stop there. In previous reports we uncovered "black hole revenues" which only showed up when comparing different sets of financial books for Verizon New York. There was the investor-based SEC filed financial reports for Verizon NY, (which stopped being published in 2010), the State-required financial annual reports, and the FCC's phone company financials known as ARMIS (which stopped being made public in 2007).

All of the revenues that Verizon New York or Verizon's subsidiaries makes that are "Internet Protocol"-based ("IP") appear to be in a separate "Black Hole" financial bucket that goes to corporate and doesn't pay for most, if any, of the construction or maintenance of the public networks, and there were no details about this "black hole" revenue. In 2009, this was about $2.7 billion extra of revenue that showed up on the SEC-investor books, but not on the State-filed financials and cross-referenced the "Black Hole" revenues was paying no construction expenditures and was profitable; meanwhile, Verizon New York, the utility, lost a few billion.

Manipulating the revenues into this "black hole" financial bucket, diverting the construction budgets to other lines of business, dumping expenses into the costs of local service, and giving the affiliate companies a free financial ride, all shortchanged the NY State utility revenues and dramatically increased expenses, which created the massive financial losses.

In 2014, Verizon New York showed losses of $2.5 billion -- that's just for one year. For the last five years, Verizon New York lost $12.5 billion, and has paid no income taxes for at least a decade because of these losses, (though there is a question about 2013).

But, since almost all of these expenses some how ended up in the "Local Service" accounting, it makes local service looks "uneconomical". This allows the company to use this as the excuse to "shut off the copper" and raise rates, and get more deregulation.

"Reverse Engineering" this shell game -- asking what would happen if all of these cross-subsidies and financial games were stopped and the other parts of the business paid their fair share -- we found that local service and the networks would be profitable, and build outs in areas that have been neglected, could be started.

There is still a lot that we don't know which will require audits and legal actions to stop these cross-subsidies and other acts of manipulation.

But it is clear leaving this mess is no longer acceptable.

Next week, New Networks Institute will be publishing a report detailing the basic financial findings and outing the shell game.

Think you could now answer the question -- "How did Verizon New York lose billions in 2014? Isn't FiOS, Verizon's fiber optic service, profitable?"

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-kushnick/verizon-new-york-lost-25_b_7520774.html


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This article was written by Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director of New Networks Institute, and appeared in the Huffington Post on June 4, 2015

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Verizon's Coverage Area of NYC for Fiber Optic FiOS Is a Miserable 46% to 59%; Upstate NY Is Worse

Read more "The Book of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal & Free the Net"

Verizon NY (VNY) is supposed to have 100% of New York City upgraded, replacing the aging copper-based networks with a fiber optic infrastructure for the delivery of a service called FiOS that offers cable TV, High-speed Internet and Digital Phone services. Being done as part of a cable franchise that was signed in 2008, the construction was to be completed by June 30th, 2014.

Unfortunately, in April 2013, then NYC Public Advocate, now-Mayor Bill de Blasiopresented facts that Verizon's buildout was way behind schedule. Using data from July-through-December 2012, (and published in April 2013), Verizon only had 51% of NYC residential 'housing units' capable of ordering FiOS service. According to the City, there are 3.4 million housing units and Verizon had "passed" only 1.7 million of them.

2015-06-04-1433446795-5697777-deblasiochart.png

And the devil is in the details, as there are different terms being used. Updating this data using Census and FCC information we found that:

  • "Housing Units": Verizon may have as little as 59% of residential "housing units" covered with FiOS in New York City, and only 51% of the rest of New York State covered.
  • Examining "Homes & Businesses": Verizon's own press releases supply the coverage of "homes and businesses"; Using this metric, NYC only has about 46% covered while only 42% of New York State has been done.
  • In New York State, about 80% of the municipalities and cities are out of luck or are getting partially done. Verizon is only doing work in 183 towns and cities out of 996 municipalities in New York State.
  • Yet, 100% of Verizon phone customers have been hit with multiple rate increases since 2006 for "massive deployment of fiber optics" (a story we will be telling in future articles).

Note: There are different measurements at play. If you read through press statements and documents you will see a host of terms being used. For example, there are residential 'homes', 'households' or 'housing units' while there can be "businesses", "firms" or even "establishments", not to mention combining "homes and businesses", that can also use the terms "locations" or "premises". And note; the City of New York examined only residential 'housing units', as the NYC Verizon FiOS cable franchise does not include commercial spaces.

And yet, according to Ars Technica, quoting Verizon, Verizon's claimed that their fiber optic service in June 2014 passed buildings in "90 percent of the Bronx, 89 percent of Brooklyn, 94 percent of Manhattan, 90 percent of Queens and virtually the entirety of Staten Island".

However, in conversations with people who contacted us because they couldn't get FiOS in areas that have been marked 'completed', we now believe that the contradictory data reveals massive holes in deployment and holes in Verizon's story.

Let's Walk through the Numbers

(The bulk of this information was originally presented in the Public Utility Law Project, (PULP) report "It's All Interconnected", published May, 2014 and written by New Networks Institute, with David Bergmann, Esq. of Telecom Policy for Consumers.)

Updating the New York City Advocate's 2013 data (for the year ending December 2012), we find a problem.

Verizon's press releases detailing the FiOS deployment in New York State showed that by the end of 2012, Verizon only had 3.45 million 'homes and businesses' that were capable of getting FiOS and by the end of 2014, Verizon had added about 550,000 additional "passed" locations that were capable of getting the service, for the years 2012-2014.

If we do the basic math for just 'housing units', Verizon only had 59% covered by the end of 2014, but the rest of New York State, then, only had 51% covered. Based on the information supplied, it would appear that Verizon split the construction between upstate NY and NYC, around 50%-50%.

2015-06-04-1433446979-8265258-VerizoNYFIOSmaller.png

Verizon NY's Press Releases about Wireline Construction for 2012-2014

Here is the series of Verizon NY press releases detailing the wireline construction in New York State. Unfortunately, notice that the numbers provided by Verizon are for "homes and businesses". Moreover, it covers New York as well as Verizon's Connecticut territory, (which is a small part of CT, so it has nominal affect on the deployment information).

  • 2012: "Verizon invested over 1.5 Billion on New York's and Connecticut's wireline communications, IT Infrastructure in 2012."
  • "At year's end, FiOS services were available to more than 3.45 million New York and Connecticut homes and businesses."
  • 2013: "Verizon Invested More than1.6 Billion in New York's and Connecticut's Wireline Telecommunications Infrastructure in 2013."
  • "At year's end, FiOS services were available to more than 3.7 million homes and businesses in the two states."
  • 2014: "Verizon Invested More Than 2.3 Billion in 2014 to Further Strengthen New York's and Connecticut's Telecom Infrastructure" (but only1.5 billion was spent on wireline networks).
  • "At year's end, FiOS services were available to more than 4 million New York and Connecticut homes and businesses."

The Math: FiOS Coverage in New York and Connecticut

The following chart supplies the raw Census information for New York City and New York State for housing units and businesses, followed by the percentage of Verizon New York's holdings in the State, as well calculating NYC and New York State's percentage of homes and businesses. And we added the FiOS information provided by Verizon's releases, (excluding the Connecticut portion).

2015-06-04-1433447083-4791836-VerizoNYFIOSCOMPLETE.png

  • There are about 3.4 million residential units and 944,000 businesses in New York City, while there are about 10.1 million business and residences, total, in New York State.
  • Verizon New York covers approximately 90% of the state's population, based on using FCC-supplied data on phone lines. This means that there are about 9.1 million 'locations' total. However, Verizon covers 100% of New York City.
  • Outside of New York City, there are 3.94 million housing units and 816,931 businesses in New York State -- 4.76 million total 'premises'.
  • Basic math suggests that at the end of 2014, Verizon New York has passed about 42% of the 'premises' with FiOS in its New York State service territories.
  • Basic math suggests that at the end of 2014, Verizon NY passed about 46% of 'locations' in New York City.

80% of New York State's Municipalities are Not being Served by VNY's FiOS.

According to Newsday, January 31, 2014, Verizon spokesman John J. Bonomo stated that Verizon had commitments to deploy FiOS fiber optic services in 182 communities.

"Bonomo said the company is required to complete fiber-optic 'buildouts' in about 182 New York State communities where Verizon holds franchise contracts."

In an interview on WAMC radio, November, 27, 2013, Bonomo claimed there are 183 municipalities in VNY's service territory that do or should be able to receive FiOS TV. VNY had no plans for expansion beyond these commitments.

"But right now we have commitments to 183 municipalities where we need to complete 100% of our network. So we want to make sure that we make good on those commitments before we reach out and get new commitments. Of franchises in other communities, namely like Albany."

According to Wikipedia, there are a total of 996 towns and cities in New York State.

"This is a list of towns in New York. As of the 2010 United States population census, the 62 counties of New York State are subdivided into 932 towns and 62 cities."

With an estimate of 90% of coverage of New York State households by Verizon New York, based on the FCC's access line accounting, this would mean that only 20% of towns have been or are being upgraded by Verizon New York for FiOS.

But it appears that low income areas were doubly harmed. In May 2012, a group of nine mayors from upstate cities outlined how Verizon had been 'redlining poor and minority communities'Stop the Cap wrote:

"Virtually every mayor in the urban centers of upstate New York is accusing Verizon Communications of redlining poor and minority communities when deciding where to provide its fiber-to-the-home service FiOS...The mayors are upset that Verizon has chosen to target its limited FiOS network primarily on affluent suburbs surrounding upstate New York City centers."

"'Verizon has not built its all-fiber FiOS network in any of our densely-populated cities. Not in Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, Kingston, Elmira or Troy,' the mayors say. 'Yet, Verizon has expanded its FiOS network to the suburbs ringing Buffalo, Albany, Troy, and Syracuse, as well as many places in the Hudson Valley, and most of downstate New York. As a result, the residents and businesses in our cities are disadvantaged relative to their more affluent suburban neighbors who have access to Verizon's FiOS, providing competitive choice in high-speed Internet and video services."

This issue has been both a downstate as well as upstate issue. On April 26, 2013, now-Mayor Bill de Blasio, and then New York City Advocate, released a statement:

"Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today assailed the City and Verizon for falling behind schedule in providing access to high-speed Internet, especially in the lowest-income communities. Five years into one of the biggest franchise agreements issued by the city, roughly half of homes still have no access to fiber network connections--most of them concentrated in low-income areas like Upper Manhattan, the South Bronx, Western Queens and Central Brooklyn.

Verizon Claims They Are on Now Track for Wiring All of NYC with FiOS.

According to a Verizon interview in the New York World, March 28, 2014

"'Verizon is on pace to meet our obligations called for in the franchise agreement to run an all-fiber network throughout the entire five boroughs," said company spokesperson John Bonomo in an emailed statement. 'We will complete the premises passed portion of the FiOS build in 2014, meaning we will have fiber up and down each street and avenue in the entire city, providing meaningful competition that benefits all City residents'."

Uptake Issues: New York State is Mostly Copper-Based

According to Verizon Communications Annual Report for the year ending December 31, 2013, of the premises passed nationwide Verizon had about 40% 'penetration rate for FiOS Internet and 35% for FiOS video. i.e., FiOS Internet and broadband are sold separately from the cable TV services in some areas.

"As of December 31, 2013, we achieved penetration rates of 39.5% and 35.0% for FiOS Internet and FiOS Video, respectively, compared to penetration rates of 37.3% and 33.3% for FiOS Internet and FiOS Video, respectively, at December 31, 2012."

This means that of their 3.7 million households and businesses passed in 2013, Verizon NY only had, at best, 40% are actual customers - 1.48 million customers.

Others have Noticed

According to Crain's, in September 2014, the City initiated an audit of Verizon's bookspertaining to the FiOS franchise agreement, which was supposed to be done in four months.

And then there are the holes in deployment. The Communications Workers of America, CWA, the largest telecommunications union, put up a site called "Where's my FiOS?" in 2015. They have people on the ground doing the installs... and they know that NYC has major deployment gaps and they blame it on staff cuts.

"When it received its franchise from New York City in 2008, Verizon promised FiOS would be available to every NYC resident by 2014. Now the company says it's completed its obligations. But customers in many parts of New York City still can't get FiOS. Instead, Verizon has cut 8500 jobs in New York State and slashed its workforce in New York City by 37% over the last decade."

Coda:

Verizon of course, refuted Advocate de Blasio's numbers. According to Crain's,Verizon claimed that the City's "numbers refer to the video deployment Verizon has committed to rather than the fiber Internet deployment we have completed in the city", and that it had completed its obligations by 2012. However, according to Crain's, the City also pointed out that the "data reported by the company to the state shows whether each census tract has at least one household with access to fiber broadband as of December 2012". Similar to a zip code, this means that if they have one customer in the 'census tract', it is considered a 'completed' area.

This minutia is 'weasel room'--and it is what Verizon has done in all of their states to puff up their deployment numbers or get out of obligations. Problem is--the Franchise Agreement says every residential unit has to be offered cable service and all households, including those in an apartment complex, gets service--not some 'census tract' accounting or--where they might say 'We only have to 'pass' the house--we don't have to actually offer service to an individual'.

"3.1. Initial Availability of Cable Service: Franchisee (Verizon) shall make Cable Service available to all residential dwelling units..."
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"DEPLOYMENT; PROVISION OF CABLE SERVICE
"The FTTP Network will pass all households served by Franchisee's wire centers within the Franchise Area in accordance with the table attached hereto as Appendix F, with final completion no later than June 30, 2014. For purposes of this Agreement ..."pass" or "passage" of a household shall mean MDU's (Multiple Dwelling Units), whether or not network created and single family units whether or not a drop is installed."

Verizon also has complained that it has been having trouble getting access to buildings. With only 46%-59% still not upgraded in New York City, or worse in New York State, there's more going on than simply blocked access to a few buildings.

And what about the fact that 100% of Verizon NY phone customers were charged extra for 'massive deployment of fiber optics', even if they can't get the service? I'll get back to that in the next few stories.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-kushnick/verizons-coverage-area-of_b_7513958.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications

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This article was written by Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director of New Networks Institute, and appeared in the Huffington Post on January 15, 2015

Did Verizon Commit Perjury in the Net Neutrality Proceeding About the Use of Title II?

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New Networks Institute has filed a Petition for Investigation with the FCC to examine Verizon's use of Title II and whether the company has committed perjury in the current Net Neutrality, Open Internet Proceeding, (Docket number 14-28).

Click Here to Send a Note to the FCC: Request the FCC Investigate Verizon's use of Title II and mention "Open Internet", use "Proceeding Number 14-28" and add "New Networks Institute's Petition".

Let Me Summarize Our Petition for Investigation.

Simply Put: Verizon has told the FCC, the courts and the public that applying Title II would harm investment if it is reinstated in the current Net Neutrality proceeding. In fact, Verizon has gotten their 'friends', corporate-paid think tanks, 'academics', astroturf groups, and even co-opted non-profits to parrot this statement as if it was true.

The Problem? Verizon's entire fiber optic deployment (including FiOS) and financial plan is based on using Title II and this has not changed since Net Neutrality became an issue about a decade ago.

This is an Open and Shut Case: Verizon Communications, Inc. and its affiliates, including Verizon Wireless, have violated Section 1.17 of the Communications Act of 1934, by "intentionally omit[ting] material information that is necessary to prevent any material factual statement that is made from being incorrect or misleading".

Simple to Prove: Compare these two statements by Verizon Communications, Inc., and the company's affiliates.

The first excerpt is from a 2014 Verizon NY cable franchise agreement, and is similar, if not identical to every other Verizon state-based fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) deployment.

2015-01-16-FiostitleII.png

The second excerpt is from Verizon's Open Internet Comments July 15, 2014

"Imposing a Title II common carriage regime on broadband providers would be a radical change in course that would only chill, not spur innovation. Title II is a regulatory dinosaur, crafted eighty years ago - and based on 19th-Century laws regulating railroads - to address the one-wire world of rotary telephones."

Title II is a Cash MachineVerizon's entire business plan is the based on using Title II as it allows the company to not only to use the utility rights-of-way, but as we discuss in the Petition, it also allows the company to get local phone customers to fund these investments of the fiber optic networks. In New York State, Verizon received at least three rate increases for "massive deployment of fiber optics" (and "losses", which we will be addressing in future petitions).

NOTE: The phrase "massive deployment of fiber optics" is taken directly from Verizon New York's filings and the NY Public Service Commission's orders. We did not need to 'make it up'.

If you have been reading the past articles, you know that we have been documenting all of this for years. Our research reports, based on Verizon's own financial reporting and other Verizon-authored documents have uncovered that Verizon's entire investment in the fiber optic networks, including the wires to the cell towers for Verizon Wireless or the "special access" wires, are based on the use of Title II.

Verizon Told the FCC Over and Over that Title II Harms Investment

There are pages of quotes by Verizon it their own Open Internet Proceeding filingsabout the harms to investment if Title II were imposed. Here are just a few.

Reclassification would create a major drag on new and improved broadband infrastructure, even though substantial investment in such infrastructure is precisely what is needed to keep pace with exponentially increasing consumer demands for bandwidth.

By chilling such investment and discouraging innovation, Title II and related proposals would only impede, not advance, the public's access to and enjoyment of the Internet.

The prospect of 19th-Century price regulation and Title II's other arcane requirements would stifle investment in and development of the Internet.

This is Misrepresentation on a Massive Level, Not Some Trivial Point.

This massively deceptive practice of getting Title II benefits on the state level while impaling it on the federal level has nothing to do with either the multiple classifications of services over the wire or some miss-matching 'investor tale' with that of the companies' reports to the FCC.

We are well aware of the use of multiple classifications, i.e., that the Title VI cable service, combined with a Title I Internet information service, can use a Title II network, but it is the flows of money that is at the crux of the issue here.

The "Title II" Issue is about the Flows of Money and the Use of Title II as a Cash Machine.

Verizon uses Title II to fund the infrastructure as "Title II", which means it is part of the state-based utilities as a telecommunications network and therefore fuels the financial perks including charging utility customers for the 'massive deployment of fiber optics'. Verizon also gets the rights-of-way from the state-based utility as Title II.

There are those who will argue that the networks can have multiple classifications of service over the same wire. While true, the issue of investment is about the flows of money. In at least New York State, Verizon's Title VI cable networks were built as part of the existing telecommunications network and therefore the cable division paid little or no construction costs for the FTTP networks it uses to deliver its cable programming. Similarly, it appears that the fiber optic wires to the cell towers and the wires used for Internet service, were all installed as Title II facilities -- i.e., the affiliate companies are getting a free ride on the backs of local phone customers who were charged multiple rate increases in New York for "massive deployment of fiber optics".

I note that these 'pundits' for Verizon or the ill-informed have not bothered to actually go through the financials of Verizon's state-based utilities or read the actual primary Verizon and NY State commission documents we quote, much less what we uncovered.

The "Janus" of Telecom

Janus was the two-faced Roman mythology figure. While the name in the 21st Century can have multiple implications, the simplest is when a person is "two-faced" or duplicitous.

The facts reveal, then, a massive duplicity on the part of Verizon Communications that continues to violate Section § 1.17 of the Communications Act, which requires "Truthful and accurate statements to the Commission".

(1) In any written or oral statement of fact, intentionally provide material factual information that is incorrect or intentionally omit material information that is necessary to prevent any material factual statement that is made from being incorrect or misleading...


The omission in every document of any statement that Title II is used for investments and that the fiber-to-the-premises networks are already Title II, which is then used to charge local phone customers as 'defacto investors', requires immediate investigation. It is at the very heart of the current Net Neutrality/Open Internet proceeding, and other proceedings related to network infrastructure policy and practices.

  • Verizon has deceived the FCC, the courts and the public over and over, and it is time for the FCC not only to acknowledge this fact but to start investigations into the failure of Verizon to disclose critical, material facts.
  • The FCC needs to examine the extent of the use of Title II today by Verizon for deployment of infrastructure used for broadband, Internet, phone and cable service.
  • The FCC needs to examine the role of customers as 'de-facto' investors; how Verizon has used Title II to get rate increases on basic POTS (plain old telephone service) customers and tax perks.
  • The FCC must examine the role of Title II and the other classifications ('titles') in allowing the manipulation of the flows of money between and among Verizon New York, the state-based utility, and Verizon Communications and Verizon's other affiliate companies, including Verizon Online, Verizon Business, Verizon Services and most of all Verizon Wireless
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And this must be done with a focus on Verizon's own statements, information, comments, reply comments, etc, made to the FCC, as well as to the courts and the public. The FCC must examine whether Verizon intentionally provided factual information that is incorrect, or intentionally omitted material information, in an effort to mislead the Commission concerning Verizon's claim that Title II harms investments.

Did Verizon Commit Perjury?

Section 47 CFR 1.16 states:

Unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury in lieu of affidavits.

Any document to be filed with the Federal Communications Commission and which is required by any law, rule or other regulation of the United States to be supported, evidenced, established or proved by a written sworn declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath or affidavit by the person making the same, may be supported, evidenced, established or proved by the unsworn declaration, certification, verification, or statement in writing of such person...

We ask the FCC to start an immediate investigation into the fact that Verizon has not once disclosed, as far as we can ascertain, any of the documents and information about their use of Title II, which we have uncovered and detail in the Petition. 

Where are the Investigations and Oversight?

Finally, I find it incredible that the leading government agency that is in charge of all of America's communications in the United States had no clue that Verizon gamed the system. But this points to a more serious question -- Where are the other government agencies, advocate offices, politicians, state commissions, or Internet advocate groups who claim that they care about 'reclassification' to Title II? Where are the investigating reporters in the US? Why wasn't this deception exposed years ago? 

NOTE: This Petition was created by New Networks Institute's independent team of lawyers, auditors, and communications experts and we received no funding from any group, organization, company or political party.

We did it because it is the right thing to do.

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CWA Local 1122     ...      2015 Meeting Dates

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MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS 2015

  • Tuesday, February 3
  • Tuesday, April 7
  • Tuesday, June 2  ***
  • Tuesday, October 6
  • Tuesday, December 1

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*** Our June 2, 2015 Membership meeting is scheduled for 5pm at Fontana's Grove 2299 Clinton St in West Seneca. 

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Membership Meetings are held at Lucarellis 1830 Abbott Rd. in Lackawanna, N.Y.

Dinner is served at 5:00pm, the meetings will begin at 6:00pm

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STEWARD MEETINGS 2015

  • Thursday, January 8
  • Tuesday, March 3
  • Tuesday, May 5
  • Tuesday, September 1
  • Thursday, November 5

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Steward Meetings are held at our Local Union Hall 3775 Genesee St.  

Food is served at 5:00pm, the meetings will begin at 6:00pm

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If you have any interest in the change or resolution of workplace issues, then it is your responsibilty to attend these meetings.

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Download Meeting Schedule

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Republicans in Congress want to work with the Obama administration to fast-track the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).1 

The TPP is the largest—and worst—trade deal you've never heard of, having been devised in secret by representatives of some of the world's largest corporations.2

It's so big and has the potential to do so much damage, it's been likened to "NAFTA on steroids."3 Watch this short video to see what I mean: 


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Will you help spread the word about fast track and the TPP by watching and sharing the video right now?

P.S. Once you've watched the video, please join the growing chorus of Americans who are saying no to fast track and the TPP by adding your name to this petition from Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America.

Sources:

1. "Republicans Defend Obama's Trade Pact While Pressing To Deregulate Banks," The Huffington Post, January 27, 2015 
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=302740&id=107774-22717831-iK8eQ4x&t=6 

2. "Obama's Covert Trade Deal," The New York Times, June 2, 2013 
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=302736&id=107774-22717831-iK8eQ4x&t=8 

3. "NAFTA on Steroids," The Nation, July 16, 2012 
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=302738&id=107774-22717831-iK8eQ4x&t=10 

When it comes to calling out and breaking down the Republican Party’s calculated “war on the poor and working families,” nobody does it quite like former US Labor Secretary, Robert Reich.

In this powerful video courtesy of MoveOn.org, Reich neatly summarizes the Republican Party’s 7-prongued approach to exacerbating socioeconomic inequality and relegating America’s poor and working families to a life of poverty. Think he’s exaggerating? Watch the 135-second video and you will agree that the ‘War on the poor and working families” isn’t a figment of his imagination, it is real and impacting Americans all across the nation.

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Weingarten RIGHTS

Members of CWA Local 1122 have Weingarten rights during investigatory interviews. An investigatory interview occurs when a Company representative questions a member to obtain information that could lead to discipline OR asks a member to defend his or her conduct. If you reasonably believe that discipline or other adverse consequences may result from a meeting with a Company representative, you have a right to Union representation at that meeting. But, you must request it.
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Responsibilty of Attendance

As a member of the Local, you are the reason the Union exists. The Unions responsibility is to protect your rights as a worker and see to it that the steady flow of changes in our workplace does not violate our contract with our employer, other non-contractual issues can be dealt with accordingly when the group of members come together and support each other as equals rather than a ME FIRST ATTITUDE....
Read More...

Why We WEAR RED

... This all started some years ago at a CWA District One Conference in NY City. The Local Presidents passed a motion to put forth a Resolution at the CWA National Convention that year. This resolution was first to honor our fallen brother Gerry, and second to show our SOLIDARITY and strength ....
Read More...


 
 
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