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CWA 1122 VNA Newsletter December 10, 2014

A rehab manager, at a recent team meeting blamed the Union contract as the culprit for limiting the number of employees that can be off at any one time. The greatest absurdity in this mistruth, of course, is an implication that the agency would be offering more employees off at any one time without the collective bargaining agreement in place. …Really?

In actuality, on this issue, the contract is a guideline for minimums; Management has always had the flexibility to offer more PTO hours. At times, this has even been a beneficial tool of the VNA “based on the need” of the agency. For example, when patient census has been low, more than the minimums have been allowed off.  For inquiring minds, the formula to arrive at those minimal numbers can be found in our collective bargaining agreement under Article 7.1.11.

On the other end of the spectrum from time-off issues, the contract ensures fair rules in the assignment of work hours and additional work hours. Clear rules to cover additional hours are spelled out in the contract for full time, part time, and non-union per diem workers (Article 4.2.4). Within this system, for those who volunteer and sign-up for it, just as the process is laid out in the contract, overtime may be claimed. And for those not seeking additional hours, this contract is a rarity in this era - one which also ensures NO MANDATORY OVERTIME.

Why mention all of this? Because, first, having these rules set in writing is the starting point of everything and protects our workplace rights. Second, these frameworks didn’t happen overnight. Each successive contract built on the one preceding it. Each one represents a new fight to win and retain the rights that shape our workplace. In that process, it is important to note that the bargaining team does seek membership input through the membership surveys and meetings.  We welcome and are actively seeking members to assist the Union in influencing the PTO/PTU policy through bargaining, and it’s not too soon to consider, the next contract.

There will always be situations of contention with the above issues, but always starting at the contract as a first step, and remembering our relationships as brothers and sisters working for each other in this Union as the second, a successful conclusion for all should be the most sought after result. Actually, this idea of success through a better attitude is something management can learn from too, and do a little better itself…  

A successful company recognizes that, just as it is needs to strive for excellence in customer satisfaction, there is great worth in striving for excellence in employee satisfaction.  We are parents taking care of our children. We are children taking care of our parents.  There are employers so comfortable in recognizing this they are given the title “family friendly”.  Is the VNA family friendly? Think about this: the only recent acknowledgement from management that we even have families came in that pre-storm VNA memo dated 11/17/14. Unfortunately however, in so many words, it was a warning to not let family obligations get in the way of reporting for duty!

 Okay, this agency could do a lot better.

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In Solidarity,

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VNA Unit Mobilization Committee

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Download newsletter V19 12-10-2014

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CWA Local 1400 on STRIKE against Fairpoint Communications

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At 12:01 this morning, October 17th, CWA Local 1400 and IBEW are on strike against Fairpoint.   The Company declared an impasse on August 27th and imposed the terms and conditions of those company proposals. The Company's proposals sought to freeze pensions, cut retiree health care, raise health care costs, end job security, contract out and outsource our work to out of state and foreign countries. They wanted new hires to be paid the minimum wage. The Company has not moved off of their proposals and it was a take it or leave situation from the beginning of negotiations. At yesterdays meeting with the company, they once again refused to compromise and both unions had no choice but to call the strike.

This strike is caused by the unfair labor practices of FairPoint during negotiations for successor agreements to the now-expired collective bargaining agreements between FairPoint and the Unions.  FairPoint has engaged in objectionable and unlawful conduct, including but not limited to the following:

·       by failing or refusing to provide the Unions with requested information;

·       by unilaterally changing conditions of employment by allowing management to perform bargaining unit work;

·       by interfering with members’ ability to engage in protected, concerted activity by enforcing previously unenforced work rules;

·       by unilaterally changing conditions of employment by revoking funding for the Working Family Committee; and, most importantly,

·       by unilaterally implementing new terms and conditions of employment at a time when the parties were not at an impasse in negotiations.

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The following is the press release that was sent out this morning at 4 AM:

FairPoint Workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont On Strike
Unions Say Company Refuses to Compromise to Preserve Reliable Service and Good Jobs

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Augusta, ME—At 12:01 a.m. on Friday, October 17th, nearly 2,000 employees of FairPoint Communications (FRP) in northern New England went on strike.  Early Friday morning they established picket lines at hundreds of work sites across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
 
“The company’s actions have brought us to this place,” said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 in Maine. “We did not want to take this step. Our members want to work; they want to take care of their customers. However, our bargaining team worked as hard as we could to reach a fair agreement that would preserve good jobs and help the company prosper. We’ve offered significant concessions to this company that would save them hundreds of millions of dollars. But they absolutely refuse to compromise on any significant issue.”
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Negotiations began on April 25th, when the company came to the table with proposals that would cost workers more than $700 million. The company sought to freeze pensions, raise health care costs, cut retiree health care, and institute a two-tier wage system that would pay new hires as little as minimum wage. In addition, the company sought to end job security and outsource union members’ work to out-of-state and foreign contractors.
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After dozens of bargaining sessions during which the company rejected every significant union proposal, the company declared an impasse on August 27th and imposed the terms and conditions of their proposals on the workers. The unions have charged the company with violating federal labor law and are seeking injunctive relief from the National Labor Relations Board.
 
Employees say the North Carolina-based company, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, wants to slash labor costs in order to either sell the business or satisfy shareholders with dividends. “This company is largely owned by a small number of Wall Street hedge funds like Angelo, Gordon & Co.,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “Their priority is to squeeze as much money as possible out of the workers who’ve kept this company going, not to provide the 21st-century telecommunications system that northern New Englanders need and deserve.”
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Union leaders say the company hired a notorious “union avoidance” law firm, Seyfarth Shaw, to lead the negotiations with the goal of forcing draconian terms on the workers. “It is clear that this company never intended to reach a negotiated agreement with our members,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “They put their outrageous proposals on the table on April 25th and never budged. That is not good faith. That is not compromise and cooperation. It is disrespect, pure and simple. Our members refuse to work under these conditions any longer.”
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Members of IBEW and CWA as well as supporters from other unions and community organizations will picket at work sites in order to bring public awareness to their situation and to deter replacement workers from crossing their picket lines. They will ask customers and service providers not to cross the line to do business or make deliveries to FairPoint locations.
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“This fight is about keeping good middle-class jobs in our region and making sure that customers get the service they deserve from well-trained, experienced workers, not low-wage temps from out-of-state or overseas,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont. “Our members have been organizing and educating the public for well over a year. While they would much rather continue to work and take care of our customers, they are absolutely united and ready to strike for as long as it takes to win a fair agreement.”
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The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states. For more information, visit www.fairnessatfairpoint.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2014

Contact: Mandela Jones, 646.200.5316mandela@berlinrosen.com

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Cablevision and CEO James Dolan

Found Guilty of Multiple Violations of

Federal Labor Law

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Illegal Acts Include Retaliatory Firing of 22 Workers for Union Activity, Personal Threats and Intimidation from CEO James Dolan

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Federal Guilty Verdict Clears Path to NYC Enforcing Labor Rights Provisions of Cablevision Franchise Agreement

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New York, NY – A Federal Administrative Law Judge ruled late Thursday that Cablevision and its CEO James Dolan had broken multiple labor laws in an attempt to stop workers in Brooklyn and the Bronx from unionizing.  The union that represents the workers, the Communications Workers of America, vowed to press the City to begin a process to bring the company into compliance with its cable franchise, and if necessary declare it in default of the franchise, for violations of the labor rights provisions of the agreement.  The franchise requires the company to comply with Federal labor law.

The ruling stemmed from charges that two separate NLRB regional offices authorized against the company in April 2013: in Brooklyn for illegally firing 22 workers, bargaining in bad faith, and spying on workers, and in the Bronx for illegally intimidating, harassing and essentially bribing workers during a union representation election.

“Finally the NLRB has spoken in an unprecedented 300 page decision that outlines the deliberate law breaking of James Dolan.  In any other jurisdiction he would face arrest,” said Larry Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of America.  “Yet based on his past behavior Mr. Dolan likely believes his personal fortune and family control of Cablevision will allow him and Cablevision to avoid any real penalties.  Since the trial Jim Dolan and Cablevision have escalated their attacks on their employees and their union.  The NLRB needs to take immediate action.  The City and State of New York need to treat Cablevision and all Dolan family controlled entities like the major law breaker that is documented extensively in this decision.”

The long-awaited decision is a major boost to the Brooklyn Cablevision workers' campaign for a fair and just contract.  The decision comes after a trial concluded in December of 2013.  In mid-November, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a third sweeping federal complaint against Cablevision, including personally citing CEO James Dolan, for violations of federal labor law at its Brooklyn unit. Cablevision was charged with illegally firing Jerome Thompson (a pro-union worker), conducting an illegal sham poll of workers following CEO James Dolan’s in-person visit designed to intimidate employees with a highly prejudicial speech, and illegally implementing changes in working conditions without bargaining with CWA.  A trial on these charges is expected to begin shortly and the CWA is confident that Cablevision will be found guilty of these charges as well. 

Cablevision fired Jerome Thompson for the comments he made about “slavery” in a private meeting conducted by the company to explain its new Optimum “branding” plans.  In contrast, an anti-union worker who used foul and degrading language that included racial slurs against pro-union co-workers on Facebook was only given a slap on the wrist – Cablevision directed her to post an apology on her by then private Facebook page. At the same time, she was given expanded responsibilities.

Cablevision has run an illegal, anti-union campaign since its 300 Brooklyn technicians – the overwhelming majority of whom are Black and people of color – voted to become the first union workers at the company nearly three years ago. The company has refused to offer the workers a just contract, choosing to spend far more on executive compensation and union-busting attorneys than it would take to settle a fair contract. Cablevision even unlawfully granted raises of $2 – $9 an hour – as much as $18,000 a year – to nearly 17,000 employees outside of Brooklyn to thwart unionization. 

Recently, 42 of the New York City Council’s 51 members wrote to the Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication to express concerns that Cablevision may not meet city franchisee requirements and earlier this week, the City Council held a hearing on the topic.

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For more information, visit www.thecablevision99.org.

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Summary of Findings

Brooklyn

The ALJ found that Cablevision unlawfully fired 22 employees in January of 2013 in violation of Sections 8(a)(1) and (3) of the Act.  The ALJ ordered a backpay remedy for all 22 employees.

The ALJ found that a supervisor unlawfully directed employees not to engage in union activities in January 2012.  The supervisor’s illegal direction violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

The ALJ found that a company Vice President illegally threatened a bargaining unit employee telling him that unionization was futile in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

The ALJ further found that Cablevision’s cancelling of training on smart meters without notice to the Union or giving the Union the opportunity to bargain over the meter training violated Sections 8(a)(1) and (5) of the Act.

Additionally the ALJ found that a notice sent to employees blaming the Union for the cancellation of the meter training violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

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Bronx

The ALJ found that James Dolan, Cablevision CEO, violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act multiple times during his three speeches to the Bronx workers in order to thwart their efforts to unionize.

Specifically, the ALJ found that Dolan’s announcement of a wage increase for all employees in the footprint, was made for the purpose of halting unionization in the Bronx and elsewhere and illegally violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

Further, the ALJ found that Dolan’s promise to improve benefits similarly violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

The ALJ found that Dolan unlawfully solicited grievances from the Bronx workers and promised to fix these problems for the illegal purpose of thwarting the Bronx unionization effort in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

The ALJ also found that Dolan’s statements about Brooklyn being left behind were illegal threat made by Dolan for the purpose of stopping the Bronx organizing effort in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

CWA Local 1122 Executive Board Officer Elections

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Our CWA Local 1122 Election Committee has certified the results of our Executive Board Officer elections

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Terms of office: January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2017

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PRESIDENT:     James Wagner

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT:     John Mudie

SECRETARY-TREASURER:     Thomas Revekant

AREA VP - NORTH:     Carl Ernst

AREA VP - SOUTH:     Thomas Antonio

AREA VP - EAST:     Bill Enright

AREA VP - WEST:     Lynne O'Brien

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TO:                       All  Verizon  NY, NE and NJ  Locals

FROM:                 Chris Shelton, Vice President

DATE:                   November 24, 2014

SUBJECT:            Verizon’s Double Standard

As we gear up for Contract Mobilization, Verizon has been saying some nasty stuff about us when they try and convince our Verizon Wireless brothers and sisters not to join our union. 

Verizon management has been having dozens of forced, mandatory meetings with Verizon Wireless workers to try and keep them out of our union. Amongst the things they are saying about us is

1) We are a business that just wants dues money;

2) We are corrupt;

3) We just want to strike;

4) We don’t care about our customers;

5) We fine members anytime we want;  

6.) We are an outside third party that is a business rather than a union.

As they attack us with one face, they tell us to our face that they want to get along and work together. 

We have developed this attached flyer that we are asking every shop steward to present to management at every chance they get, and ask them to check off which kind of relationship they want with our union as we face them at the bargaining table once again. 

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Hey Verizon, Can You

Say “Two-Faced?”

     

In meetings, Verizon claims they want to work with our Union and have a respectful relationship. But when VZW employees try to organize into CWA, the very same company accuses us of corruption, violence, only wanting dues money, and being an outside “third party” 

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Verizon can’t have it both ways.  

Every member should ask their managers to choose what kind of relationship they want. Ask them to check only ONE of the following statements. 

Verizon Management: Please Check only ONE answer.

 1) As a company, Verizon would like a respectful relationship with our employees. We pledge not to accuse your union of being violent, corrupt, or a “third party” when non-union employees want to join your union.

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  2) As a company, Verizon has no respect for your union, we do not want to work with your union, and we will continue to accuse your union of being corrupt, and of being violent. 

For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/vzworkersrising

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CWA District One responds to Verizon's latest surplus offer .....
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The Company has made an offer to further negotiate over the "Special" EIPP. They have also sent an e-mail to all of our members attempting to negotiate with the membership to try and divide us. The Union has agreed to re-open negotiations but the Company's action make these negotiations harder not easier. We will of course keep you apprised of the situation as it unfolds. We have set a deadline of November 7th.
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Verizon proposed surplus offer  .....
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To:                  All New York and New England Verizon

                        Local Presidents

From:             Dennis G. Trainor, Assistant to the Vice President

Date:             October 17, 2014

Re:                 Update on Verizon’s Special Offer

Two weeks ago, the Company approached CWA with a special incentive offer for certain members to leave the payroll.  This offer was identical to the offer that CWA rejected last year with a few exceptions.

Last year, the proposal was to make an offer to 4 titles in certain Force Adjustment Areas.  This year the proposal is to make an offer to 25 titles in certain Force Adjustment areas.   In this year’s proposal the Company offered an alternative arrangement to using Force adjustment areas. They offered to exclude any Local in a Force Adjustment Area that did not want to accept the offer.

When we first received the proposal from the Company we informed them that we are not interested in dividing our Union by making offers on a local-by-local basis. We would not allow the Company to attempt to “divide and conquer” our membership.

Last year, when the Company made a very similar proposal, we had intense negotiations to discuss their desire to get people off the payroll and our desire to address the future work for our members.  We asked the Company to commit to FiOS build-outs over the next several years, to build new wire centers and to reduce the number of Board and Lodging Assignments.

This year, when the Company made their proposal, the Union raised the same concerns about the future work for our members.  The Company made it very clear that they are not .interested in entertaining any proposal regarding FiOS build-outs.

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing this proposal with our locals, District 2/13 and IBEW.  Last Friday, the Company put out an email to all employees stating that they made a proposal to the Union and they spelled out some of the details. This caused a lot of confusion and many members thought it was an actual offer.  Verizon must think that by communicating an offer directly to our members that this will make us cave-in to a one-sided offer that does nothing to protect the future work needs of our members. 

Today we told the Company that if they want us to consider their proposal-they have to address our needs.  We told them that we stand ready to discuss a real proposal that allows them to offer an incentive where needed, while growing the Company and jobs for our members.  We hope the Company heard us and will be willing to come to the table with a serious proposal. 


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coorespondence recieved from CWA District One Downstate Director Gladys Finnigan 10-10.2014
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Dennis Trainor, Assistant to the Vice President of District One asked me to send out the following message to all Verizon locals in NY/NE:
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As you know we have received a proposal from Verizon regarding a surplus offer. One of the provisions of the Company's proposal is to offer an option to make this offer on a local by local basis.
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The National Union has told the Company that we are not interested in dividing our Union in this way. We are in discussions with all of our locals regarding the remaining provisions of the proposal and what our response will be.
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Earlier today we found out that the Company is planning to send an e mail to employees this afternoon regarding this situation.  As usual, when dealing with Verizon their communication will cause confusion in the ranks and is being sent to all employees, even ones not included in the Company's proposal. 
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Please be assured that we will provide any updates regarding this matter as they develop.

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.
Read More...

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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