Brothers and Sisters:
We wanted to take a moment to update everyone on our contract negotiations.
While there are many topics unresolved, the major issues that are still unresolved are healthcare, job security (our watermark) and the Alliance, just to name a few. These topics affect everyone in our contract.
Let’s be very clear: from day one the Company has shown absolutely no interest in making our healthcare affordable. They are demanding these changes, not because they have to, but simply because they are greedy.
As you know we are currently working under our expired agreement. This means all of the provisions of the current agreement are in effect, with the exception of arbitration. Benefits, job securities, job duties and other provisions are in effect and cannot be changed.
Below are a few road blocks from the Company’s latest final offer:
- Higher healthcare costs with an added working spouse/partner surcharge of $100/month if they have healthcare available to them from their employer but chose to stay on the bargained for employee’s plan;
- Prescription integration; meaning your coverage would not kick in until your medical plan deductible is met;
- Tobacco cessation surcharge of $65.00 a month for you and your spouse/partner with no ability to bargain the terms of the program;
- No retroactive pay;
- Wage increases not effective until 60 days after ratification;
- Cutting the watermark essentially in half;
- Major changes to attendance policies;
- No change to allow for surplus by seniority in Appendix A
These are just some of the roadblocks with the Company’s “final offer”. That is hardly an offer we could recommend a “yes” vote on. So we continue to search for a path to an acceptable agreement that maintains the core protections as well as makes positive changes for our bargaining unit.
Your Bargaining Team is steadfast on bringing a contract that will move ALL members forward. Our CWA leadership is escalating to the higher level within the Company in hopes of compelling the Company to bargain towards a fair agreement.
Along with the frustration of our membership, the Bargaining Team is just as frustrated. However, we remain focused on the future issues and the key provisions of our current contract.
We remain united and will continue our fight for a fair agreement. We are asking you to do the same!
Your mobilization efforts are helping; please continue to put pressure on the Company.
Your Bargaining Committee,
Mary Ellen Mazzeo