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Jan. 15 Claims Deadline: Court Oks CWA-Nynex Pact on FMLA

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A federal court in New York City on Oct. 21 approved the negotiated settlement of a lawsuit filed last year by CWA and 53 employees of Nynex (now part of Bell Atlantic as result of a merger) growing out of disputes under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The settlement provides that a dedicated staff at the Nynex Absence Benefit Center will administer FMLA claims using new, agreed-upon forms and procedures; the creation of a joint union-management FMLA advisory committee which will meet periodically to discuss issues and concerns, and an innovative three-step alternative dispute resolution process for employees who were "stepped" on the company's absence control program or who may have been suspended or discharged as a result of absence at any time between Nov. 14, 1994 and Oct. 1, 1998. The deadline for filing a claim under this process will be Jan. 15, 1999 and will not be extended.

Employees can call a "hot line" number (1-800-570-4577) for information about the review process or to obtain assistance and forms from specially trained union FMLA advisors. The new program, including the "800" number, will be in place by Nov. 6. Details of the special review process will be mailed to all CWA-represented employees at Nynex on Nov. 6.

CWA Vice President Larry Mancino of District 1 called the settlement "an excellent example" of the kind of victory that can be won "when labor and management work together to implement important workplace guarantees."