Monday

 July 24, 2017

 

Members

Find Us on Our

Facebook Group Page

 

 

 

 3rd QTR 2017 SE Surplus Declaration

 

 

 2nd Qtr 2017 Final Surplus Declaration

 

 

 

Facebook Group Page

Please locate our FB Group page and request to join.  We are using the page to post information for our members and to answer questions.  It is a closed group and only members may join.

  

1st Qtr 2017 SE Surplus Declaration

 

 Asset Protection?

It is important to remember whose assets they are protecting. Number one is their own asset, and then the company's. They could not possibly care less about you.

So when they call you on the phone, or call you into a meeting, call for a Steward. And do not talk to them until one is present. Period, the End, no exceptions.

 

   

 

Log Your Volunteer Hours, Really? Is That Even Ethical?

 

AT&T is reminding its employees to go online and log the hours they personally volunteered, outside the company, no connection to the company, and no help from the company.  And why? So AT&T can take credit for our good deeds. Really? Where are the regulators?

  

Aflac

Some of our members expressed interest in being able to purchase certain Aflac policies at a discounted rate.  We have now completed that process and you will find that information under the "My Local CWA" tab to the left of this page. The tab is "Aflac Representative".

 

  

Potential Members

We are continuing our organizing efforts. We believe most of the non members just haven't been approached.  We are emailing their names to members so you can identify them and sign them up. We will also be posting their names on bulletin boards for those who have not provided email addresses.  Remember the $50 attest fee for each member you sign up.

 

  

Non Members

Good news for non members. We believe most of you would join if we reached out to you. So we are doing just that.  We are letting your co-workers know who you are. So be expecting them to offer you a membership card soon.  Sign it and return it to them to get all the privileges of membership.

 

 

Organizing

We are actively organizing and growing our Union, both internally and externally.  If there is a non member in your work group or area, sign them up and pick up an easy $50. It will be good for you, good for them, and good for the Union.

Non members tend to think they get the same help from the Union as members.  Several of them have found out lately that is simply not true.  We are required to represent them under certain conditions, but there are many more times we are not required to and do not assist them.

We are involved in some external activities we will not discuss in detail here. Some of you may be asked to assist us.  Be sure to keep up on the Facebook group.

 

    

Facebook Group

CWA Local 3902.  Join us. For members only and it gets interesting sometimes.

 

PMR

The Union has been notified of a major change in the way a PMR/STD case will be handled.  If you are on STD and you are considering restrictions please contact the Local President before you do anything.  We need to discuss it.  Non members must figure it out for themselves.

 

Training for 2020

The company has made a big deal out of "being ready for 2020".  Okay, but here is the deal.  If certain training is required for your job, AT&T will furnish it.  They will pay for it and you will do it on their time. Otherwise, it is not required.

Please beware of the private "for profit" schools that are preying on some of us. Some are offering courses we do not need, cannot use, and that will not help us.  You must take them on your own time.  All of us are too busy to waste time and money.

If you are considering such training ask yourself:  What will this do for me?  If they promise you a job at the completion of the training find out who will hire you and talk personally with that employer. Do not buy the sales pitch.  Check them out.

Our Union has negotiated reimbursements for certain educational expenses. (Tuition Aid Program).  Use that money wisely.  Degrees from unaccredited schools promising easy jobs may not be the best way to spend that money.  Spending countless hours and dollars on certifications you will never be able to use is not a wise strategy. 

 

 

Social Security

We said it before but it needs to be repeated.  If you want Social Security to be there when you need it you must demand it.  Since it's inception the naysayers have been claiming it would go away.  It will if we allow it.  How do we keep it?  Simple, we vote for candidates who genuinely believe in it.  Make sure they are not just telling us what we want to hear.  Check their history.

Corporations hate Social Security.  For each dollar we pay in they have to pay in a matching dollar.  It is the one tax not even AT&T can avoid.  If they thought they had a chance they would open the checkbook to defeat it.  We need to always make it clear to the politicians and pundits we will not tolerate them messing with our Social Security.

The most recent attack was an attempt by some to "privatize" it.  Do not be fooled.  It was a scam to give the money to Wall Street to steal, and to allow corporations off the hook. As Nancy Reagan liked to say, "Just say No!"

 

 

401 K? There is No "Later"

How is your 401 K doing? Recently we spoke to someone who said they were not participating right now, but would do it later.  Folks, if you ever hope to retire there is no later.

Our pension is not nearly enough to live on.  Social Security will help, but it is designed to keep us from starving to death.  It will never be a pension plan that we can live big on.

Your 401 K will most likely decide what kind of retirement you have.  Load it up and take care of it.  And do it now.

 

 

MLK Holiday

(The high number of closed businesses and reduced traffic Monday made it clear that AT&T is out of sync in its lack of respect for Dr. King.)

Thanks once again to AT&T's greed we will be working today when we should be honoring Dr. King and his work.  If we aren't as productive today it is because our thoughts are elsewhere. 

And, AT&T, stop telling us what a diverse and progressive company you are. Your actions speak louder than your words.

 

  

Facebook Page

 

Facebook

We've had a very good response to our Facebook page.  We would like for every member to join and be active. Please tell your co-workers about the page and ask them to join.  Each member should make their own request.

 

Hey Non Member

We would love to have you in our closed Facebook group. All you need to do is get with a member and sign a membership card. Once we get the card we will add you to the group.  Otherwise, you may as well stop asking.  It is for members only.

  

Vacation Selection

It is vacation selection time.  If your work group isn't in the process please contact your Steward or the Local.

 

Facebook Group

We will continue to answer any questions our members have on our Facebook Group.  To join, look for CWA Local 3902 in groups and ask to join.  As soon as your membership is verified you will be added to the group.

We have received a number of requests from members from other Locals to join our group.   The group is for 3902 members only. 

 

CWA Supports?

CWA is giving us a chance to express our views on supporting a candidate in the upcoming Presidential election.  Alabama is lagging behind some other states in expressing our views.

We all know the drill, put up or shut up. Right? So please members, click on the website and participate.  Let our voices be heard.

cwavotes.org/

 

 

 IP Transition Trials A Bomb?

See this rather unflattering Huffington Post Story: 

www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-kushnick/atts-ip-transition-trials_b_8278326.html

 

Mr. Stephenson

We will take the same raise you got, and the same retirement package. That sounds fair doesn't it?

 

Facebook

Many of you have asked for a Facebook page.  We finally have it if you can find it. Look for CWA Local 3902 in Groups.  It is a closed group, so you will need to request to join. Once your Local membership is verified you will be added to the group.

The group is a place for us to talk privately about our cheap, over demanding, underpaying, cold hearted, greedy employer. There we will say things that we might not say about them in public.

So join in and let's get the conversation started!

 

Want Thanksgiving Off ?

So do your friends, neighbors, relatives, your children.  The best way to make that happen is to refuse to shop or make appointments on Thanksgiving Day.

Corporate America, including our employer, would love for all Holidays to go away.  Let's stop helping them.  Plan now. Don't shop. Don't eat out. Gas up on Wednesday. If your TV goes out, watch it with a friend or relative.

They are taking our weekends and Holidays away.  We are helping them. Think about it.  How can we help?  Stop helping them.

 

Open Enrollment

You may have received a notice concerning Open Enrollment.  Even though we do not have a new agreement Open Enrollment will happen.  We will choose from the options we had this year.

It is possible that we may have to do another enrollment after an agreement is reached.  Wouldn't it be great if AT&T would reduce the heavy cost burden they have forced on us?  That will be determined in bargaining.  

   

 

Survey Time

The company is conducting another survey.  We suggest you complete it.  We just completed it, and we told them a fair contract would be helpful in making this a better place to work.

 

Vacation Time

If you work under the BST agreement your available vacation periods must be posted by October 15, 2015.  If they are not posted on time please contact a Steward or the Local so we can get a grievance filed.  Most first levels seem to be ADHD so it may be easier to just remind them.

 

Why So Much Attention To Wire Techs

Those of us who have always worked under the core contract cannot imagine how badly the Wire Tech is treated.  Walmart treats its people better, and the pay is not very different.

We could never have imagined that AT&T would turn the title into a churn job.  They fire them regularly without cause.  We have a number of Wire Tech termination grievances at the District level now.

The Wire Tech is not guaranteed 40 hours a week.  If the work slacks off, they send them home. If the work picks up they force them to work long hours in terrible conditions.  Safety is a bad joke.  If they are injured on the job discipline is automatic.  We are addressing that with OSHA.

We will be hearing more about the Wire Tech in the future. We have understated their working conditions. They are far worse than most could imagine.

 
 

Selection Activity Report is Posted On CRC

 

There is No Fourth Quarter Surplus

 

   

Working Safely?

The attitude of the company from the top down makes it all the more important we work safely and by their silly, stupid rules.  We know your supervisor wants you to skip them and get the job done in a hurry.  Don't do it.  

 

 

Scabs

One thing they now know in Pensacola and New Orleans is who the scabs are.  The hand full of people who crossed will pay a high price for their misdeed.  They will never be forgotten. They will never be respected, by us or the company. 

 

  

Union Members Welcome

We welcome all Union members to this site.  Non members should exit immediately.  Material on this site may not be used without the express written consent of the site administrator, with the exception of fellow CWA Locals who may use it at any time at your own risk. 

We also welcome your input.  If you have a suggestion contact the Local President at the email adress found in the contact tab.

 

  

Tell It All

 

Now is a good time to let your friends and neighbors know what AT&T is trying to do to us.  Make sure your preacher knows before he steps into the pulpit Sunday that AT&T wants us to increase our already sizeable health insurance contribution by 225 percent.

Ask your preacher is that how corporations are supposed to treat employees when they are making record profits.  Tell him the CEO pays himself 20 million dollars a year.  See what he thinks. See what your neighbors think. Tell it all.

 

Shut it Down?

 

A glimpse of last Saturday's rally in Atlanta.  A few of the members who attended surge toward the building while others (not pictured) marched on the sidewalk in the foreground saying "Shut it down.".  

 

 

 

 

 

Bargaining Reports

If you are following the bargaining reports closely you can see things are not going well.  AT&T is willing to see how far they can push us.  We are willing to push back.  This is different than most of our members have seen. 

Birmingham is about to step it up a notch.  We need everybody on board and ready to do their part.   At Tuesday's Union meeting we will discuss the do's and don'ts of a strike including how to deal with scabs.  If a strike occurs before then we will have a special meeting to discuss them.

This is real folks.  Be ready.  See you Tuesday if not before.

 

Grownups Sacrifice

Want a fair contract?  Then make the sacrifice.  It isn't going to be easy and it isn't going to be free.  We already have our first scab and we haven't even been out on strike yet.  We'll tell you more at the Union meeting.

A lot of our members gave up their Saturday to ride a bus to Atlanta to rally and let the company know we are serious. If you weren't on it you missed a chance to do your part.  We have conducted several quick picket lines.  Did you come out and picket?  Do you really want a fair contract?

The same people show up everytime.  We need you, too. 

 

The Same People, We Love Them

Those same people are always there when you need them.  They were on the bus Saturday, in Atlanta, being heard.  Two of them couldn't make the bus so they drove over.  Nobody paid them and nobody bought their gas. They sacrificed.  Were you there?   (With respect for those who had to work, we understand) 

So, you want a fair contract?  Step up!  Stand up, fight back.  You matter!  We need your help. The company isn't interested in a fair contract. 

 

 


 

Reflection

Thinking about the rally in Atlanta.  It felt like a big deal. It was a big deal.  If the company didn't get the message, our leaders certainly did.  In District 3 we are ready to make the sacrifice.  It is time to stop these crazy give backs. 

 

Say It Loud

The Rally in Atlanta that the company tried to limit by forcing OT was a huge success.  The huge crowd came from all over District 3 and is clearly ready to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract.  Many attending the rally rode buses or drove all night to be there. 

This round of bargaining is no joke. Everybody needs to be ready for what comes next.  District 3 is ready to fight back.

 


This site is for Union members only. If you are not a member of CWA Local 3902 you should exit this site immediately. All material is the property of Local 3902 and may not be used without the written consent of the Local. 


 

Gonna Miss My Oreos

Nabisco is closing its plant in Chicago, laying off 600 workers, and moving to Mexico.  It is a decision of greed, not need.  Maybe the Mexicans will eat Oreos, we will not.  But we will miss them. 

Since posting this (about 5 minutes) we are advised to do an internet search on Nabisco products.  Apparently a number of their items are now made at foreign plants and the reviews are not good.  Please do your own search.

 

More About Working Without a Contract

When a contract expires we have three options: Strike, extend the contract, or work without a contract.  This time our leaders have chosen to work without a contract.  In doing so they have given us options we did not have before.

We hope we do not have to use the new options we have, but we are certainly prepared to do so.  So, a few things you should know. The company cannot unilaterally change policy.  This has a broader definition than it does when we are under agreement.

If the company changes how schedules are posted, overtime is assigned, terms of standby, etc, contact us. These are issues they must now negotiate with us.  These negotiations must take place at some bargaining level.  Stewards are not authorized to bargain these issues.

 

 Twitter

Follow us @cwalocal3902

 

Working Without A Contract

 

Many of you have called to ask what working without a contract means.  The short version is that most terms and conditions of the expired contract continue in effect.  The no strike / no lockout provision has expired. The arbitration provision has expired with some limits.

As to our members going to work each day, things are pretty much as they were.  If your management team attempts to change any rules that were in effect before,  you should contact me.  There are certain things that we would need to look at.

Our bargaining team continues to work to get a fair contract.  AT&T continues to try to take more away.  They have had their way so long they would even try to dictate when we might strike.  If we strike, we will decide when.

I have seen more of these than I care to admit.  It has been a long time since I have seen a more committed and dedicated bargaining team and staff.  They have our complete support. 

If they say strike, then strike we will.  If they say hold the fort for a while, we got it.  We are in this for a better contract and for the long haul if needed.

Keep checking back for updates, and make sure the Local has your personal Email address.

Steve

 

8/8/15

We are working without a contract which means we will continue to work while negotiations continue.  The same old strategy the company uses contract after contract has not hurt us tonight.

While we are disappointed we did not get a contract we are happy our team did not fold.  We live to fight another day.  And fight we will.  We damn well better.

Check back for updates.  And remember, work safe and smart. Follow the instructions you have been given precisely.  And be ready. 

Updates

We continue to receive updates from District 3 and our bargaining team in Atlanta.  Our team is trying.  They are talking about a whole host of issues important to our members, all of our members.

There is still time to reach an agreement, but time is obviously running out.  We will discuss our options at the watch gathering. Remember to check the website for updates. ( The tab in the upper left corner)

 

Time Running Out.  Quiet Please

Time is running out on the chances for a new agreement by the Saturday deadline. AT&T is just too greedy..

We work hard for them.  Many of us have given the the very best years of our lives and many more stand ready to. But they are driven only by greed.  They could care less.

So, we will do what we have to do. We have earned a fair share.  We demand it.

We do not know if a strike will be called or when.  Many things are possible.  We have options and we will share them with you privately. But now is the time to stop sharing our options with the company.  Stop talking to your supervisor. If your spouse is management, talk about the weather.  They get a lot of their information from us. Quiet please. Talk only to each other.

Oh, and by the way, they are reading some of the Facebook pages. Do not post any information you may have regarding Our options.

 

Safety, Really?

Some in the company still mention safety, some are even genuine.  But for the most part, safety is nothing more than a means to harrass and inflict discipline. We have had a rash of it in Birmingham. Sanity seems to have left the area.

We understand that some of these young supervisors lack experience.  We also get that they are under heavy pressure to meet unreasonable goals. But some of them are still just mean people.

Mr. Company man, you know who they are.  They are your mistake.  They are your responsibility.  If you really believe in safety, you will safely get them away from your workforce.

 

Speaking of Safety

All of our outside techs should download the OSHA Heat Index app.  Try it and see. It is a great tool to help us avoid getting in trouble with the heat.

Have You Signed Up?

Strike Captains are busy putting together picket schedules.  Have you signed up?  If not, please contact your Steward or call the Local and ask to speak to a Picket Captain.  You must sign up in order to recieve strike relief benefits.

 

Are You Ready?

A reporter asked recently if we would settle at the last minute, or would we actually strike?  At this point it is anybody's guess, but we think it is safe to say anything is possible.

We will gather at the Local Hall Saturday beginning at 6 PM in preparation in case a strike is called at the contract deadline.  While they last we will serve hamburgers and hot dogs.  It will not be all fun and games as there are some preparations we will ask you to help us with.

If a strike is called we will each proceed to our place of reporting to establish our picket lines.  Please make sure your strike duty paperwork has been completed and turned into the Local.  Your Steward should be able to help you.

As always, if you have any questions contact the Local.  Please remember it will be a busy week.  So please help us by checking for updates on the website.  You may also want to make sure we have your personal email.  If and when something happens we will send a mass email to those we have an address for.

 

 

Skill vs Will

AT&T has sent skilled negotiators to the table to extract concessions from us.  They are in Atlanta to take from us and put it in their own pockets.  But when all is said and done it is not skill that will carry the day, it is will.  Do we have the will to stand up to them?

We are conducting a strike vote. The only question is whether or not to authorize the Union to call a strike if necessary. Do we have the Will to fight?  Are we willing to sacrifice to get and keep what we want, need, and deserve?  Or, are we going to let them do it to us again?  How do you vote?  Yea or nay. 

 

T- Shirts

Red CWA Tee shirts are available for purchase at the Local office for $5.00. 

 

Offended, You Bet

Should we be offended with the offers AT&T has brought to the table?  Yes, and we are.  We work hard for this company and deserve to be treated with respect. 

 

 

Bargaining Activities

Activities are picking up around the District as our members see the cruel attitude AT&T brought to the bargaining table.  It is very difficult to focus on one's job when AT&T is trying so hard to take away what little we have left.  Take note of what they are trying to do.  When and if we hit the streets we need to remember why we are out there.

 

Terri Sewell

As you probably know by now Terri Sewell abandoned us when we needed her.  Like Artur Davis before her she had a chance to make a difference for the District and for working people everywhere.  She chose Terri instead.

If you live in the District you should know how important she was to all of Alabama.  Our Congressional Districts have been gerrymandered in such a way that District 7 carries the burden of being the only District in the state with any hope for a peoples representative.  Terri let us down.

 

 

Strike Imminent?

Not in many years has it appeared so likely that we may indeed strike AT&T.  We have grown accustomed to last minute deals and contract extensions .  Either of those could happen again but this time such would be an upset.  AT&T doesn't realize or care they are dealing with a different leadership team.

If you haven't already done so now is the time to hold on to an extra month's rent.  If you are thinking of new purchases you might want to put them off.  Last minute preparations are in order now.. 

 

 

 

Bargaining Updates

It didn't take AT&T but a minute to show their hand.  They could not possibly care less about the employees, any of us. 
We will be making sure they hear from us in the days and weeks to come. Be ready.

Bargaining updates can be accessed by clicking on the tab in the upper left corner of this page.

 

Thank You Senators Sessions and Shelby

 

Senator Shelby and Senator Sessions both voted right on the TPA that is set to send more of our jobs out of the country.  We thank them both for doing the right thing for working people.

  

Sewell Disappoints Again

Once again Terri Sewell voted with the corporate class instead of the people who elected her.  We cannot begin to adequately express our disappointment.

 

 

 

Palmer Stands Up For Alabama Jobs

Many thanks to District 6 Representative Gary Palmer who voted against Fast Track and for American jobs.  While the jury is still out on Representaive Palmer's views on organized labor, we have said from the beginning this is about all jobs, not just Union jobs.

All we ask of any leader is to do the right thing.  On this issue Representative Palmer did the right thing for all American workers.  Thank you Mr. Palmer.

 

Sewell Abandons District 7

In an astounding betrayal of the District 7 voters and others who elected her, Terri Sewell  voted for Fast Track.   It will likely lead to the passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement.  

Like Artur Davis before her, she abandoned her District and the working people of Alabama on the most crucial vote of her term.  District 7 is one of the poorest distrcts in the country and cannot afford the loss of even one job.  Sewell knows the TPP will lead to more job losses in the District. 

District 7 has now elected 2 Harvard graduates.  Both have shown they do not understand the District they were elected to represent.  District 7 deserves a representative who will look out for the District 7 voters.

 

Fast Track and Terri Sewell, the Job Killers

 

Unions have made Fast Track the measure by which we will judge our legislative leaders. 

Both Republican Senators in Alabama opposed it.  We thank them.

Terri Sewell sided with the corporations.  Please contact Terri Sewell to tell her how disappointed we are.  Her number is 205-254-1960.

 


 

Convention Report

 

The CWA National Convention takes place every other year.  The Convention is comprised of delegates from Locals across the country.  The number of delegates a Local gets is based on the size of the Local. Our Local gets 5 delegates.

The Convention is the highest governing body of the Union.  The Convention can make any decision it sees fit as long as it does not violate the Union Constitution.  Only the Convention can change the Constitution, and changing the Constitution is not simple.

In the Convention just concluded we elected new officers. Our new President is Chris Shelton from New York.  Chris is known as a fighter.  As a result it is safe to say bargaining will be different this time around.  We are not sure how of course, but we are preparing for a fight.  If Chris is willing to fight, we are ready to fight with him.

Our new District Vice President is a young man named Richard Honeycutt.  Richard is a smart guy with a lot of energy and some new ideas.  He will need our help and we have pledged to help him in every way possible. 

With the election of Chris and Richard it is a new day for our Union.  Both understand how quickly the Government can take away all we have fought for.  Both will continue to do everything possible to protect us in that arena. They must.  But we can also expect more attention to our internal matters and to our struggles with AT&T, Verizon, and the other companies with whom we have contracts and members.

Our delegates  were active participants at this year's convention and represented us well.  We learned a lot.  Each Convention is a learning experience as much as it is a responsibility. 

We will make available certain information from the convention our members might be interested in at our June 23 Regular Meeting. 

On behalf of the CWA Local 3902 Delegation.

 

Congratulations to our newly elected District 3 Vice President, Richard Honeycutt, seen here as he is being sworn in by CWA President Chris Shelton.

 

National Convention 

The membership requested a report on the CWA National Convention. The picture is of Jo Fowler, Ronald Reese, Ed Brazier, and Steve Monk. They are 4 of the 5 delegates representing our Local. At this time Chris Shelton has been elected as our new President. Nominations are being taken for all of the other National Officers. An election will follow those nominations.

After the National elections are concluded we will return to our District 3 Meeting to nominate and elect the District 3 Vice President. To say the least, this will be a long day for the delegates.

Congratulations to Chris Shelton who has just been sworn in as our new President.

 

 

 

 

Another Reason Not To Outsource

www.cnet.com/news/at-t-to-pay-fcc-25-million-for-customer-data-breach/

 

 

Easy Money, No Joke

The Executive Board voted to increase attest money to $50.00 for each new or reinstated member you sign up before the contract deadline in August.  If you need to identify non-members in your work group or area contact Sheila @ 205-945-1979.

 

 


 

Net Neutrality and a Regulated Internet

What does it mean to us?

As you probably know the FCC recently ruled in favor of regulating the internet as a public utility.  As consumers and employees of an interent service provider it is a victory for us.

Consumers will benefit by not having to pay higher prices for content filtered by the provider.  Providers will not be able to force content off the internet because the content provider was unwilling or unable to pay additional fees.

As for regulation, we will have to wait a while to see what that looks like.  But suppose the FCC orders big providers like AT&T to make services available to a larger area, just as they once did for land line service and electricity. Who will benefit?  We will. Those are our jobs.

AT&T would have us join them in calling for less regulation. Please remember our goals are different than theirs. They want to cut us loose, skim the cream off the top, and laugh all the way to the bank.  We want to keep our jobs, but we are also their customers.  We want an affordable and open internet. 

What's best for Randal Stephenson's bank account isn't usually what is best for ours.  Remember which side you are on. 

 

 


 

 

Compensation? Not So Much

Of late Mr. Stephenson has been identifying employee discounts as "compensation". We don't blame him for using it as a tactic leading up to bargaining. To him it is war, and in war all is fair.  Mr. Stephenson is a reactionary.  He simply reacts to conditions around him.

When it became obvious that his own employees were getting services from other carriers he reacted.  He discounted services to make them easier for us to purchase.  And sure, it cost the company something to do that, but the gains outweighed the costs, or he would not have done it.  He is a numbers guy.

A visionary would have taken a different approach.  Henry Ford and his fledgling company faced a similar situation.  When Ford Motor Company was just beginning its employees could not afford to buy the cars they were building.  Ford could have discounted the cars, but he was a visionary. Instead he doubled their salary.  They bought cars and more.

Mr. Ford's vision and actions set the stage for our economy for over a century.  He understood giving raises paid returns for Ford and for the country. (There were plenty of arguments over the size of the raises) Today's CEO's have no clue.  They see only numbers. They do not care about America or our citizens. Just the numbers.

Mr. Stephenson, we appreciate the discounts. I urge all members to take advantage of them.  But if you will pay us a better wage, return our healthcare and pensions, you may not need to discount the services.  You might find us more loyal.  We were once. 

 
Bargaining, Will It Be Different?

More importantly, will the outcome be different?

AT&T is one of the most profitable companies ever to exist. Its leaders try to downplay quarterly profit announcements.  They don't want to attract the attention of regulators.

Yet the money keeps rolling in, by the billions, and they keep trying to take more from the employees. Except, of course, from the very top tier. So we ask, what can we do?

Our leadership knows we must have new strategies if we are to stop the take backs.  Expect the unexpected. This round of bargaining may look like any other in the beginning.  Do not expect that to last.  As members we must be patient.  We must stand behind our bargaining team. 

United we bargain, divided we beg. It is more than a slogan. It is the truth.  Be ready.

 


 
About Your 401 K

It shouldn't be, but the truth is your 401 K plan is now a very big part of your retirement package. Manage it wisely, and by all means, contribute at least the amount the company will match. We suggest you talk to a financial planner or your tax advisor for guidance.

 


 
The US Supreme Court Assaults Retired Workers

Click on the link to read this story from the LA Times.  Please note that even though there was a unanimous vote, 4 of the justices left open the possibility that our bargained for healthcare should be protected.

www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-supreme-court-health-benefits-union-retirees-20150126-story.html

 


 

 

Our Stewards

Even before we took office we understood our Stewards are our most important asset.  Having well trained and involved Stewards is critical to our success as a Union.  It starts with choosing the right folks.

When we took office we found many of our certified Stewards had no interest in being Stewards. Some did not even know they were certified. So we removed the list from the website and began the process of identifying those who want to be Stewards.

We provide training for them and help them get their feet wet.  Not everybody we train works out. It is not an easy task.  There are many reasons for this, but everybody is different.  Most who find it not for them  will tell us.  We understand.

Our contracts generally allow the company to reach out to the closest Steward when enforcing discipline.  For this reason, we must do all we can to make sure the Steward is trained and ready. We all want a qualified Steward to represent us.

We will continue to add and lose Stewards so training will be an ongoing process.  If you think you might like to be a Steward let us know. 

 


 

How is Your 401K Looking?

 

 


 

Short Term Disability (STD) Benefits

Perhaps the one bright spot from 2012 bargaining is the new language for STD.  In the past one needed medical evidence to show they could not "do any kind of work" before STD would be approved.  The new language is more reasonable.  The medical evidence now only has to show one can not do their job.

Benefits are usually denied because your doctor failed to provide the proper paper work.  Due to the HIPPA laws and other liabilities you must get your doctor to provide the necessary documentation.  So please, when choosing your doctor, speak with his/her staff and make sure they are willing to help you.

Most doctors understand that getting paid is as important to us as it is to them. But not all.  Some are insulted that the company demands medical evidence and will not "accept their word". The company requires medical evidence.

If you run into problems let us know. We will guide you through the process. But it is up to your doctor to get you approved. Good doctors will help you.  Make sure you have a good one.

 


 

Counseling Entry

 

The Counseling entry is the first step of discipline.  When the company places an entry in your record they have begun a process that could lead to your termination. If a member of this Local receives a counseling entry, or any entry, you should file a grievance immediately. (See the tab at the top of this page)

A properly written counseling entry will not threaten further discipline. For example, an entry for attendance might read  "Discussed with employee the need to maintain good attendance."

The company will often word the entry,  "Discussed with employee the need to maintain good attendance.  Adivsed employee further absences may lead to discipline."  Regardless of what they call it, this is a warning entry. It warns of more discipline.

Don't play around. Your supervisor will tell you this will go away in six months if there are no further instances. It should.  But let us look at it. You may not have deserved it in the first place. And you may have received more than you thought.

  


 

Grievances

We had a few questions recently on how to file grievances. The tab at the top of the page offers instructions.  If you have any questions ask your Steward or call the Local.  Remember, each Agreement has different time limits, so don't put it off. 

 


 

 Election Results

PRESIDENT

Steve Monk

 

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

Carla Bennett

 

Secretary - Treasurer

Jo Fowler


 

NETWORK VICE PRESIDENT

Ed Brazier

 

Mobility Vice President

Andrell Hubbard

 

Collections/Consumer/Finance Vice President

Ronald Reese

 

Interconnect Vice President

Errol Minor

 


 


 

Vacation Selection

Vacation choices must be posted by October 15 for those in the core contract. The other contracts are less clear but we must have time to make our selections. Check your contract or ask your Steward for more information.

 


 The United Way

The United Way raises funds for multiple charities.  Regular folks like you and me get together and decide how the funds will be distributed. It is an excellent  way to give back to our community and those in need.  CWA members have always been generous.

We don't try to pull on your heart strings and bring you to tears to wrangle a donation out of you. Instead, we simply ask that you do what you always do and give as generously as you can.  The United Way is a great way to give.

 


 

Trying To Divide Us?

It is beginning to look more and more like management is taking our successes seriously.  We have multiple reports of Wire Tech managers involving themselves in internal Union business.  We have called them out at least once already. 

The Wire Techs are fine group of mostly young folks who just want to do their jobs and go home and be with their families. But Wire Tech supervisors ran all over them before they joined our Union.  Some still think they can.  We are determined they will not.

This attempt by the managers to involve themselves in Union business will not go unchallenged.  We are preparing charges against the managers involved and the company in general.

It is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act for management to get involved in internal Union business. If you see it in any shape, form, or fashion please let the Local President know.

 


 

 

With Us or Against Us

When it comes to the Union there is no middle ground.  You support the Union and our bid for good wages and benefits, etc.,  or you are with those who think we should take what the company gives and be happy.

Bargaining is really just around the corner. If you want to make a statement that matters sign a card and join the Union.  We are growing and adding new members daily.   Side with the good guys, sign up today.

We are not the Union of old.  We have modernized and upgraded.  We do things the right way.  We are organized at a higher percentage than in the previous 3 or 4 contracts.  It makes a difference.  It is our time.  Be part of it.

 

Southeast Bargaining

Bargaining for the core contract is just around the corner. Please remember to submit your bargaining suggestions.  Local 3902 is doing its part to be ready.  We are organizing and mobilizing. We have reached out to those who have not had an opportunity to sign up with great success. Most of us get it.  Together we bargain, divided we beg.                              

 

 

 


 

PMR - Permanent Medical Restriction

PMR was negotiated by the Union and has been very helpful to many of our members. Unfortunately, there are some financial planners who do not understand it.  If someone mentions PMR to you as an incentive to retire you should beware.

PMR can do more than one thing.  One thing it can do is send you home with a little money and no pension and no benefits. So please, be careful. If you think PMR, get advice from the Union, not an outsider who claims to have the answers.

 


 

Thank You City Center

Many thanks to those in the City Center who helped with the Community Services Committee fund raiser for one of our own.  The AOC is next, and we ask that you please give what you can.  We would not ask if the need were not great.

 


 

Selection Activity Report Posted

The SAR is posted on the CRC.  The clock is now ticking on your right to file a grievance.

 

EEO Coverage, Beware!

Most are receiving the company's required EEO coverage now.  All we can say is buyer beware. The company protects the company.  Going to the company to make claims against others is dangerous business.

The company cannot protect you from lawsuits or other actions. Nor will they provide you legal assistance to pursue a claim.  If you feel you are being harrassed by a co-worker or supervisor you should get help.

First, gather what evidence you can, quietly. Then take that evidence to the EEOC. The EEOC is an agency of the United States Government. They will guide you through the process. If you follow their advice you will be protected.

If you need help or information the Local President can help you contact the proper authorities.

 


 

Help a Friend Please

One of our own could use our help.  In the next few days our Community Services Committee will be out and about asking you to pitch in.  This is a legitimate fund raiser.  If you can help, please do what you can.

 


 

  

Wire Tech, Service Rep, ST, ETC

 

Two years ago this Local fought hard to keep the contract from being ratified.  There were a number of issues that we opposed.  Among them was the company initiative with the Wire Tech / Prem Tech.  We believe It is part of a company strategy to use the Wire Tech to eliminate the ST.  If the strategy is successful the Service Rep and others will be next.

The strategy continues to play out.  The company ignored the promises it made to the bargaining committee from day one. Duh. Now the company is blatantly shifting ST work to Wire Techs without regard to their promises.

District sees it now and is fighting back.  We are in the fight with them, even if we can't help but say "we told you so".  And we need everybody's help.  Help us get the word to the Wire Tech their jobs will be the first to go.

If the Wire Techs do ST work then ST's will be declared surplus. The surplus ST's will bump the WT's. The Wire Techs have nobody to bump. We can stop this if we stick together.  Our Wire Techs are beginning to see it. 

The bottom line: Everybody, work within your scope.  Protect your own job.  The moment of truth is now.  Do it today and everyday.  We have to outlast the monster in Dallas, and then we win.

 


 

 

AT&T

How Can You Sell It When You Won't Use It Yourself?

 

AT&T spends millions telling customers how great its services are.  But what do they do when they need services? They call another Telephone company.  Hard to believe, but it is true.

When AT&T decided to move a facility from the Colonnade to a location at Wildwood, they called xxxxxxxx Communications. Their excuse?  They didn't know who to call.  If that is true, then AT&T needs to work on the "one company" thing we keep hearing about.

We are working on a plan of  action to let the public know how much AT&T thinks of its own employees.  We'll need some volunteers.  We will send details through our Stewards. Stand by, this is not over.

 

Wire Tech- The Battle Line is Drawn

A few years ago a document was circulated in which the company stated its intent to reduce wages by up to 40 percent in some titles.  The Wire Tech title was and is part of that strategy.

We believe (from the beginning) the company intends to use the Wire Tech to replace the ST and some FT work, at two thirds the cost.  Even after they agreed in bargaining to limit the scope of work to be done by the Wire Tech, they continue to chip away at the core work.

Now we have proof they intend violate the agreement. So much for ethics and integrity.  District will deal with it accordingly.  But make no mistake, the stakes have been raised. 

Our Wire Techs are getting on board. They have figured out the company is deceiving them. They are also figuring out that if the company is successful in destroying the ST and the FT title they are the ones who will be bumped.

Bargaining is a few months out.  The company is preparing, and so are we.  There will be more than one area to fight over.  But we draw a line in the sand when it comes to the Wire Tech. The scope of work does not expand.

Update: District 3 is filing an Executive Level grievance.  We expect it will need to be arbitrated. 

"We told you" might be appropriate at this time!

 


 

SAR

 

The Selection Activity Report was posted on the 15th on the CRC.  If you were not selected for a job you requested check the report to be sure you were not inadvertently passed over.  The time to file a grievance is sliiping away.

 


 

Union Representation

Far too often when a member is terminated we find the company had them in a disciplinary process for months. The member never contacted us and never filed a grievance.  By then it is often a lost case.  When we ask why the answer usually is about friendship and trust with the supervisor. 

It is okay to have a good relationship with your supervisor. But you cannot depend on them or expect them to take care of you.  Even if you have judged your supervisor to be a good person, your supervisor has a supervisor who also has a supervisor, etc.  Discipline is often ordered from up the line, far removed from the first or second level of supervision.

We are seeing the biggest problems wtih our newest members.  They haven't been on the job long enough to have learned this. So help us please.  Many of us have friends and family who are working in these jobs. Warn them.

If the company wants to meet with you and there is even the slightest possibility discipline might be in the works, even in the future, get Union representation.  The company has a right to call the Steward in your work group.  If there is no Steward in the group you or them should call the Local.  And file grievances.

 


 

More With Less

 

A recent online survey credited AT&T with the second worst customer service.  Disatisfaction with service is often with the overseas contractors.  Seen often on the blogs is "get someone who speaks English".  When the complaints are with us, it is because we are forced to hurry to make unrealistic numbers to impress Wall Street.

AT&T continues to cut the workforce trying to squeeze out more profit.  Afterall, how can any company survive on $20 billion a year after taxes?   Yet while cutting the workforce may temporarily help profits, it affects service. Someday business schools will use them as examples of "how not to do it." 

The mid level managers and down seem to get it.  They are close enough to the customer to see the problem.  But they dare not speak up.  And there is the dilemma.  How do you correct the problems when the leadership is not listening?

 

Why CEO's Don't Get Fired

 

When a change at the top is needed, how does that happen?   It can only happen if the Board of Directors demands it. In todays world, the Boards are hand picked by the CEO.  He or she takes care of them, and visa-versa.  The regulations that once limited these close relationships were removed years ago.

A generation ago corporations demanded deregulation. They promised all would be great if we just let them do it their way.  People fell for it.  Now they are doing it their way, and we are paying the price. The answer is at the ballot box, sort of.

The problem is we haven't had much in the way of candidates.  The candidates in our area are taking big corpoarte donations and all they want to hear is the corporate side. When both candidates want to kill you, who do you vote for?

Clearly, we have to demand better candidates. And we need your help.  If you have a favorite candidate, ask them if they are willing to make Boards accountable.  Let us know how they answer.

 

 


 

 

The Selection Activity Report is available on the CRC.

The clock is ticking on your time to file a grievance.

 

 


Retiree Notice

It is crucial for you to make/keep your appointment with AON-Hewitt.

 

 


 

Bargaining Suggestions

We are making a list of bargaining suggestions.  Some of them are posted under the Bargaining tab to the left.  If you have a suggestion please send it to the Local President or the Secretary in an email.

 


 

Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is more than just a statement to a Birtish king that we are no longer his subjects. The Declaration helped set the moral compass for our nation. Through all our trials and tribulations we usually end up quoting the second sentence:

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." 

Many have died to defend this principle, both at home and abroad. Battles have been fought in the courts and in the streets. More are likely to be fought.  Even today we have a state government working feverishly to take away our rights to have a Union.

We celebrate our independence and treasure our freedom. Let's enjoy some barbeque and fireworks, whatever.  But do not take it for granted. Our battle is never won.

Please remember our co-workers who are working today. We celebrate with you and appreciate your sacrifice.

 


 

SIPP Takers

It appears that some of our SIPP requestors will indeed be retiring.  On behalf of those whose jobs you are saving we thank you.  SIPP is a win - win negotiated for us by our Union. 

Hopefully, if you made the decision to take SIPP and retire you were so advised by your financial person. If not, you need to consult one immediately.  Be careful.  There are a lot of them out there.  Not all are created equal.

We cannot and do not recommend financial planners. We can offer a few names to talk to, but we do not recommend any. It is up to you to interview them and make your own decision.

When you interview them any question is fair. If you think of it, ask it.  If it offends them they probably aren't worthy of your business. 

If you have any questions or need assistance please contact the Local President by email.  His email address can be found in the Contact tab above.

 


 

 

SIPP Window Closed

The third quarter SIPP window is now closed.  We should get a list of the ready takers in a few days.  We only get numbers, not names. This is important mostly to those affected by a surplus and those hoping for a litlle help in order to retire.

The holiday week may slow everything down. While the Local will be up and running, many of the managers who process the surplus will likely be off.  Thanks to us they get vacation, too.

 


Egotistical Managers

They are the worst kind.  Their lives are so inwardly focused they think every thing is about them. We see it mostly in men, but women are afflicted , too.

We have no idea why the company tolerates them.  The little bit of good they do is quickly offset by the ill will they create. We've had several incidents recently.  Temper tantrums or hissy fits have no place in the work place.  We mess up we get nailed. So should the managers.  

Our supervisors have an obligation to treat us with respect. Most do, but there some, and usually the ego is the difference.  Do not sit by and continue to let it happen.  Contact your Steward and file a grievance.   We spend too much of our lives at work to be made miserable by a jerk supervisor.

 


 

Bad Evaluations

 

Evaluations have always been part of our work place.  We do our work and we do not mind a fair evaluation. Unfortunately, some departments do not seem to understand the fair part.  At least one department has recently pulled a plan out of air and thrown it at us. It makes no sense.

Evaluations and numbers need to make sense and be applicable to the jobs we do.  Just making things up is not good for us or the company.  We can and will challenge each case where a bad evaluation is given.  It is unreasonable to think that employees who have performed at a high level for years have suddenly  gone awry.

We are the best, most highly trained employees in the business. We welcome fair and honest evaluations. Unfortunately, that is not what we are getting.  Anyone receiving a bad evaluation should fill out a Statement of Occurrence and contact your Steward.  Do not wait around.  We need time to pull records and work through the issues. 

 


 

 

Organizing

Our organizing drives have netted 26 new members in just one week.  Good work everybody.  Remember, sign up the non member in your group and pick up the $25 attest money.  We get stronger and better with every new or reinstated member.  

 

 


 

Retirement - Only if You Are Ready

 

Retirement sounds like a great idea to some. Sleep late every morning, stop hassling with the traffic, the phony numbers, the stress ,etc.  It does sound good.  But then add in 'sitting around the house' with little to do and no money. UGH!

We hear from our retirees and many tell us they left too early. Some had no choice. Their jobs went away. Others let a financial advisor talk them into leaving, and some just didn't think it through.

The bills still have to be paid even when we retire.  And if you can afford to retire the stress level at work should go way down. So be sure you are ready.  There is probably no chance to come back.

 

 


 

Weingarten Rights

 

AT&T personnel continue to try to bluff Union Reps and members regarding Weingarten rights.  In a recent investigation the investigator tried to tell the Union rep he could "only observe".  The Rep properly informed the investigator that she was wrong and that he was present to counsel and represent.

Her actions are unethical and will be reported to the ethics line. Nothing will be done of course. The ethics line is for the protection of the company, not its employees. Same is true for an EEO complaint. The company EEO folks serve AT&T, not employees.

If you need to make an EEO complaint go to the government. As long as you follow their instructions you are protected from lawsuits and retaliation. AT&T cannot make you that guarantee.

 


 

 

Selection Activity Report

 

The SAR is now posted on the company site.  If you have a request on file that was not honored please check to see if a mistake was made.  The clock is ticking on your right to file a grievance.

 

AON for Retirees

 

If you are a retiree please do not ignore mail from AON. It is the company AT&T has engaged to handle your health insurance. Read and respond accordingly to avoid losing your health care supplement for Medicare retirees.

If you know a retiree please remind them to read the mail.  Many of them retired from the old Bellsouth and cannot imagine cruelty of the new AT&T.

 


 

Surplus

Unfortunately we are again affected by a surplus.  It will take several weeks for the company to get the process started.  When they do we will be involved to make sure the surplus is processed according to the contract.

If you are looking for a SIPP offer now is the time to request it. Remember, a SIPP request is irrevocable after the last day of June.  You will not be allowed to change your mind after that.

If you have any questions please contact the Local. The surplus can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

 

 

3rd Quarter Surplus 

 


 

Non Members

We are making progress signing up our non members. Please remember that the Local will pay $25 for each new or reinstated member we sign up. Most are new hires that we have missed in the orientation process.

Soon our organizing teams will be out and about talking with them. Be sure and help them when you can. We will also be posting the names of the potential members on our bulletin boards so you will know who to reach out to. 

 

 

 

The Beginning

CWA was founded in New Orleans in 1938.  We have managed, through ups and downs, to keep our Union alive and healthy. It is a struggle that continues today.

It takes hard work, understanding, and dedication of our members.  If your work place is not a happy place, take a minute to think about what it might be without our Union.  Then fight on.


 

Stewards and Grievances

Some departments have fewer grievances than others.  That usually says something about the quality of the management team.  The better the team, the fewer issues we have.  Network will generally have more grievances due to the nature and amount of work.

We use the Stewards within a department to handle the grievances. They are familiar with the work, their co-workers, and the managers.  There are exceptions, but they are few.  We find we get better results with familiar Stewards.

The goal will always be to provide the best possible representation for our members.  The more training and experience we can provide for our Stewards the better our members will be served. 

We are train Stewards based on need.  When we lose a Steward to transfer, management, etc, we train a replacement.  We are continually looking for additional educational opportunities for our current Stewards.  If your work group needs a Steward let us know. 

We appreciate our Stewards. They are the backbone of the Union.  We hope you appreciate them, too. 

 


 

 

Announcements and Nerves

Unfortunately every announcement these days strains the nerves. We have become weary of office closings and surpluses.  It is time for the company to settle in for a while and just handle the business.  We do not need the unecessary stress.

An announcement last week in the City Center created stress in an office that didn't need it.  At the end of the day we probably got good news about the status of the office.  But our members went through a little bit of mental hell to get it.

So managers, think about what you are doing, and how you do it.   Are you eliminating, or causing, stress in your work place?  Perhaps you should look first in the mirror.  You understand you have us on edge, right?

Want a better center?  Sure, let's be the best.  Lead the way and we will follow.  Just do it right and earn our trust.  You may be surprised to find out what we can do when we are relaxed and enjoying our work.

 

 


 

Endorsements

Today is election day.  Our endorsed candidates are now listed under the "Endorsed Candidates" tab to the left.  The candidates were reviewed by the Legislative Committee, voted on by the Executive  Board and approved by the membership.  Not every office has an endorsed candidate. 

If your choice for an office differs from ours we respect your choice. Our decisions to endorse are based on what is best for the Union and our members. We have no other issues or agenda.

 


 

Retiree Health Care

AT&T is tossing many of its retirees to the street beginning next year. Thanks to rulings by our "conservative" courts, corporations are now free to disregard the promises they made to retirees in bargaining. Where is the outrage? Why aren't the streets filled with angry citizens?

In another time the major news outlets would have run lead stories on the issue in every cycle.  Now the CEO's at FOX, NBC, CBS, etc. all side with the rest of corporate America.  Consumed by the same greed, they are quiet as a mouse. They've made promises, too.

We are looking for our national leaders to take the lead, but we are ready to follow.  If it is the streets, we have our walking shoes ready.

 

 


 

Union Meeting

Yesterday's meeting was a lot of fun.  Thanks to Joe Allen for cooking the wings.  They were excellent.  The next Meeting is  June 24th. Set or mark your calendars now.

 

AT&T Wire Techs Eligible for Unemployment Compensation?

Wire Techs sent home before getting 40 hours are in effect laid off and may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation.               (Yes, they actually do that to our Wire Techs).

Wire Techs, if you are sent home due to lack of work contact the Alabama Department of Labor labor.alabama.gov/uc/ to verify eligibility and to file a claim. 

 


 

 

State Meeting

The report from the State Meeting is hopeful.  From an educational perspective it was the best we've had in a long time.  A representative from the Department of Labor attended and made a great presentation.  We learned from it.

Vice President Judy Dennis attended.  We spoke with her individually about specific issues that need immediate attention.  We like what we heard, but, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.  We shall see.

Vice President Dennis is making an effort to light a fire in the grievance process. It has been bogged down for too long in Atlanta.  We appreciate her efforts. 

We will continue to throw fuel on the fire. It is important that we take advantage of this bit of progress.  We will be sending emails to targeted groups to share information we learned at the meeting.

If you do not have an email on file at the Local please contact us. It is our best way to share information you need to know.

 


 

Scheduling Concepts

Corporate America is taking us down a road they are going to regret regarding weekend work.  Ultimately, they are working us seven days to earn what they once earned in five. We may have to consider new scheduling concepts to deal with the issue.

One concept that has been suggested (by one of our members) is to have shifts that work weekends only. In exchange for 32 hours worked on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we would be paid 40 and have the other 4 days as off days. Any such scheduling would need to be voluntary and/or limited to a percentage of the work group.

That is one suggestion only. We are interested in others we might want to consider. Please give it some thought. Is this something you would want to consider? Let us know what your thoughts and ideas are.

 


 

Union Organizing

Do you have the skills? Outgoing? Love to talk with people? Patient but relentless? Know and appreciate what belonging to a Union means?

We are looking for volunteers to help us organize. There will be some Union time. Some after hours committment will be needed.  If you are interested contact the local president by email.  Members only, of course.

 

 


 

Fighting Back - A Report From the Political-Legislative Conference

 

"What is bad is not what they are doing. What would be bad is for us not to fight back," said Reverend William Barber,  president of the NAACP in North Carolina.

One year ago, Barber led a small group of clergy and activists into North Carolina's state legislative building to protest GOP lawmakers' attacks on voting rights, blocking Medicaid expansion, cutting unemployment benefits and shrinking higher-education spending. The police led him away in handcuffs.

But then something incredible happened: The next Monday, more than 100 people showed up at the capitol for a non-violent demonstration. The following Monday, even more rallied to the cause. Soon thousands of people were attending "Moral Monday" protests in Raleigh, but also in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Barber's recent Moral March on Raleigh in February attracted a crowd of at least 80,000 people. (From the CWA National website).

Now that is fighting back. Reverend Barber reminds us hope is not lost. It does not always seem so.  With the Alabama State legislature and our own governor attacking us, it seems hopeless. When our elected representatives in Washington refuse to see us, it seems hopeless.  When we learn that Jefferson County systematically breaks the law to avoid hiring full time employees, it seems hopeless.  But  there is always hope if we fight back.

 

Getting Personal

The attacks are getting personal. They are hurting our children and our young people.  Greedy corporations are cutting wages and doing away with pensions. Our young people do not make enough money to save for retirement. What are they going to do in a few years when they are too old to work?  Many in government would even privatize Social Security, which means give it to Wall Street to steal.

It is time to stop the assault on Main Street. The best way to do that is at the ballot box.  Do your homework.  Vote for the candidate who promises to support working people and Unions, regardless of their party affiliation.

Make your own decision using facts. Call the candidate and ask them questions, including, "Do you support a worker's right to organize and belong to a Union?" and, "How do you personally feel about Unions?",  "Would you vote to privatize Social Security?" Some of the answers may surprise you.

 

 


 

They are Tracking You

 

Did you know Google and most other search engines track and store your internet searches? They know what you search, where you shop, where you bank.  They know everything you do on the internet and they store and use your information.

Fortunately there is at least one search engine that does not store your data.  DuckDuckGo seems to work fine.  We learned of DDG on National Public Radio (NPR). There may be others that work just as well.

If you prefer not to be tracked and recorded we suggest you do the research and find a search engine that is right for you. If you find a better search engine please share it with us.  Our privacy is important.

 


 

Unemployment Compensation Fraud? 

 

Unemployment Compensation benefits may be denied if an employee is fired for a legitimate misconduct issue.  But if 99 percent of all employees hired are fired for misconduct was there truly misconduct? Furthermore, if a company or even a department within a company conspires to avoid UC assessments in such a manner, is it illegal?

If you have information that such a policy exists anywhere, please let us know.  If such a policy did exist it would probably be rogue and outside any official company policy.  The most likely place to find it would be in a company where there is regular churn of employees.

An anonymous letter to our Local President is a good way to communicate.  Management or non unionized employees can also help. We do not need to know who you are.  Just drop us a note and tell us the name of the company and/or department. It could be you someday. 

 

About Labor Charges

 

Labor Charges are filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) when there is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.  There are a number of potential violations.  Some of the more common charges are "failure to meet" and "refusing to provide information."

Labor Charges are a two way street. They can also be filed against the Union. Generally, the remedy is to require the guilty party to abide by the law. 

We go to the NLRB when the company refuses to abide by the Act.   As part of the process we are required to inform them that we intend to file a charge.  Notification is the first step.  It means we have begun the process.

The NLRB will not get involved in settling grievances.  But they will make sure the rights promised to us in the Law are protected.  We can get the information we need and the company will meet with us.  The exceptions are extremely rare. 

The NLRB is an agency of the federal government.  Without it our very existence would be threatened.  Please think carefully when buying into the spending cuts often proposed by Congress. Make sure they are not cutiing our throats.

 

 


 

ABS TO FINANCE

 

The company recently announced the ABS group on the 15th floor of the City Center will move to the Finance Organizational Unit on May 1, 2014.  An Org Unit change is a leadership change at the highest levels.  Article 1.17 explains how a change in the Org Unit is treated.

Per our By-Laws Finance falls under the department led by Vice President Ronald Reese.  Ronald will be visiting the floor next week to address any concerns our members may have.  Stewards in the unit should begin routing all issues to Ronald beginning May 1.

Any rumors of doom and gloom you may hear are just rumors. We do not know what the future holds for any of our departments.  We do know the work ethic in Birmingham is supreme.  We hope AT&T has the good judgement to see that.

 


 

Retiree Insurance

We continue to get questions regarding the coming changes to retiree insurance.  To date we have received nothing from the company that hasn't been shared with the retirees. As we learn more we will post the information in the retirees section. 

 

Changes at District 3

Recently certain staff members retired and others were reassigned at District 3.  The changes were due to normal attrition and an effort by the Vice President to make her staff more efficient.

We have a new State Director to handle third level grievances.  We have met with him and he says all the right things. We appreciate that, but we also know talk is cheap.  We live and work in a results oriented world and we expect no less from District 3.

He has promised to work through the grievance backlog as quickly as possible.  We are prepared and ready to assist him in any way we can.

 

Selection Activity Report

The SAR is now available on the CRC.  If you applied for a job and were not selected the clock is now ticking on your right to file a grievance.

The Job Ad report is also posted and there are several jobs available. Act now if you are interested.

 


 

Scholarships

 

The cost to attend college strains every working persons' budget. Scholarships are available.  Click on the tab to the left and check them out.

AOLAF scholarships have been increased this year.  They are awarded in an essay contest. It is done fairly and honestly.  CWA children have won several.

We encourage you to check them out.  If your child is ready for college they have a chance to win.

 

(For members and  families only)

 


 
What Do We Change?

In the BST contract, what would you change?  Each contract year (less than 8 months till pre-bargaining) we ask for suggestions.  We get hundreds of requests for better benefits and more pay.  Somehow we just don't get to the other issues we have with the contract.

Soon we will be coming to your location to gather your thoughts and suggestions.  Please be thinking about it.  Maybe you wanted to file a grievance but there was no language to support it. Have you ever said "they can't do that" only to find out they can?  It's all about the contract language.  Please help us improve it.

 


 

 

AT&T Shareholder Voting Recommendations

These recommendations are from our national office. 

1. Date: April 25, 2014
2. Location
a. Rivermill Event Centre
b. River View Room
c. 3715 1st Avenue
d. Columbus, Georgia 31904
 

3. Proposals

a. Directors (#1 on proxy) – Management proposal
i. This is a vote for individual directors
ii. EVALUATION
1. VOTE CONSCIENCE

b. Auditor (#2 on proxy) – Management proposal
i. This is a vote to approve Ernst & Young as auditor
ii. EVALUATION
1. Ernst & Young has been the auditor for AT&T and previously SBC since at
least 1995. The wisdom in corporate governance circles is that such lengthy relationships become incestuous. 

2. VOTE AGAINST

c. Advisory Approval of Executive Compensation (#3 on proxy) – Management proposal
i. Asks that shareholders approve the pay and the method of paying total 5 executives in
company
ii. EVALUATION
1. AT&T is typically considered to be overpaying its executives
2. VOTE AGAINST

 


 

New Members

We have gained many new members over the last couple of years.  Most understand little about what we do and what rights they have.  Even how and when to file a grievance is a learned experience.

If you have new members working near you take care of them.  If they need help please offer it.  Send them a Steward or have them call the Local.  Remember what it was like when we were new and were still learning our way. 

Also remember to sign up the non members.  The Local will pay you $25 for each new or reinstated member.  Be sure to write your name on the Attest line on the membership card and make sure we can read it.

 

 


 

 

Weingarten Rights

There is a very good description of our Weingarten rights on Wikipedia.  Take a minute and read it.

The main thing to remember is that you have to invoke your rights. To do so, ask the company person trying to talk with you, " Can this discussion lead to discipline, now or in the future?". If they answer yes then you are entitled to have a Union Rep present. You should refuse to meet with them until you get a Rep.

If they say no and then threaten discipline in the meeting, you should step out of the meeting and get a Rep. Only the very worst managers will try to deny you representation, but it happens. Be polite, but be firm.

 

 

Share This Please

Please tell your co-workers to read the information posted here on Short Term Disability.  Everyone needs to understand how STD works. Help us spread the word.  Thank you.

 

Short Term Disability

 

The Short Term Disability Benefit Program was negotiated between the Union and the company.  All of our contracts have one.  The details are found in the Summary Plan Descriptions online.

When we are absent from work for an illness the pay we receive comes from our department.  On the 8th calendar day deparmental pay ends and we go into Short Term Disability pay.

Once STD begins our doctors must provide documented medical evidence that we are unable to perform our work.  This must be actual provable evidence.  Our doctors opinions will not suffice.

It is a complicated process.  Currently a company called Sedgwick handles the claims.  We've had good and bad experiences with them.

For our members only:  If you are anticipating a STD case please give us a call.  Ask for the person who handles Short Term Disability Benefits.  We will discuss the process and your options to help you avoid any problems. It is much easier to avoid issues than to correct them.

If you take the proper steps you should avoid missing a payday.  But remember, your doctor has to help with the paperwork.  Some of us have changed doctors because they were unwilling to help.

And finally, if you return to work from STD and have to be out again within 14 days it is considered a relapse. Even is the subsequent absence has no relation to the original case, it is a relapse. That means in order for you to be paid for the subsequent absence you have to provide medical evidence.  It is wrong, but it is the process.

 

 


 

 

About Wire Techs

The company is sending emails asking for referrals for the Wire Tech job.  Before you recommend the job to a friend or loved one there are a few things you should know.

First, it is tough, physical work that requires technical and physical skills, including pole climbing. As such, it is grossly underpaid, in our opinion.

Two, they are not covered by the entire contract, including the overtime provisions. One was recently terminated because he was too tired to pull another job on a Saturday night. We are challenging the action, but that is the mindset of their management team.

Three, they continue to hire more Wire Techs. Yet they are sending large numbers home without pay for two or three days a week for lack of work.  The Wire Tech, to the management team is just another tool to use as they see fit. 

The bottom line is this.  If you have no job and no prospects, maybe the Wire Tech job is better than nothing. But you should know many of them are beginning to look for other jobs.

We have a lot of work to do with their contract. We need to keep in mind the company wants to do the same stuff with all of us. The fight never ends.

 

 


 

 

Wrapping Up

 

We had a very good meeting last night.  Please plan to attend next month's meeting.

We have a strong core of dedicated members who we can always count on to be there. Everybody who can needs to join the group.

Bargaining is only a year away.  As we have said before, we are not waiting until next year to get ready.  At next month's meeting we will have some thoughts and suggestions ready.  We hope to see you there. 

 


 

 

  The Mobility contract has been ratified.

 

SAR Posted

The Selection Activity Report is now posted on the CRC.  If you applied for a job but were not selected please check the report. If someone junior to you was selected it could be a mistake.

If you think there may have been a mistake fill out a Statement of Occurrence form and fax it to the Local.  We will investigate and get back to you.

Mistakes happen all the time. Do not assume.  Unless you are sure, let's check it out.

 


 

 

Surplus Announcement

 

The surplus announcement for the 2nd Quarter has been released.  There are 4 ET's in Alabama that have been declared surplus, but none in Birmingham. Click Here for the full surplus.

 

 


 

Do You Know?

 

For each new or reinstated member you sign up we will send you $25.  Simply sign or print your name on the "attest" line on the blue membership form. The only exception is that those who are organizing on Union paid time are not eligible.

We will soon be posting the names of potential members on our bulletin boards. So look them up, and sign them up.

 

 


 

More on Bargaining

At the District meeting that concluded yesterday we learned that like us, most of our are leaders are also beginning to focus on a ' bargaining strategy for next year. 

It would be easy to surmise that the company has achieved some of its major goals and thus bargaining might be easier. Nothing could be further from the truth. AT&T is a greedy machine that can not be satisfied, only dealt with.

We are determined to get a fair contract this time around. It will only happen if we put away our petty differences and work together.  It starts with numbers. We need to improve ours.

Recently we were contacted by a former member who got out.  He still wants our help, but  he says he is mad about the last contract.  Childish.  He should protest by quitting AT&T.  Or he should grow up and get back in the fight.

He is where we need to start.  If you work beside him, or someone like him,  tell him how foolish his position is.  If he wants a better contract he needs to join us and help us get it.  If not, well, I think you know how we feel.

 

  


 

Just Say No

AT&T is trying to take away our land lines so they can stop maintaining them. They are trying to get permission to do trials; including one in our area. The ultimate goal is to get rid of employees.

We have no illusions when it comes to technology.  When the lines are no longer needed or useful they will be gone.  But we believe AT&T is trying to make this happen before it is time.  Please check back for information on who to contact.

  

 


 

 

New Employee Pricing

 

The new empoyee discounts for Mobility products are long overdue.  We welcome them.

There is no longer any reason to have second rate service from a non union provider.  Take advantage of the new pricing and switch today.  You will be surprised at the quality of service.

 


 

The Minimum Wage

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index,  the minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be $10.56 today when adjusted for inflation.  Instead, it is $7.25 an  hour.

 

  


 

Mobility Statements

Please be sure to get a statement to your Steward right away. Any manager in Mobility who lied to our people must be held accountable.  Once we have a few statements in hand we will move to make this issue known nationwide.

The issue we are referring to is that management apparently told our members who called in to "come on in" Wednesday when the roads were impassable.   At the same time they told our members trapped in the building the office was closed and they could not work.

 


 

City Center Statements

If you work in the City Center and were told you had to leave the building Tuesday we need you to give us a statement.  We are told that at least one center manager told her people to leave. 

Please just write what she/he told you on a piece of paper, sign it,  and fax it to the Local. 205-942-3431.

  


 

Statement of Occurrence

 

If you do not know a Steward please go to the forms tab, print a statement of occurrence, fill it out and fax it to 205-942-3431. We will be working through the issues as quickly as possible.

 


 

More On time Coding

 

How our time should be coded depends on our individual situation.  We will have Stewards out Friday and Monday to help resolve the issues.

If the company will not code your time like you want them to,  tell them to code it how they wish and let them know you are contacting the Union. (Respectfully).  Then contact your Steward.

We will be reaching out to our Stewards today to make sure we are all aware of our rights.

 


 

Coding Questions, Etc.

We are getting calls and questions regarding time coding, etc.  We will work these issues out in the next few days.  If you are coded H please let your Steward know so a grievance can be filed.

The company has no idea what is going on.  We have to be safe and make the decisions that keep us safe. We will deal with the coding and other issues when we return to work.

 


 

The roads are no better this morning than they were last night. Please do not try driving unless and until they thaw and clear.  Safety first, always!

Watch and listen to news reports for information on when it will be safe to travel.

 

Chaos

AT&T is not responsible for the weather. But they should own up to some of the most bone headed management decisions one can imagine.  Bellsouth at least tried to keep their employees out of harms way.

From the lack of de-icer for the parking facilities to decisions to leave technicians out until it was too late to get many of them back in, this has not been AT&T's finest moment. Greed overcomes them, even in a moment of crisis.

This weather event will cost them far more than it should have. Had they just tried to treat us like they would want to be treated we would all be home safe and warm.

Everyone please be safe. We will deal with the issues when we all thaw out.

 

 

 


 

Personnel Records

We have a right to inspect our personnel record once a year.  The company must provide the record and offer you a chance to initial and date the record to acknowledge that you did inspect it. (Article 18.01) Viewing the record on a supervisors lap top is not sufficient.  Also, we have concerns about what might happen if the supervisor loses the lap top.  As always, contact us if you have an issue.

 


 

Reading the Contract

Reading the contract can sometimes be a little confusing.  Scheduling is a good example.  To understand scheduling we must look to at least three articles, including 3, 13, and 1.  A good reading starts with the definitions.

No interpretation can be trusted that hasn't considered the definitions in Article 1.  For example, a Work Group must have 3 components or it is not a Work Group by definition.  The definition can be found in Article 1.36 on page 9.  All 3 conditions must be present for there to be a Work Group.

We often think to ourselves, "they aren't doing this right."  When you aren't sure, read the contract.  Run it by your Steward if you aren't clear or if the company doesn't agree with you.  The contract is our guide and protects our jobs.  Help us enforce it by reading it.

 


 

Martin Luther King Day

 

Dr. King's work and struggles for civil rights are known to all.  As a Labor Union, let us also remember he was in Memphis supporting Sanitation Workers when he was taken from us.  Workers rights are civil rights, too.

 


 

Beware of T-Mobile

 

Want to keep your job?  T-Mobile will take your picture, or a picture of your company vehicle parked in front of their store and tweet it all over the country.  Can you stand the unwanted publicity?

There are no rules to keep us from using T-Mobile.  Good common sense should be enough. AT&T is the only Unionized mobile service provider in the country.  And the best.

In the next few days we will tweet the details. You will be shocked. For now, we strongly advise you not to park a company vehicle in front of their stores, and do not go into their stores wearing your work uniform.

Be smart: Buy the best, buy Union!

 

Follow us on twitter @cwalocal3902, for more details.

 

 


 

 

Which Steward?

 

Sometimes we are called into a meeting and find a Steward already there.  Some supervisors call a Steward first so they do not have to wait.  Is this right?  No,  although there are rare times when it might be acceptable.

In the core contract we can be required to use an available Steward in our work group.  If there are multiple Stewards available in our work group, we get to choose.  But the choice to have a Steward, or not,  is ours.

If there is no Steward available in our work group the issue becomes less clear.  The Union position is that the company cannot choose our Steward outside the work group. 

The correct procedure is for the company to allow us to find a Steward if we want one, (and we do).   The exception may be that a scab probably doesn't want a Steward. The company can help us find a Steward but cannot take over the procedure.

Once the meeting is over we can select any Steward in our department to handle our grievance.  We do not have to use the Steward that was present for the meeting, even if the Steward is in our work group. 

If you have any questions please contact the Local President. 

 

What To Do?

 

All of us are subject to be called into a meeting these days. Numbers, attendance, accidents, most anything can result in a meeting that could lead to trouble for us.  If you are called to a meeting:

First, don't worry about offending the manager who approaches you. Your job could be on the line.  Ask this question. Is there a possibility of discipline, now or in the future, resulting from this meeting?  If the answer is yes, maybe,  I do not know, etc., you are entitled to have a Steward present.  You should refuse to join the meeting without one.

If the answer is no, then you join the meeting. However, if you get in the meeting and the issue of discipline is raised in any way, you should step out and politely demand a Steward. (If the meeting is an investigatory meeting you are entitled to representation).

Once a Steward arrives, the company must tell the Steward what the meeting is about.  They must also allow you and the Steward time to discuss the issue privately before the meeting begins.

 


 

 Stewards

 

We continue to work with our Stewards to help them be the best.  We have a dedicated group of Stewards we can all be proud of.

We appreciate the time they are willing to take away from the job for training and strategy sessions.  Please let them know you also appreciate them. Being a Steward is not easy.  It takes a leader to be a good one. 

 


 

The Boeing Scam

For weeks there has been talk that Boeing was going to move its plant from Seattle to another location such as Huntsville, Alabama. It was always a scam.  Boeing was simply using other locations as leverage to drive down wages in Seattle.

It is a tactic that should be illegal in bargaining.  Labor Laws should be enacted and enforced to prevent it.  There is no chance for that with the corporate goons we elect.

Our elected leaders were only too happy to help Boeing. Governor Bently is already doing everything he can to help fight the Union at Mercedes.  He is their boy. 

Perhaps we will get enough at some point and elect leaders who are "of the people, by the people, and for the people".  Until then they will continue to play games with us, and laugh all the way to the bank.

 

 


 

Ignoring Safety for Profit

 

The company insists on sending our members into dangerous situations without regard to their safety.  Last week one of our own was attacked.  Fortunately he was able to defend himself, but that is not always the case.

The company ignores our pleas to pair tecnicians in dangerous neighborhoods and after dark.  Apparently they are no longer providing spot lights needed for working after dark.  The budget and the "numbers" are more important than the lives of our technicians.  We cannot sit idly by.

We are reminding our technicians of the dangers and that they do not have to go where it is unsafe.  Most of the technicians know those places.  If it isn't safe, do not go. Call for back up and call us.

Most area managers alter work schedules as the time changes to avoid having techs work after dark.  Working after dark is less safe and takes longer.  One local manager refused, using the unsafe conditions as leverage to try to force the techs to work more unsafe overtime. 

Upper management is responsible for the actions of their managers. They too will be held accountable when someone gets hurt.  But for now it is on us. The company does not care about our safety.

 

 


 

 

Pearl Harbor Day

On this day in 1941  American air and naval bases at Pearl Harbor were attacked by the Japanese Navy.  "Remember Pearl Harbor" became a World War II rallying cry.  Eventually,  December 7 became Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. But time marches on.

Fewer and fewer Americans remember or are even aware of Pearl Harbor Day.  Truthfully, there have been too many other days since, most notably,  September 11, 2001. 

Maybe it is okay to forget Pearl Harbor. Japan is one of our strongest allies and has been for decades.  But we should never forget the sacrifices the men, women, and families of our military make on our behalf, every day. 

Many of them will be in harms way during the holiday season. Their families and friends will spend the hoildays praying for their safe return.  We honor them and thank them for their sacrifices.

 

 


 

AT&T, Not the Affordable Care Act

 

AT&T is once again making changes to retiree health care effective in 2015.  They are able to do this because of court rulings in 2006.  Prior to the rulings they could not change your healthcare once you retired.  The changes are for Medicare eligible retirees only, for now.

The changes are completely at the whim of AT&T.  Nothing in the new healthcare law mandates or facilitates the changes.  AT&T would like for the retirees to blame Obama care, but it just isn't true.  AT&T is just greedy. 

Congress should stop hiding behind the court rulings and act immediately to protect our retirees.  There are many ways they could do this, but too many in Congress are beholden to AT&T and other corporations who pass out big campaign money.  

There is currently no pending legislation on the matter.  We hope there will be soon. We will let you know.

 


 

We've Already Talked To The Union

 

Ever heard the company say this?  We're changing (whatever) and we have already talked to the Union.  Of course you are supposed to accept the change and be quiet.

In some rare cases someone might have talked to someone, somewhere in the Union.  But it is unlikely there is any kind of agreement.  We tell them we will file grievances if they violate the contract.  They are just trying to keep us from filing. 

Not long ago the Local Presidents were advised by the company of changes in certain vacation processes. The Presidents were told the Union (District 3) was on board.  It wasn't true and the changes did not happen.  But it goes to show they will try anything. 

If they will try it on the Local Presidents they will try it on your work group.  Do not take their word.  If they say the Union is "on board" be sure to check it out.  It is a pretty good sign they may be violating the contract.

 

 


 

Stewards

The year is winding down and many of us will be using what remaining vacation time we have left.  Therefore, we will be cutting back on training for the remainder of the year.  

We are focusing current training on our existing Stewards.   We are bringing  them in in small groups for refresher and strategy sessions. We intend to have every Steward in.  It is vitally important that our Stewards are prepared when you need them.

Our Stewards are the backbone of the Union. Please support them and stand behind them.  We have made a lot of progress and the combined effort (You and them) has made it possible.

 


 

Thanksgiving Day

We are thankful for all our wonderful Union sisters and brothers.  Because you have what it takes to stand together, most of our members have the day off.  Those of us working today are getting some fairly nice holiday pay.

Enjoy this day in your own way. Forget about work and the less pleasant things for a day. If it is your turn to work try to look on the bright side. The holiday pay help with the holiday expenses. 

Depending on your job, most everybody gets a turn, including the Local President.  He will be working for the company on Thanksgiving day, but can still be reached by email if your have an issue.


Happy Thanksgiving from the Officers and the Executive Board 

 


 

Indoor Meeting

 

Due to the rain today's meeting will be held indoors. Well, okay, all of our meetings are held indoors.  So don't let the rain get you down. Come join us at 6:00 P.M.  A few  minutes away from the Thanksgiving preparations will do you good.

 


 

Holiday Stress

Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday (another holiday to some) officially kick off the holiday season this week. Others think it begins with the Iron Bowl Saturday. 

The holiday season is a time to enjoy  and appreciate life.  It is a time to wrap up the current year and get ready for a new year.  It is so many things we love, but it is also a time for added stress.  And stress is a killer.

Fatal heart attacks increase substantially during the holiday season. Stress is not the only factor but it often plays a key role. Researchers also believe people tend to put off going to the doctor because they are too busy. They over indulge, etc. (Web MD)

There is plenty of good information available on the web.  Use it for guidance but not to try to avoid seeing your doctor.  If you have a symptom get it properly diagnosed.  And avoid stress. 

Avoiding or at least managing stress can save your life.  Talk to your doctor about stress. For more information we suggest the following from the CDC. 

http://www.cdc.gov/features/handlingstress/

Have a happy holiday season.  Do not leave your health and safety to chance.

 

 


 

President Kennedy

Fifty years ago President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.  Everyone who was old enough to know can tell you exactly what they were doing when they heard the news. It was the same for the Pearl Harbor generation and it will be the same for the 9/11 generation. 

This writer can still hear the words of a young classmate who  blurted out, "I hope he dies", not knowing he was dead already. It was a troubled world and Alabama was right smack in the middle of it.  We have come a long way since 1963.

Ironically, in the aftermath of his death America made some of its greatest strides. Civil Rights legislation became law. Medicare followed soon after to take care of our elderly citizens. The courts protected  (until 2006) our retirement promises.

Slowly but surely we are making this a better place. There are ups and downs and bumps in the road.  But we are making progress.

John F Kennedy was a young President who had given us cause for hope.  Our hopes and dreams live on. 

 


 

 

Respect: A Two Way Street

Respect  must be earned and it is a two way street.  Earn our respect and we will work with you.  It is happening in some departments and the results prove it. 
 
In other departments there is no respect.  Instead there are threats and attempts at intimdation. They will not work.  We will not be bullied into submission.  It has been tried before.  That's why the Union was formed in the first place.
 
We will discuss this in detail at the meeting Tuesday night.
 

 


 

Grievances

 
Union / Company relationships have depended on respect for the procedures and precedents established through the years.  Bargaing notes and past arbitrations have usually given us the answers to conflicting interpretations.
 
Unfortunately, the Company seems no longer willing to respect those precedents. Instead of seeking solutions at the bargaining table they try to run over us at the grievance table.
 
We will lose some of these battles. They know it and that is why they do it.  But we will not give in.  We win some, too.  We are not nearly done.  And we intend to fight in ways they think we cannot.
 
That's all we'll say about it here. But we will talk more strategy at our monthly meetings.  Please try to attend.
 
 

 

SAR

The latest Selection Activity Report is now available on the CRC.
If you have a future request on file or if you bid a specific job please check the report.  If you find a discrepancy let us know.  The clock is ticking on your right to file a grievance.
 
 

 

The Union's Help

Whenever the Company says it needs our help we should take a long pause. We know this at the Local level. We think (hope?) District 3 is starting to figure it out. A company that profits to the tune of 20 billion dollars a year does not need our help. (As in give backs)
 
The company has access to resources we can only dream about. They do not need give backs. They do not need to violate or alter the Agreement. Our Stewards are trained to understand this. Our task is to enforce the terms of the Agreement, not to renegotiate it.
 
More and more the Company is trying to ignore or alter the Agreement in order to reduce head count.  It is not because they need to. It is like an addiction. The more they get the more they want.
 
We cannot forget that our rules are there to protect head count. And not just for the sake of saving jobs, but more importantly, to maintain a decent way of life for our members. Double time is a prime example.
 
Double time was created as a deterrent.  Its purpose is to encourage the Company to hire enough employees to keep them from killing us. The human body is frail and will only hold up to so much. We need rest, and we need time with our families.
 
Certain scheduling requirements have the same intent. They are designed to help us maintain a life style that prolongs our lives and allows us to raise families and such. This is the American Dream.
 
Proof of our right to the American Dream is found in the Declaration of Independence.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".
 
Our Working Agreement is about nothing less than the American Dream and our right to pursue it. Our Union is the vehicle that takes us there. The Company doesn't need our help. It needs to be helping those of us whose work and sacrifices make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.
 
 

 

District 3 

Recently the Company approached District 3 with proposals that made sense only for the Company.  District 3 rejected the proposals and went about business, as it should have.
 
We have criticized D3 when we felt it warranted. It is only fair that we commend them now for taking a stand. So D3, thanks, and keep it up. We've got your back on this one.
 
 

  

Vacation and Morale

 
Nothing can hurt, or improve, office morale quicker than the  vacation selection process.  All managers know this.  Those who are unreasonable do not care.
 
In most cases there is a fine line.  Too many off and the work doesn't get done.  Not enough off and morale suffers. We have worked with many managers this year to find the right numbers.  Most have tried to do the right thing.
 
We can almost tell where we are going to have problems with vacation before it happens.  We are usually having other problems already.  Poor management shows up in a number of ways. Vacation is just one way.
 
If your manager was reasonable with vacation, store it.  You probably have a pretty good management team. Somewhere down the line maybe you will get a chance to thank them. 
 
If your manager was unreasonable with vacation, store it.  Somewhere down the line maybe you will get a chance to thank them, too.
 
We have filed grievances where we know of problems. We will continue to try to work the issues out. We will also do everything possible to expose incompetent managers to their superiors. 
 
 

 

Veteran's Day

Today we join the rest of the country in saluting our veterans. Those who have served in any capacity have made a great personal sacrifice for all of us.
 
We want to especially thank our CWA members who serve in Reserve and National Guard Units. They give up at least one weekend a month to train.  When a crisis develops in some remote corner of the Earth they are often the first to go. And while AT&T talks the talk,  they do not always make it easy on them. 
 
Thanks to all Vets and Active members of our Armed Services.
 
We salute you. 
 
 

 

Lortab Addiction

Addiction to prescription pain killers is not new. Lortab addiction is not new , either, but it is on the rise.  A quick internet search will turn up a lot of information on the subject. 

Pain killers are necessary when we have issues. Surgery, especially, will create a need for them. But they are addictive and can quickly destroy lives. One doctor told us recently that Lortabs, used as prescribed, can become addictive in two weeks.

If you are planning a surgery please take the time to discuss the use of pain killers with your doctor beforehand. Ask about addiction and share your concerns about it. The road back from addiction is longer than the road that leads to it.

If you already struggle with an addiction help is available. Your doctor should be able to help. EAP is also a good place to start. If that doesn't work for you contact the Local and ask for the Local Benefit Coordinator.

Addiction can be overcome. You can have your life back, and it may be easier than you think.  Help is available.

 

 

 


 

Vacation Issues

Most departments have done due diligence and posted reasonable vacation choices for their work forces. Some, however, seem to have no idea.  The company does not contact us to tell us they are cheating you. You must let us know. You still have time.
 
We understand we cannot all take off at the same time.  Neither can management arbitrarily make up a number and say "that's it."
Decisions on vacation must be based on data.
 
The Working Agreement is clear. We can take our vacation anytime service requirements permit.  Service requirements are not arbitrary. Whenever the company invokes service requirements they must be able to prove them.
 
We can test the numbers.  It is time consuming and requires the pulling of reports and historical data.  If we see they are being unreasonable we will get the data.  The company is required to provide it.
 
All of us want to be off when we want to be off.  Good managers understand this and do their best to make it possible.
 
 
  

 
We had several questions about what prompted this posting. There was no particular incident but several situations where members have expressed a desire to sue the company.
 
Our advise is to be sure you know what you are doing.  You sue for justice, attorneys sue for a living.  Be sure the actions you take are in YOUR best interests.
 
 

Want to Sue?

Members often ask about suing the company.  We have no legal training and are not qualified to give legal advise. But if you decide to sue, we suggest you get the best, most qualified attorneys you can find.
 
If you sue the company you will face good attorneys with unlimited resources. If their attorneys are too busy to handle your case they will engage a firm to handle it for them. They will spare no expense.
 
We are not trying to discourage you.  If you have a case, make it. But do it right. A good attorney is more likely to lead you in the right direction.
 
Thanks to the 15 or 20 folks who helped by providing the correct spelling for attorneys.  Unfortunately the website has no spell check. We are looking to upgrade.
 
 

 

When Managers Don't Manage 

We need good management teams to make our work lives easier. A well run organization is much easier to work in. We support good management because it is good for us.

Our biggest problems (and the company's) come where the management teams are incompetent. When they cannot lead things do not go in the right direction. Everybody ends up being miserable.

A management team will usually take on the personality of its leader. When the leader is incompetent it is almost certain he or she will hire incompetent subordinates. The worst of them hire people who will always say yes. Instead of raising the bar they lower it.

Good managers raise the bar. They have the ability to identify good candidates.  They know their hires will make them look better only if they are competent.  In some places this is proving to be true. We are beginning to see improvement in morale and in outcomes in some turfs.  

We believe  managers should know if a supervisor is doing a second job on the side.  We believe managers should know if  supervisors rarely monitor the daily work load because they are attending to activities at a church or daycare. 

Manage the business or not, it is up to you. But when it blows up in your face do not try to blame us. You cannot make us your scapegoats. When you try we are going to expose you.

 

 


 

Working Today (Saturday)

Many of our members are working today.  We think nobody should have to ever work weekends.  It is the nature of the greedy corporate mentality.

Some of you have volunteered to work so a co-worker could have the day off.  We know of 3 such cases. It says a lot about our members.  

Those of you working today have the appreciation of those who are off.  And you have our committment that we will never stop fighting for our weekends.

 
 

 

 

Health Care Choices

The health care crisis has been created in part by Corporate America's decision to stop paying for it. The fight still rages, but suppose they win?

We have three choices we can make about health care, and one of those may be going away.

1. Employer Provided Plans (Going Away?)

2. Private Plans (Individually Purchased)

3. Single Payer ( Paid for through the tax system)

 

Each year AT&T drives a bigger share of the cost of medical insurance on to us, and to the retirees.  Other companies are doing the same.

Those of us who have enjoyed employer provided insurance want to keep it.  But at the current rate of decline will it be worth keeping?  If our employer provided plans go away, that leaves only two choices. The first is expensive private plans.

Obama Care is designed to deal with this instance.  It will hold costs down a little and it will help those who cannot afford insurance get limited care.  It is Mitt Romney's plan with a few minor changes.

Obama Care is better than nothing, but it will not replace our employer provided plans. The mistake some make is to think that by killing it we will save our plans. We will not.  AT&T could care less who pays as long as they do not have to.

Single Payer (Medicare for all) is the other choice. Everybody goes on Medicare at 65 or if they become disabled. It has been good for our senior citizens. It would be good for everybody. We (everybody) pay for it through the tax system. The taxes for Medicare will be much less than the cost of a private medical plan.

It may be easier to pass a Medicare for all law than to rebuild our employer provided plans. Insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors have gotten way too greedy.  Corporate America is no longer going to let them run the system.

The AT&T's of the world are tired of handing their profits to insurance company executives and doctors.  This is how they see it and they mean to stop it.  Who is to blame them? They are all greedy and we are being squeezed by both. 

Those of us with employer provided health care are not affected by Obama Care, yet.  We will not be unless we lose our employer provided plans, or if they get so expensive we cannot afford them.

Whatever happens, we need to think beyond the rhetoric and down the road just a little. What is best for us that we can accomplish? 

  

 


 

.

Not So Divided

New studies show America is not as divided as it may seem.  That is what we see in our Union as well.
 
Our members have differing opinions on a number of issues, but  we are not divided.  At times we just agree to disagree. Overall we have a high level of respect for each other. If you doubt it, come to the next meeting and see it for yourselves.
 
Divide and conquer has been a successful strategy for battle for thousands of years. Even today corporations use the strategy to keep us off balance and off them.  As more of us see it, the less effectice it becomes.
 
We are waking up. And that is Corporate America's greatest fear.
 
 

 

A Labor Party

We have been disappointed time and again by both political parties.  Maybe it is time to form our own party.  We can call it the Labor Party.  Our explicit goal will be to improve the lives of working people.
 
We would include all working people, and we would have to stay committed to the mission to succeed. We would solicit and support candidates who support our cause first and foremost.
 
A new political season will be here soon.  Before you cast another vote, ask your candidate, "Do you believe AT&T should be able to change retiree health care, even though they bargained for it, and committeed to it ?".   If they say yes, you need a new candidate.
 
It is time to vote our own interests. If a Tea Party can exist within the structure then so can a Labor Party.  All it takes is for working people to band together. We have a lot of votes. It is time to stop letting them divide us.
 

Retirees Slammed Again

Once again AT&T has slammed its retirees with major health care cost increases. There is only greed to blame. AT&T profits continue to soar.
 
Not long ago companies like AT&T could not change retiree insurance without negotiating with them. That changed when judges appointed by George W Bush ruled they could.
 
Those judges are still on the bench. There will be no change until they are replaced. Even then we do not know who will apppoint their replacements.  These are lifetime appointments.
 
Still, the judges did not force AT&T to screw our retirees. They allowed it, and AT&T gleefully took advantage.  The increases happened because AT&T wanted them to happen.
 
 
 

 

Customer Service Appreciation

Today we say thank you to our Call Center members. We do not know why the company has chosen to ignore Customer Service Appreciation Week.  Customer Service is our business and we are very good at it.
 
Dealing with the public can be frustrating and stressful.  Our members are professionals who excel in providing customer service under difficult circumstances.  The company may not appreciate you, but your co-workers do.
 
 
 

 

Affordable Health Care Act

Retirees
We are getting questions about the new health care law.  The short answer is that neither our active employees nor our retirees are affected by the Act.  The Open Enrollment period is the normal process.
 
Some of our retirees are receiving information in the mail soliciting them to join private Part D plans. We do not need these.
We have Part D coverage in our plans.
 
This has been happening for several years but it can still be confusing.  There is a lot of misinformation being spread.
 
If you receive information in the mail from someone other than the Company or Medicare please check with us before you sign up for it.  You do not want to pay twice for the same coverage.
 
But please, do not ignore correspondence from the company.  If you have questions contact the benefit service center. If they cannot answer your questions give us a call.
 
 

 

NIC Contract Ratified

The National Internet (DSL) Contract has been ratified. We very much appreciate the efforts of our national bargaining team and our Local mobilization team.  Everybody gave it their very best.
 
The new agreement is far from being all we wanted it to be. We will not be satisfied until AT&T shows our members the respect and appreciation we deserve. But there are improvements in this agreement we can build on. Our work has not ended.  It is just beginning.
 
Again, thanks to all for their hard work and dedication.

 

 

 

Policies

There are certain policies the company cannot unilaterally change. According to the National Labor Relations Act they must give us an opportunity to negotiate.

In reality they change some policies regularly. They can do anything they want if we do not challenge them. If we are aware of the changes we will insist on our right to negotiate.

We are talking about a policy, not a work rule. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference.  The company does not always call a policy a policy. Now you know why.

Bottom line, if they are making changes let us know. We will figure it out and take the approriate action.

 

 


 

SAR Issue

We have learned that 2 jobs were posted and filled but did not show up on the Selection Activity Report.  We learned this because members called to ask about them. The two jobs will be posted on next month's SAR.  When they are posted the clock will start on grievance rights.

The company did not volunteer the information.  We had to ask for it. They will not volunteer the information next time, either. If the job you asked for does not show up on the SAR please let us know.

Members can now follow us on Twitter @cwalocal3902.

September's Union Meeting

We had a great meeting last night. If you missed it you will not want to miss our next meeting on October 22nd. Weather permitting we plan to grill wings. And we are also beginning to think about the upcoming holiday season.

Our Community Services Committee will be collecting toys for those less fortunate than us. To assist them, we will conduct a second $100 drawing. To enter the second drawing you must bring a new toy with a value of at least $5 and present it to the Committee to get a ticket.

The Committee respectfully asks that you bring a toy worthy of your own child. We know you will. Please set your calendars now.

 

 


 

 What's Wrong With Governor Bentley?

What's Wrong With Us?

Governor Bentley spoke out against Unions this summer. He was speaking against the workers at Mercedes. Bentley was clear that his opposition is to all Unions in Alabama. Did he mention his opposition when he was a candidate?

Bentley himself was/is a member of the most powerful union in the country. The American Medical Association is a closed shop. If you don't belong you do not practice medicine in the United States. The AMA does not operate as an official labor union, but it is the envy of all.

Our hypocritical governor is okay when a union protects him and his wealthy buddies. He doesn't think we deserve to have a union. Really Doctor Bentley? What is wrong with you?

Before we get too far up on our high horse we need ask another question. What is wrong with us? Why do we vote against our own interests? Why do we vote for a man like Bentley who believes working people should have no voice?

Alabama has long been a one party state. For years the only way to get elected in Alabama was to run a s a Democrat.  Today the only way to get elected to a state wide office is to run as a Republican. The difference is that we used to pay attention to who we were voting for. Now we just look for the R.

What can we do?  We start with paying attention to the Republican candidates. It is time to start asking them how they feel about Unions, and listen to their answers. If we are to have a one party system then we need to pick the best candidate in that party. That's how we used to do it..

Many  Republicans have led Alabama as elected Democrats. George C Wallace, segregationist, ran as a Democrat.  If he were running today it would likely be as a Republican. But even Wallace was not anti-union.

Whether we vote Republican or Democrat, we have to start voting our own interests. Both parties are letting us down. Too many in both parties are taking the money. But working people have the votes. If we figure out how to vote together we can take our government back.

 


 

United Way

Today the combined Unions in Jefferson County begin our campaign to support the United Way.  You will see and hear much in the coming weeks about the wonderful work of the agencies supported by the United Way.

We ask  you to give what you can.  We would never ask you to give more than you can afford.  But every penny counts. So even if you can only afford a few dollars please give.  A little from us will mean a lot to others. 

 


 

 

Statement of Occurence

When you approach your Steward about an issue you will be asked to fill out a Statement of Occurence. The statement is for our use only and is not shared with management.  Stewards cannot pursue an issue without it.

Stewards handle grievances. They volunteer their time.  Stewards often use their breaks and lunches to work on a grievance.  They are the backbone of the Union.  It takes a dedicated member to be a good Steward.

The Steward is also your co-worker who also has a job and a life just like everyone else. The Steward doesn't mind if you ask questions about the contract.  But the Steward's task is to handle grievances. If you have a grievance fill out a Statement of Occurence.  Then they can handle your issue properly.

 


 

Expectations

We are told time and again to keep our expectations real. We are probably all guilty of allowing unreal expectations lead us to disappointment at least once in our lives.

AT&T is one of the largest and most profitable corporations in history. They spend billions of dollars to tell the world what a great company they are. Great companies are expected to pay their employees fair wages and treat them with respect and dignity.

Our jobs require skills and not everybody can do them. Companies continue to hire away some of  the best and brightest.  Even field techs in the core contract have left  for better jobs. 

We make an honest effort to keep our expectations real. It is time for the company to do the same. Want good employees? Pay a fair package.  Want satisfied customers who keep coming back? Let us help them. We'll get them back.

The company has unreal expectations.  If they do not wake up to reality they are going to be disappointed.  It will not be our fault. We love our customers. We are customers, too.

 

 


 

 

Taking Care of Business

We have been especially busy the last few days. We are in the process of wrapping up some of the really big issues that have consumed our time.

We are putting the finishing touches on a couple of grievances we have worked on for months. Both involve multiple jobs and we hope to soon have them at the Executive level. We have done the research and we are hopeful we can prevail. 

Bad Management 

The company does not make it easy. Some of the problems arise because the company does not allow managers to manage.  Inflexible rules tie the hands of some managers who could do a good job if allowed.

Others happen because the higher ups allow some hotshot up and comer too much leeway before they are ready.  Managers given too much room to run usually fall flat.  Unfortunately they do a lot of damage in the process. 

Vote Today 

If you are a member in DSL please vote today on the Tentative Agreement.  Please see the Union bulletin board on the 12th floor for more information. You have until 4 PM today to cast your vote.

 


 

Obama Care

Much has been written and said about the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obama Care. So far the the Act is affecting us in a mostly positive manner.

One early concern many of our members was the tax on "Cadillac" plans.  The tax does not affect us. Our plans are better than many, thanks to our Union, but they are not the Cadillac plans described in the Act.

Some of the more obvious postives have been talked about at length. The ability to keep children on your plan until they are 26 has helped many of us. Pre-existing conditions can no longer keep us from getting insurance.  Insurance companies can no longer cap our benefits.  Gone are the days when a cancer patient can be cutoff a plan because they exceeded a cap limit.

The ACA requirement that insurance companies define and post plans is driving down the cost.  We just changed to a plan that is saving the Local $500 a month.  We have tried for years to find a more affordable plan for our one employee. It came just in the nick of time.

The ACA needs tweeking. It was always a given that more is needed. But there is no such thing as free healthcare. The questions are how do we pay for it, and will the industry be allowed to gouge us.

Obama Care is a start. Another Congress will have to improve it. The current Congress is hopelessly ineffective.

 

 

Field Visits

We are doing our best to get to your work location to discuss the issues important to you and your work group. Everybody is busy with grievances or training and mobilization so we will have to show up as we can.
 
We were able to visit a couple of locations this week. Everytime we visit we learn something from you and hopefully we bring information you need.  You do not have to wait for us to show up if you have questions. Give us a call and we will do our best to get you answers.
 
We are taking questions from members only. If you see us talking to a non-member it is an accident. Please tell us and we will walk away or sign them up.
 
Speaking of non-members, remember there is a $25 reward for each new member you sign up. Be sure to write your name in the "attest " space to claim it.  Let your steward know if you need membership cards.
 
 

  

Want A Union?

From time to time we receive calls from workers in other companies who would like to join our Union.  You cannot imagine how difficult the government (and the companies that run the government) have made it for them.
 
We are in preliminary discussions with the employees of a company we cannot name at this time. There are not yet enough of them committed for us to go forward.  If we started the process openly today the employees we are talking with would be fired in short order.
 
We sometimes forget what those who came before went through. Even though we have many battles left to fight, we cannot be fired for joining our Union.  Not even in the UFO.
 
 
 

 


 

EEOC, Not EEO

Something to Remember:

The company EEO department is staffed by managers whose task is to protect the company, not you. If you have a complaint, take it to the EEOC. The EEOC is a government agency. It will look at your complaint and guide you in a legally protected way. (EEOC.gov)

We have a lot of young people on the payroll now.  You should know, there is no excuse for bad behavior. Your managers or co workers do not get to harrass you at work. You do not have to have a relationship with your manager to stay on the payroll or get a promotion.

We are seeing signs this ugly stuff is creeping back into the work place. If you see something that looks like it let us know. And do not be afraid to step up and testify for those who are harmed. Those who abuse their authority should be brought to justice. But talk to us first.

Managers: You, too.

We do not represent management.  However, if you are victimized we will gladly guide you to a good attorney . Nobody should to be harrassed at work. Extracting personal or sexual favors is not a perq of authority or power.

As a manager you do not have the right to stand by and do nothing. If you see bad behavior by another manager you are obligated to report it. You might be held personally liable for your failure to act.  Do the right thing.

 


 

Workers Comp

You cannot be retaliated against for filing a claim.

If you are injured on the job Workers Comp should take care of you to some extent.  Alabama has probably the worst law in the country, but it is slightly better than nothing.

In the past some of us may have preferred not to report the accident and handle it ourselves.  The company has shifted so much of our medical costs to us that doesn't make sense.  Also the company is so discipline happy you might be in trouble for not reporting.

Workers Comp is a legal issue.  We may attempt to get the company to correct any mistake they make, but we will not waste much time on it.  Instead we will help get you to an attorney to settle your claim.

Keep good notes with times and dates of everything, including any stupid or sarcastic remarks made by any management employee.

  

Share What You Know

Too many of our members still know very little about our Union. We are working to let them know who and what we are.  We need your help.

We do not learn the truth about Unions from our text books. The business world controls the printing of school text books and for the most part everything in them.  Unless our parents were active Union members we have little exposure to Unions.

It is up to us to share what we know with our newer members. We must tell them why we have a Union. Tell them what we have accomplished over the years. And tell them also of our losses. We still fight tough battles. We do not win them all and we cannot expect to. 

Those who came before us created our Union due to the horrific conditions they were forced to work in. They worked in situations worse even than DSL and the Wire Techs.  Well, maybe not much worse than what the Wire Techs put up with today. We are still fighting.

As football season is approaches we hear every coach talk about team work.  It is no big secret. Sticking together is how we win. Somewhere in a Board room the company is talking divide and conquer. That is how the company wins.

We are doing a much better job of working together for our cause. Let's keep it going. 

 

 

  


 

Learn From Costco?

AT&T should learn a lesson from Costco, and Henry Ford. In 1914 Ford paid his workers an unheard of $5.00 a day to build his new cars. Business leaders of the day thought he was nuts. Ford understood people had to make enough money to buy his cars.
 
Similarly, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek understands in order to hire and keep good people he must pay a descent wage. In widely reported remarks Jelinek says the reason for the "success of Costco’s business model is the attraction and retention of great employees. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. ”
 
AT&T is taking the Walmart approach and it is showing.  Turnover in the newer units is mind boggling.  In one unit the turnover is reported to be seventy five perecent. The time and money spent for training must be a drain on the bottom line.  The Board, the shareholders, somebody is not paying attention.
 
At the same time AT&T is transitioning from the relatively inexpensive telephone to much more expensive broadband and cellular products.  The employees in DSL, Mobility, and the UFO probably cannot afford to buy those products. Many already use the competitors cheaper products.
 
Launching (another) new company to sell a cheaper product is not the answer.  AT&T should pay all employees enough to buy AT&T's top quality products.  Ford was right and history has proven it.  Too bad Randal Stephenson skipped history classes.
 
 
 

AT&T Jobs –The Old Gray Mare 

When people think of good AT&T jobs they are thinking about the days of old. AT&T once had good jobs with pretty good benefits.  Not so much anymore. Our standard of living has fallen across the board.
DSL and Mobility jobs fall far short of being good paying jobs. Those jobs do not pay middle class wages. The top pay in DSL is $14.42 an hour. Members with children in these jobs often find they are eligible for government aid.  Too many quit because they cannot afford to pay daycare so they can work.
Higher medical costs have affected all of us. Small wage increases have not offset higher medical costs or kept up with inflation.  Field techs are make good money because they are work so much overtime. But it is killing them and straining their family lives. When the overtime goes away they too will suffer.
It is sad to see the damage done to the image of the company under Randal Stephenson. He spends billions in advertising trying to resurrect the company’s reputation. All he needs to do is treat us right and we would do that for him. We talk, and so do the contractors and suppliers who interface with us.
The AT&T job is like “the old gray mare”. It just ain’t what it used to be.  It is up to us to correct it.
 

  


 

Change of Address

 
Secretary - Treasurer Jo Fowler asks that you update your adress with the Local anytime you move or change addresses. We also ask that you update your email address. Its easy to do. Just call the office and give your new address to the office secretary.

 


 

Security Investigations / Meetings

Anybody at any time is subject to be called into a meeting with security, or Asset Protection.  You are entitled to Union representation.    If security is involved there is always the possibilty of discipline.  Get a Steward.
 
The question you must ask is "Is there any possibility of disicipline, now or in the future?" If the answer is yes you are entitled to Union representation. You should not meet until the Steward arrives.  This applies to any meeting with management.
 
If the answer is no you may not always be entitled to a Steward. But if you get into a meeting and discipline is then mentioned, you have the right to step out until a Steward arrives. This happens more than you might think.
  
In the Meeting
You have rights in a meeting. First, you are not required to make a statement.  You must answer questions that are relevant to the investigation.  Simple answers serve you best.  If you cannot recall, tell them you do not recall.
 
They have no right to badger or intimidate you.  If you answer a question once that is enough.   If they ask you to expound your answer tell them you answered the question.  Do not worry about making them mad.  It is part of their job.
 
They are not perfect.   They are taught to follow the evidence.  Too often they reach a conclusion by guessing and then try to build a case to support  their idea.  This is how innocent people get hurt. 
 

The Statement

You do not have to make a statement.  When they type up what they think you said do not sign it.  There is one more very important thing to know.
 
They may read to you what they typed and ask you to confirm it.  If you confirm or correct it in any way they will testify that you confirmed the statement.  It is a very good trick on their part. You did not state it. You did not write it. You did not sign it. But it in one moment it becomes your statement.
 
When the company agent asks you to confirm your statement simply remind them you answered as best you could but you are not making a statement. Ask them if they have any more questions. If not you should end the meeting.
 
This is a quick overview and we have posted this as information. There are exceptions to every rule.  If you think you may be called in meeting call the Local as soon as possible.  And Stewards, if you are called in, always take another Steward with you.
  

Organizing the Revolution

We imagine organizing the revolution was not unlike organizing our Union today.  It started with an idea that life could be better, that people had certain rights, and that they were worth fighting for. 
 
People had to be convinced it was the right thing to do. They had to make a decision that put much at risk.  It could not have been an easy thing to do.  Yet they made the choice and set a course.
 
They chose leaders like Patrick Henry who would fight.  Patrick Henry is perhaps most famous for the quote "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"
 
The following quote from Patrick Henry decries the odds the colonialists faced. Maybe it should be used in bargaining to remind us that there is never a perfect moment to take a stand. Sometimes you just gather the troops and fight back. 
 
“They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.”
Patrick Henry
 
 
You might  take a minute to search and read his "Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions."

 

 
 

 

Self Destruction
A former security manager for the company once laughed and told us " If your members quit telling on each other we wouldn't have anything to do." We were a younger group then. We grew up and learned better.  Most of the security folks have now retired. But we continue to self destruct.
 
We've stopped telling on each other. Now we are doing each others work.  This too must stop.
 
Wire Techs:  Please stop doing doing the work of the ST and the FT. If not, those titles will be consumed by the Wire Tech at a 35 percent cut in pay. Is that the future you want?
 
ST', FT's, and DT's: Please stop doing the work of the ET. The company has cut the force too thin. We know it is frustrating for you and the customer.  The company doesn't care about the customer,  why should we? Care for yourself, and your fellow member.
 
The ET has the same concern you do, which is how to pay the bills and take care of the family.  We all have our jobs. Please take care of yours and leave everyone else's job alone.
 
  

 

Grievance Progress 
We've made tremendous progress in the area of grievance handling.  We still have room for improvement and we are working at it.  Please help us by following the procedure as it is designed.
 
The grievance begins with your Steward. It is an important first step that must not be skipped. Your Steward begins the task of information gathering and fact finding that gives us a chance to win. Skipping the first level handicaps us. (There are rare exceptions such as terminations.)
 
If there is no resolution at the first level the grievance goes to the President to review. The President will work with the Departmental Vice President to determine the next action. Most grievances will be sent to a panel. If it is not resolved it then goes to the State Director.
 
The process is a little different in Mobility and DSL, but very similar. In all cases, the grievance starts with the Steward. 
 

 

 

 

Survey

The company just completed another survey. Once again enough of us were honest in the survey to make a difference. This is not a great place to work anymore. We've known it since the takeover. Now the word is getting out to the public.
 
The economy is improving and the company will need to do some hiring in certain jobs. Many of us will not recommend the job to our children and neighbors. It is the kind of thing that may show up in the quality of new hires.
 
Many current employees are just hanging on, hoping things will get better. Hanging on trying to make it to retirement. Hanging on until a better job can be found.  Many have left already.  A few years ago we could not imagine field techs quitting their jobs. Now it is almost common.
 
Apparently the company is trying to figure it out. "The flogging will continue until morale improves!" approach is not working. What a surprise it must have been. They claim to have heard us on a number of subjects. But we do not trust them or their motives yet.
 
Trust is a two way street. To earn our trust they are going to have to make substantive changes.  We have a  suggestion for them.
 
Stop playing games with safety and security.  You are not making us safer nor your property more secure when you allow managers to use the issue to intimidate and control us.
 
The manager who thinks he or she is smart when they use a manufactured "violation" to keep us from a promotion is not. That manager does more harm to the company than any competitor. We will never respect him or the company that gives him freedom to harrass.
 
For example, a window rolled down a half an inch in 90 degree weather to let heat escape gets a tech an entry. This is either an abuse of policy or an indication that a policy maker is an idiot who has never worked outside. Those who are worried about a slightly open window have little concern for the safety of the tech. 
 
The same policy makers require some techs to make a home visit after hours when the customer does not answer a call. There are neighborhoods where this is dangerous. In fact, with all the guns in the country today it is not safe to knock on doors after dark most anywhere. Where is the concern for the safety of our techs? Well, it is a numbers game.
 
It is time for the company to stop playing numbers games. Let us do our jobs and we will do them well. Hire good supervisors and they will do their jobs. The leadership doesn't get it.  We guess they never had to  work for a living and just do not understand.
 
 

 
 
Costco vs Sam's
We do not disparage the employees of Sam's or Walmart. We simply think you should know how they are treated. Costco and others treat employees much better and still thrive and profit.
 
The strikes around the country at some of their stores have drawn attention. Fake News thinks it awful that employees dare to stand up for themselves.  We hope you will read the truth and support them. And like Papa used to say, never, ever cross a picket line.
 
Click on the URL below

www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/richard-galanti-wages_n_3396101.html

 
 

 
Information Please
The information age is on us like never before.  It used to be that we had to guess about everything. If we wanted to buy a car we had to guess at a fair price. Now we have numerous online sources to help us. It is simply a matter of searching for it.
 
The same is true in our dealings with the company. There is a lot of information available if we can figure out where to find it. We are getting better at it. But we still need your help.
 
Information gives us a fighting chance. In bargaining, in grievances, in our day to day activitites, the more we know the stronger we are. You have access to a wealth of information in your day to day activities. Please do not assume we have the same information.
 
If you know or learn something, please do not wonder why "the Union doesn't do something about it". If you think your Union needs to know, tell us. Call the Union office or your Steward and let us know. We probably have no idea. The company is not going to tell us.  It is up to you.
 
 

 
 
Ethics?
Not When the Game is Rigged

 

Ethics, values, and policies are established at the top.  Policies reflect a company's true values and ethics.  It is time for corporate leaders to review their policies regarding sales commissions.
 
Sales Reps must sell to make money and keep their jobs. No matter who they work for, those are the rules. But many in sales are not getting what they earn.  The deck has been stacked against them, like a marked deck of cards.
 
The marked card is the qualifier. For example, if the Rep were a car salesman, he or she might have a quota to sell 10 cars a month.  But suppose the company also owns a company that sells dump trucks. The company decides to require the Rep to sell at least 1 dump truck in order to get any of the commission, the qualifier.  It is a tough sell.
 
The Rep might sell 30 cars a month, but those who want a dump truck go to the truck dealership instead. Where would you go if you wanted a dump truck, to a Buick dealer? Of course not.
 
The Rep is set up to fail and too often works all month for nothing. The company keeps all the revenue off the 30 cars and the Rep gets screwed. The game is rigged from the start. 
 
Ethical? Hardly.  It  is time to stop this sorry practice.
 

  


 

 
Unity
We often speak of unity in the Union movement. A movement that is united and working together is stronger than one scattered and in disarray. We cannot recall when the membership of District 3 has been so united.
 
Those who do not see it may not have the capacity to see it. You must put aside your personal goals, agendas and egos to be part of it. Unity is not a thing you can reach out and touch. It is a bonding among the principals and players. It is that point where a majority finds itself on the same page intent on moving forward. 
 
We are unified in District 3, or at least the majority of us are. The rest will come along or be swept away.
 
 
 

 
  
Stewards
We've made progress with our Stewards in the last year. We've  done a lot of training and reaching out.  This summer we are going to do more.
 
Some of our Stewards have really stepped up.  It is not easy being a Steward. It takes tough skin and determination to be good at it.  We appreciate those that have risen to the task and are applying themselves as we hoped.
 
It is not business as usual. As some departments reach out to work together others have seemingly declared war on the Union. We will spend a lot of time with them in those departments in the near future. Our Stewards are on the front line.
 
If you think you would like to be a Steward please contact us. We will be focusing on DSL at the City Center and in the Wire Tech groups. But we need Stewards elsewhere too.
 
Our Stewards are the backbone of our Union. Without good Stewards we crumble in defeat. So join us if you will, and if you have a co-worker who stands out as a leader encourage them to contact us.
 
 

 
 

Where We Work

 
 
Birmingham is a great place to live and work.  We are blessed with affordable real estate, energy costs among the lowest in the nation, and a mild southern climate.  Birmingham is truly a modern, progressive city with all the charm of the deep South. We wonder why AT&T would turn its back on her.
 
We suspect it is because the right people just do not realize what a gem Birmingham is. Who is left to advocate for Birmingham?  No company officers remain who had any connection to our city. It is left to center managers to tell our story. Some are trying. We are trying too.
 
We remind AT&T of the trained, loyal workforce that remains here whenever we can. We are reaching out to civic leaders for their help. You can help too.
 
When you talk to others around the country let them hear about Birmingham. Tell them about our affordable real estate, low energy costs, and our great climate.  Spread the word. Birmingham is where we live and work. We want to stay here.
 

  
Retirement Planning, Start Now!

Our newer members should act now to prepare for retirement. Even if you just hired on. The new pensions are sub par. There is no way you will be able to retire and live on them, even with Social Security.

On April 5, 2013, the company sent a mass email on "Retirement Readiness".  It looks like an advertisement for Fidelity, and it may be, but it is also sound advice. No matter where you are on the seniority ladder now is a good time to start doing something about your retirement. Thinking about it will not help.

Please look closely at the email. See if there is something there that interests you. If there is, you have a starting point.

Also, we are considering having one or two financial planners come in and talk to interested members about retirement planning.  We will ask them to focus on our newer members. If you are interested in attending, please let us know.

Our soon to be retirees have options already.  If you are nearing retirement you should already be working with a financial planner.  If not, find you one or more and start preparing for those decisions. 

 
 
 

 

National Labor Relations Act
Unions were given true life with the passage of the NLRA. The law itself can be found by a simple internet search. Be sure to use the .gov site for the genuine law.
 
The Act covers many specifics and we refer to it on a regular basis. If it were to be over-turned by Congress Unions would surely cease to exist. In the last election some candidates spoke of doing just that.
 
We are thinking of the Act today because we are spending a lot of time with it these days. Sadly, you would think the companies would obey the law and move on. Not so in too many cases.
 
We remain vigilant and hope you will take a look at the Act from time to time. It is a good read for those who care about their legal rights.
 

 

Union Representation

 

This week we found out there are managers so brazen or so ignorant, or both, they think they get to decide if you are entitled to Union representation. So once again, here is how it works.
 
Called into a meeting?  Even if it is just "Hey, I need to see you at my desk just a minute", ask this simple question.
 
Can this meeting lead to or result in discipline, now or in the future?  If the answer is yes, you have a right to have a steward present.  You do not have to start the meeting or have further conversation until your steward arrives.
 
If the answer is no, and in the meeting you discover you have been lied to, you have a right to stop the meeting and demand Union representation. Always be respectful, but demand your rights.
 
The form of the question does not have to be perfect. The company knows what you are trying to ask.  If they play games with this it is also a violation.
 

 

 

Field Tech Assistance Needed
Stop Calling Load Balance Managers
Field Techs, please do not call or  que managers to get work assigned.  You are putting your fellow Union members out of work.  We know it is easier to call the managers. They set it up that way to grow their jobs at the expense of ours.  It is working. While our craft folks are looking for work, the managers are swamped.
 
This can be corrected if our field techs will simply stop calling the managers in the first place. This is about looking out for each other. If they are successful in one title they will soon go for another.  Soon it may be yours.
 
Some departments are actively trying to turn craft jobs into management jobs. We believe it is because they can treat these low level managers anyway they want. It is Union busting at the departmental level.
 
We are working to peel back the layers of deceit used to hide it.  They think we will give up and go away. We will not. We need everybody working with us on this.  These are our jobs.
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

21 Million
USA Today says Randy Stephenson made 21 million last year. Given the total collapse of morality in corporate leadership, and considering what he did to his employees in at least 22 states, he probably should have made more. 
 
It is greed, and it is a sickness.  CEO's are applauded not because they make a company stronger.  They are given raises and bonuses because they are able to wring out more profit. Its effect has been to crush the middle class.
 
Randy Stephenson has done as much as anybody to undermine America's middle class. He alone is responsible for the loss of over 65,000 jobs. The number would be higher but it does not reflect the good paying jobs he replaced with just over minimum wage jobs.
 
Someday he will take his millions and fly off into the sunset. We hope it is sooner rather than later.
   
 
Churn
An American Sin
It used to be that a businesses were judged in part by their ability to attract and keep good employees. In these eyes that is true today. But too many of America's businesses prefer the churn to a stable business model.
 
Not long ago a company Vice President told us his goal was a forty five percent churn rate. The center he oversees is struggling today because the churn rate is so high they do not have enough trained employees to make the numbers. They will probably fire him, but they shouldn't.  He is only following orders.
 
Jobs we once fought to keep are no longer worth fighting for. Why should we put up with the stress and aggravation in a call center when we can work retail for the same money and benefits? The turnover hurts the company and the image of the company.
 
Untold millions are spent to train the new workers hired to replace those who quit or are fired. This giant we work for can pay, no problem. But they cannot easily mend the damage they are doing to the company. Customers are not happy with us. But where else can they go?
 
Churn is an American problem. And it is made possible by our government.  While we have been turned against each other the last 30 or 40 years business interests have taken control. They have passed anti-labor laws and altered the tax code so that it is all about corporate profit.
 
The War
 
There is a war going on in government today. Business has won in Alabama. It owns the state government and is busy passing laws to allow business to do as it pleases. But the battle is still enjoined at the federal level.
 

 


 

 

 

Weekends Again
The company continues to try to move our work to the weekend. They will tell you they are just giving the customers what they want. We do not believe that is entirely true. We believe to some extent they are encouraging our customers to schedule for the weekend. That is why we continually remind you to spread the word, do not schedule appointments on the weekend.
 
 
Even Sunday is becoming a regular work day. Not so long ago our churches would have been out front challenging the corporate led demise of our day of worship. Where are they today?
 
Your minister can help. Ask him or her to speak out for the day of rest called for in the Bible, and for the weekend we fought so hard for not so long ago. Preach it from the pulpit for all to hear, and do not stop preaching until we have won the issue.
  
 
Have a great weekend, and remember. At church Sunday, and eveywhere, spread the word.
Stop making weekend appointments!