Author Archives: Joe Doc

Striking Verizon Workers Win Big Gains

By The Pa. AFL-CIO

– UNION TO TAKE DOWN PICKETS; COMPANY AGREES TO ADD GOOD UNION JOBS ON THE EAST COAST; FIRST CONTRACT FOR RETAIL WIRELESS WORKERS; IMPROVES WORKERS’ OVERALL STANDARD OF LIVING.

Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers who have been on strike since April 13 are celebrating big gains after coming to an agreement in principle with the company. After 45 days of the largest strike in recent history, striking CWA members have achieved our major goals of improving working families’ standard of living, creating good union jobs in our communities and achieving a first contract for wireless retail store workers.

“CWA appreciates the persistence and dedication of Secretary Perez, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director Allison Beck and their entire teams. The addition of new, middle-class jobs at Verizon is a huge win not just for striking workers, but for our communities and our country as a whole. The agreement in principle at Verizon is a victory for working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people,” said Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America. “This proves that when we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and protect the American middle class.”

Source – http://www.paaflcio.org/?p=6897

Breaking – Verizon, striking unions reach tentative agreement

By Jane M. Von Bergen

– Verizon Communications Inc. and its unions have reached a tentative four-year agreement, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said Friday, ending the largest strike in recent labor history, with an estimated 36,000 to 39,000 workers off the job.

“We have a great contract that is going to protect our members and bring in additional jobs,” said Edward Mooney, a vice president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), one of the two unions on strike against the telecommunications company since April 13.

“Verizon is very pleased with this ‘agreement in principle,’ ” Verizon’s chief administrative officer, Marc Reed, said in a statement.

“The agreement is consistent with our objective of creating high-quality American jobs and achieving meaningful changes and enhancements to the contracts.”
The strike involved CWA and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) members employed in Verizon’s landline divisions from New England to Virginia. It occurred as Verizon is building its nonunion mobile business and selling off its traditional wireline assets, where most of the unionized employees work.

The unions urged their members to have a great weekend and to be prepared to return to work next week. So far, there is no schedule for ratification votes on either side.

Wall Street reacted happily to the news Friday. On April 4, Verizon’s shares had reached a high of $54.42, but they fell to $49.14 on Monday as analysts and executives said the strike was taking its toll on revenue.

The Friday afternoon announcement of an agreement prompted an immediate spike in the price to $50.82, from Thursday’s close of $50.16. Verizon shares closed Friday at $50.62.

On Friday morning, a handful of CWA members in red T-shirts with their strike signs chatted outside Verizon’s Philadelphia headquarters at 17th and Arch Streets.

The pickets dispersed as word of the settlement spread via text message: “Tentative contract – four year deal. Stand down. Strike is over.”

The workers will receive wage increases. Issues involving pensions and the assignment of workers to locations far from their homes was settled in the unions’ favor, Mooney said.

A key concern – the routing of sales and technical-support calls overseas – also was settled in the unions’ favor, said Julie Daloisio, president of CWA Local 13500, which represents call-center workers in Pennsylvania.

In return for the company agreeing not to close 30 call centers and agreeing to add 1,300 employees instead of sending many calls to outside contractors, the union agreed that calls could be handled by any union operator, not just those in the state where the call was made, she said.

The agreement will add 300 jobs in Pennsylvania, Daloisio said.

What made this round of bargaining unusual was the intense involvement of Perez, the labor secretary.

“This tentative resolution is a testament to the power of collective bargaining,” he said in a statement.

Long past midnight, in Friday’s early hours, Perez remained holed up in a conference room at the Labor Department’s headquarters along with Verizon chief executive and chairman Lowell McAdams, the leaders of the two unions, and Allison Beck, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

“It shows the concern the administration had in getting this resolved, that they would put that kind of resources into it,” said Michael Hanlon, a longtime management-side employment lawyer and a partner in the Philadelphia firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

Hanlon said it was also unusual for a corporate chairman to be involved in negotiations.

On May 17, after the strike had gone on for nearly five weeks, Perez called the parties to Washington, asked them to agree to mediation, assigned the top mediator, Beck, to the case, and insisted on a blackout of negotiation-related communications.

“I offer my deep gratitude to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director Allison Beck for all their efforts to help us reach a fair and mutually beneficial agreement that gets our members back on the job,” IBEW president Lonnie R. Stephenson said in a statement.

Perez “was able to look at things without any of the viewpoints that the two sides had,” Mooney said, adding that Perez made sure “both sides kept their eyes on the end goal, which was a contract that will secure middle-class lifestyle and a future at this company for our members.”

The final issue to be resolved, Mooney said, was a first contract for the only two wireless units in Verizon to have been organized into a union, CWA.

The parties broke for a few hours about 3 a.m. Friday, returning to the bargaining table about 9 a.m., with an announcement from Perez sent out in the early afternoon.
It turns out that Perez was operating under his own strike deadline: his daughter’s high school graduation, which was set for Friday.

Source – http://www.philly.com/philly/business/labor_and_unions/20160528_Verizon__striking_unions_reach_tentative_agreement.html

American Postal Workers Union: NLRB Hearing on Staples Concludes

By The APWU

– After nearly a year of procedural wrangling, 10 days of testimony and more than 140 exhibits, the National Labor Relations Board hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples ended on May 24.

Region 5 of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Postal Service on June 26, 2015, in response to an “unfair labor practice” charge filed by the APWU. The complaint asked the NLRB to order the USPS to cancel its Approved Shipper deal with Staples and return the work to postal employees.

The hearing, which began in August 2015 and continued in November and February, resumed on May 18. NLRB General Counsel called APWU President Mark Dimondstein as the final witness in its direct case.

The NLRB General Counsel was represented by Daniel Heltzer and Cristina Cora, who worked closely with the APWU to demonstrate that the Postal Service refused to bargain with the union over its decision to contract out work to Staples.

Following Dimondstein’s testimony, the Postal Service and Staples presented their cases. The Postal Service called seven witnesses who attempted to justify the Postal Service’s decision to contract out Clerk Craft work.

NLRB attorneys cross-examined the USPS witnesses and re-called APWU Manager of Negotiations Support Phil Tabbita, who testified in February, to rebut their testimony.

A ruling by Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas is not expected for several months.

Many parts of the record and most documents introduced at the hearing remain under “provisional seal,” which prohibits the APWU from sharing the information contained in them.

Dimondstein vowed to fight to make the documents available to union members and the public. “The dirty deal between Staples and the USPS has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning,” he said. “But the people have a right to know about management’s attempts to privatize their Postal Service.

“Our country deserves public postal services that are provided by well-trained USPS employees who are accountable to the people,” he said.

Source – http://www.apwu.org/news/web-news-article/nlrb-hearing-staples-concludes

Verizon Strike Update: How You Can Help?

By The PA. AFL-CIO

– After ten months trying to reach a fair contract, nearly 40,000 men and women who work at Verizon went on strike on April 13 to protect good jobs and to ensure quality service. These past six weeks have been difficult, but the strike will continue, and our Brothers and Sisters from the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) should know that the entire Labor Movement is standing alongside them in this fight; and it’s important for all of us to realize that these striking workers are standing up for all workers right now.

As most of you know, despite record profits, Verizon has continued their efforts to close US call centers and offshore jobs to the Philippines, Mexico, and elsewhere; all while refusing to follow through on commitments they’ve made to build out their broadband service. The company has been refusing to negotiate a first contract with Verizon Wireless retail workers who formed a union in 2014, and they are pushing to expand the outsourcing of work to low-wage non-union contractors. Two weeks into the strike, Verizon cancelled health coverage for the striking workers and their dependents – roughly 100,000 people were impacted.

Everyone – from business and from Labor – is watching this strike right now. The workers are standing strong, but they don’t need to stand alone.

Visit StandUpToVerizon.com now to find resources and information on how you and your union can help. Find local picket lines to join, learn more about the issues that forced this strike, and support the men and women who are out there fighting every day for the rights of all workers.

Finally, the Verizon Striking Families Solidarity Fund is accepting donations to help those who are being severely impacted by this strike. You can make a secure online donation BY Going to: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/contribute-to-the-cwa-ibew-solidarity-fund

Or, you can mail a contribution, payable and mailed to:

“Verizon Striking Families Solidarity Fund”
c/o Communications Workers of America
501 3rd Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001-2797

Source – http://www.paaflcio.org/?p=6891

10 Facts on the Minimum Wage In America

By The AFL-CIO

– On the anniversary of the last time the federal minimum wage was increased to $7.25 (http://money.cnn.com/2007/07/23/news/economy/minimum_wage/), it’s timely to go over some basic facts on the minimum wage.

Here are 10 important figures to remember when we talk about the minimum wage:

$18.42

How much the federal minimum wage would be if it had kept pace with productivity (i.e., how much we can produce, on average, for an hour’s worth of work) over the past 48 years. It would grow to more than $19 per hour by 2017. Instead, it’s $7.25. Learn more at: http://www.epi.org/publication/safety-net-savings-from-raising-minimum-wage/

$15,080

The annual income for a full-time employee working the entire year at the federal minimum wage.

0

The number of states where a minimum wage working person can afford a one-bedroom apartment working a 40-hour week—without paying more than 30% of their income. Learn more at: http://nlihc.org/oor

3

The number of times Congress passed legislation to increase the minimum wage in the past 30 years. Learn more at: https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/coverage.htm

30

As of Jan. 1, 2016, the number of states (including the District of Columbia) that will have raised their minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25. Source: http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/state-minimum-wage-chart.aspx

18

The number of states (including the District of Columbia) that annually increase their state minimum wage to keep up with the rising cost of living, or that have scheduled automatic cost-of-living adjustments to begin after achieving a meaningful minimum wage. Source: http://www.epi.org/minimum-wage-tracker/

75

The percentage of Americans who support gradually raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to at least $12.50 per hour by 2020, according to a January 2015 poll (http://www.nelp.org/content/uploads/2015/03/Minimum-Wage-Poll-Memo-Jan-2015.pdf). The same poll finds that 63% of Americans support an increase to $15 per hour by 2020.

62.6 in 100 vs. 4.2 in 100

The chance that an adult minimum wage worker is a woman (http://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/2015/home.htm) vs. the chance that a Fortune 500 CEO is a woman.

55 to 69

The range of the percentage of voters who supported minimum wage increases across five states (Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota) where the issue was on the ballot in November 2014. Source: http://www.cnn.com/election/2014/results/race/ballot/

$2.13

The federal minimum wage for tipped employees (https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/q-a.htm), such as waiters and waitresses, nail salon workers or parking attendants.

Source – http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Political-Action-Legislation/10-Facts-on-the-Minimum-Wage