Happy New Year!
During the month of December there were several more Town Hall meetings to discuss the transition to Frontier. On February 24th and 25th, Frontier has tentatively scheduled, after working hours meetings that will be open to all employees who wish to participate. This will be an opportunity, for anyone who wishes to attend, to learn more about the transition but more importantly who Frontier is and how they operate.
The planning and preparation leading up to the close of the sale are speeding up rather quickly. Part of the planning process is the scheduling of training classes for the Frontier systems we will be transitioning to. Depending on which department you work in, will determine when and where you training will begin. Currently, the plans for Pre-close training will begin within the next few weeks for the following workgroups- CSSC, DRC, E-center, EVRC and SFC. If you work in BSC, FSC, outside plant, central office or broadband workgroups your training is scheduled to begin April 1st. Please keep in mind every department will be converting to the new systems which will mean everyone will need to receive training regardless of which department you work in. While this sounds like this is going to be an overwhelming task, please understand Frontier has already been through this transition several times already. Dan, John, Josh, Michelle and I will be working with both Verizon and Frontier over the next few weeks to make this transition as seamless as possible.
One issue for customer-facing employees to be aware of is, the Verizon uniform website and stipend will not be opened to order additional Verizon uniforms during the first QTR of the year. In the meantime, if you have a shirt that needs to be replaced please contact your supervisor to receive a replacement. On the transition date (April 1st) every customer-facing employee will be provided with 3 Frontier branded shirts to start out with. Following the transition, these employees will be given access to the Frontier website to order the remainder of their uniform needs.
If you have a specific question or concern regarding the transition you would like to have addressed please feel free to contact us.
On December 18, 2015, Congress passed and the President signed a two-year delay of the 40 percent excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans, also known as the “Cadillac Tax.” This delay was part of a year-end government funding package and changes the effective date from 2018 to 2020.
What that means for us, the contract extension that was reached with Frontier contained a “High Value Health Plan Taxes and Health Plan “Re-opener” which stated-
“To the extent the premiums or premium equivalents for any Health Plan offered by the Company will exceed the government-mandated thresholds and be subject to this “Cadillac Plan” tax, the parties agree that the CBA’s will be “re-opened” for the limited purpose of re-negotiating such Health Plan or Plans in January of 2017.”
The good news is, that since Congressed passed a 2-year delay on the “Cadillac Tax”, none of the contracts (Core, NBSW or Supply) will have to be “re-opened” prior to the expiration of the contact, which is, July 20, 2019.
We have been notified that Dr. Honig, the dentist who has replaced Dr. Pulliam will NOT be honoring the Union Dental discounts in 2016. With that said, we have been successful in finding another dental service provider that provides discounts for union members and accepts our dental insurance. The name of the company is Bright Now Dental and has multiple offices throughout our service area. Although I understand a dentist is an extremely personal choice I wanted to make you aware of this cost savings offer. Within the next few weeks, all members will receive a flier in the mail that will detail your savings on dental procedures and the locations currently available. If you need to visit a dentist prior to receiving the flier their website is www.brightnow.com . In addition, a link can also be found on our website under the Member Resources/Forms tab and is listed under Union Made: Bright Now Dental.
Over the last month several bids have been filled. One of the postings was for FNFT’s positions in Tampa. FNFT’s from Southern bid on and were awarded those vacancies. This created vacancies again in Southern division. As a result, within the next few days a bid will be posted for the remaining Southern FNFT positions.
Last month I reported on how Triage employees reached out to us and wanted to be represented by IBEW 824. On December 16th the National Labor Relations Board conducted an election, in which, the employees elected to be organized and represented by IBEW 824. Unfortunately immediately following the vote tally the owner of the company verbally stated her displeasure with this local and within two days of the election terminated an employee without just cause. Subsequently we have filed a charge with the NLRB for retaliation that is being investigated.
The NLRB has certified the election and we have mailed the initial information request to the company along with a letter requesting to begin bargaining in February. A meeting has been scheduled with the employees to begin putting proposals together that will address the needs of these employees.
Thank you to all of the FNFT’s that showed support and encouraged them through the election process. Please continue sharing your support for these fellow brothers as we bargain a fair and equitable contract for these workers.