Legacy T Bargaining Report #1
March 4, 2015
Today was our first day of bargaining for our Legacy T Contract. The Company’s bargaining Chair, Lori Smith, read their opening statement. After they explained what they viewed as the bargaining environment – a still “healing” labor market, competition from Google, Walmart, Dish, Comcast, Amazon, etc., regulation (including the new FCC rules) and the Affordable Care Act, and higher customer expectations they finally made clear what their key issues are:
· They think our wages are “significantly” above market rate;
· They say our members pay 40% less for medical care than the national average and we, in Legacy, pay less than the rest of AT&T. They say we must pay our “fair share”;
· They say our pensions are too high and new hires actually don’t want the same pensions as we all get but want 401Ks instead;
· They say to serve their customers we must give them more flexible schedules and work rules;
· They say they must again “improve” our absences.
We also presented an opening statement - our view is very different. We say we understand the challenges AT&T is facing but we view the situation quite differently. We said, “While we understand those changes (in our industry), we as a Union have not changed our values and we believe AT&T can compete in the current environment without the Union having to push those values aside.” Laura Unger, Bargaining Chair, said:
· We believe AT&T’s employees deserve wages that keep up with the increased productivity of the workforce;
· We believe that the workers who built this company deserve to be secure in their retirement, with good pensions and retiree medical care that doesn’t take a big chunk out of their pension checks;
· We believe in jobs and that we can be trained for the jobs of the future. We want that training and we want access to those jobs. We are concerned with the AT&T’s support of TPP which will lead to even more off-shoring of US jobs;
· We believe that AT&T is profitable enough that it does not need its employees to pay more for medical benefits;
· We believe in respect on the job and an end to excessive surveillance, monitoring, quotas and efficiency measures.
The lines have clearly been drawn. Vice President Bill Bates made it known to the Company that we have a clear expiration date - April 11th, 2015 - and a well-funded strike fund.
We know we all have a tough fight in front of us and you should be mobilizing every day in support of your bargain team.
Mary Ellen Mazzeo