April 29, 2020 IBEW System Council T-6 (MA/RI)
The IBEW and Verizon have reached agreements to extend earlier COVID-19 agreements which protect our members, while at the same time maintaining our network and providing service to our customers. The following agreements have been extended:
Agreement on Bonus:
The System Council T6 and the CWA have reached an agreement with the company to allow bonuses to be paid for those not enabled to work from home. As a result of the COVID 19 outbreak the company may pay bonuses to members who provide essential services and cannot work from home due to the nature of their job. All titles who meet this criteria will receive a $300 bonus weekly and will continue through the month of April. These are bonus payments and will not affect wages or overtime calculations. This program will be conducted week by week and may be adjust based on our COVID 19 response.
All members who have the ability to work from home have been offered this option. Mostly everyone who can work from home is doing so. They are working their current shifts and doing the same job functions as if they were in their building.
Most technicians who have the ability to garage from home are doing so. They begin their shift at their home at the start time of the day and they finish the day at their home at the end of their tour. Some vehicles in the fleet are too large to be garaged at home. We will continue to work with the company to come up with solutions that allow for social distancing.
IBEW Local 2325
Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave
The Department of Family and Medical Leave oversees the Commonwealth’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program. This program provides temporary income replacement to eligible workers who are welcoming a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative, and for certain military considerations.
Beginning in January of 2021 most workers in Massachusetts will be eligible to get up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave. The program will be funded by premiums paid by employees, employers, and the self-employed. Contributions to the program will begin on Oct. 1, 2019, and will be managed through the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) per MGL c.175M as added by St. 2018, c.121.
Employers will begin making payroll deductions to fund the employee share of contributions.
Your share of contributions as a worker is fixed. Some employers will also be required to pay contributions under the law, depending on the makeup and size of their workforce.
Paid family leave benefits will be available to support workers who take leave in order to bond with a new child and to address needs relating to a family member who is a covered service member of the armed forces.
Paid medical leave benefits will be available to support workers who take leave as a result of personal serious health conditions.
Paid family leave benefits will be available for the care for any family member with a serious health condition.
What types of leave are covered?
Up to 12 weeks of family leave may be taken to:
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Bond with a child within the first 12 months after its birth
- Bond with a child within the first 12 months after adoption or foster care placement
- Manage family affairs when a family member is on active duty in the armed forces
Up to 20 weeks of medical leave may be taken:
- While you are unable to work due to your own serious health condition
Maximum amount of leave available
You may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.
You may be eligible for up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave.
Total combined leave
You may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of combined paid family and medical leave.
Weekly benefit amounts are calculated as a percentage of your earnings. This means weekly benefits may be different for each individual.
The maximum weekly benefit is $850 per week.
PFML benefits will be funded by a payroll or earnings contribution on every dollar of wages or payment for services earned by a covered individual.
For every $100 you earn, a maximum of $0.38 will be deducted for the covered contribution share. This will consist of:
- $0.13 to cover your family leave contribution
- $0.25 to cover your medical leave contribution
The maximum amount of earnings subject to these contribution rates is $132,900 annually for each covered individual.
Beginning January 1st 2018 the Company will change their disability administration vendor from Metlife to Sedgwick. Current claims will continue to work with Metlife and will automatically be transferred to Sedgwick. If you currently have an open claim then Sedgwick will send you a letter outlining anything you may need to do. For new claims in 2018 you will initiate immediately with Sedgwick and not Metlife. The number to file a claim will remain the same. That number is 1800 638-4228. There will be a new fax number. That number is 1 859 264 4384. Nothing has changed about the disability process. The only thing that has changed is the vendor for administration purposes
Board of Review decision reads as follows:
In sum, we conclude as a matter of law that the employer has established that the labor dispute caused a stoppage of work to the Company’s wireline business, within the meaning of General Law. We further conclude that the employer has not established that the labor dispute caused a stoppage of work to its wireless store in Everett.
The DUA’s determinations denying benefits to the six claimants employed by Verizon wireless are reversed. These 6 claimants are eligible for benefits for the weeks ending April 16th 2016 through June 4th 2016, if otherwise eligible.
The DUA’s determinations denying benefits to the remaining 4057 claimants are affirmed. These claimants are denied benefits for the weeks ending April 16th 2016 through June 4th 2016.
Submitted by the Massachusetts Board of Review Unemployment.
WHY WE WEAR "RED"
It has been a custom since 1989 for the members of the IBEW/CWA to show their solidarity by wearing red on Thursdays, but why and where did this day of red begin?
Well for one, it represents the color of blood that was lost in the strife to gain fair and equal rights for workers throughout the years. The day of red is also in remembrance of Gerry Horgan, CWA’s chief steward for Westchester County who died as a result of being struck by a car driven by the daughter of a second line manager as he worked a picket line in August 1989.
The red shirt brings together all of the IBEW/CWA members on one day a week. It gives a visual statement to management of the workers solidarity. The red shirt gives everyone a sense of unity and fellowship. The red shirt is also a visual reminder that checks and balances in the work place have to be maintained daily.
So next Thursday and every Thursday thereafter, if you are angered at the loss of jobs going off shore, WEAR RED.
Please contact everyone you know and ask them to WEAR RED. Talk to your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and members in your department. On Thursday, let's have a sea of RED in the work place. Just by wearing a RED shirt, or a RED dress, a RED hat, RED socks, a RED tie, or RED pants, you may be surprised with the results.
SO IF IT'S THURSDAY, WEAR RED!
Stay Safe: Storm Recovery Guidance
As we work to restore service to customers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we must work effectively in emergency conditions – constantly focused on safe practices.
To maintain the priority on safety:
Supervisors must make sure that Personal Protective Equipment and safety equipment has been provided, operational and calibrated.
All employees must follow all applicable Verizon safety procedures. Here are some critical reminders:
Get Started Safely
- Do not attempt to drive through water on a road. Turn around and go another way.
- Do not work in areas until power has been restored and a representative of the power company has verified.
- Conduct a pre-job survey to identify hazards and unsafe conditions.
Check Electrical Hazards
- Use your 188A/FVD or the voltage detector provided for your work on anything that may conduct electricity.
- Treat all electrical equipment, wires and cable as if they are energized. Always test for electricity.
- Do not replace or repair downed electrical wires, even if they appear to be de-energized.
- Maintain the OSHA-mandated minimum approach distance to electrical hazards. (Distance is dependent on voltage. The greater the voltage, the greater the distance.)
- Use insulating gloves and blankets according to approved work practice.
- Use caution while working at residences, knowing that the homeowners may have generators powering their homes.
- Be alert, and look to see if downed trees are in contact with power lines and our facilities.
Use Chain Saws Safely
- Only certified employees are permitted to operate chain saws.
- Always wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when operating chain saws.
- Do not use a gas-powered chain saw aloft.
- If you are in a bucket, you can use an electric chain saw. On a ladder or pole, you must use a hand saw.
- Always start a chain saw on the ground, do not drop start.
- Do not fell whole trees. Trim only to clear our cable.
- Never fill a hot engine with gasoline.
Questions? Call the Environmental, Health & Safety Hotline at 800-386-9639.
In Memory of Steve Buckman
April 16, 2006