Brothers & Sisters:
By now, the Bargaining Committee is in the process of packing and moving to Hoffman Estates for who knows how long. Bargaining will kick off Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at 10:00 am CST, with opening remarks from our District Vice President, Linda L. Hinton. As always, we would love to be able to bring the contract in on time. However, we have reason to believe, and fully expect, the Company to start in the “basement again”. If that’s the case, it will take some time to get them back to the ground floor to start real bargaining.
We all need to remember that this is our contract, and if we are not “all in” then, unfortunately, we get what we get – it’s a pretty simple concept.
I don’t know yet what the Company has on their wish list, but it is undoubtedly the usual long list of retrogressive demands. Since some of the other contracts, in other districts, have already agreed to higher health care cost shifting and expanded duties in some titles that will undoubtedly create additional headaches for your committee. As always, we will focus on our Midwest contract and our members’ requests.
I will stress again how important it is we get involved in mobilizing for this contract, and stay involved. It is important to remember that every mobilization activity, even the “silly” ones such as standing at our work-station; or, giving management the “CWA-clap”; or, turning our backs on management when they speak, are important. They are noticed by management, reported up the chain by management and they are effective. They are also safe from retaliation because they are permitted protected concerted activities under Federal labor law. There will also be times when mobilization activities (job-actions) need to happen “instantly”. In other words, if you hear of an activity, you should assume it is needed to further our position at the bargaining table and be prepared to join in. There is safety in numbers!
One last thing for now is bargaining reports. We learned a long time ago that we will never be able to satisfy everyone — either too many reports that say nothing, or not enough. What we are going to attempt to do is put out meaningful reports as there are things to report. No set schedule. You already know that, with AT&T, the first couple weeks are the dance steps and positioning. We will make every effort to get bargaining reports out through your lead stewards; much good information is passed at membership meetings as well! (Hint)
In summary, the Bargaining Committee needs all of our support and all of our continued efforts to present a unified front to AT&T management. Often, mobilization activities seem pointless, or even cause personal hardship. But, please know that our bargaining committee only asks our help in order to either move the Company off of a harmful position, or to encourage the Company to bargain toward a fair contract. Bargaining is the time we all put our personal issues aside and be united around our common goal of improving the lives of all of our members and families.
Ryan Letts, President
CWA Local 4034