Oct 252015

open_enrollment-200x230Brothers  & Sisters:

Now that the general membership meetings for the 3rd quarter are completed, I wanted to take time to address those members who were unable to attend for whatever reason and remind those who attended that Annual Enrollment is here. 

October 19th through October 30th is Annual Enrollment for active members.   There are multiple changes for 2016, therefore I recommend everyone gets engaged in their benefits and access Hewitt’s website, to determine what is best going to fit you and your family’s needs for the upcoming year.

When trying to determine what your needs may be several factors need to be determined, what is the monthly premium, deductibles and out of pocket expenses will be.  The website allows you to do side by side comparisons of the plans available to you.

The company medical sponsored plans have an option 1 and an option 2; the difference is in the upfront deductibles and out of pocket expenses for each plan.  If you are considering option 2, the deductible is integrated with the prescription plan therefore your prescription co-pays would not be applicable until you have satisfied the deductible first.  Also, if are choosing a family plan for option 2 there is no individual deductible and before the co-insurance  would apply the family deductible amount would need to be satisfied.

There are several HMO medical products available in the Midwest. Your options are determined by your home zip code.  For 2016 all HMO products available in Michigan have raised the deductibles and out of pocket maximum! So, again, engage in your benefits so you are making educated decisions.

The dental plan for 2016 has increased monthly premiums and the benefit levels remain the same.

The vision plan for 2016 is changing.  You will only have one option for vision; if you do not opt into the plan you will not have coverage.  The monthly premium has decreased and the benefit levels for the majority of the plan are richer so, this plan is an overall win.

No changes to the basic life and supplemental life options.  If you are adding or increasing supplemental life for yourself or an eligible dependent you may be required to submit an evidence of eligibility.

Flexible Spending Account is an account that you set aside pre-tax monies that are payroll deducted for reimbursement for eligible medical and or dependent care.  Keep in mind that you do not want to overfund this account; any unused money at the end of the year is forfeited.  If you participate in the FSA for 2015 and wish to continue you must positive report by selecting this option each as this plan does not roll over into the next calendar year.

This is just a brief over view for 2016. Please take ownership of your benefits and access the website.  Once you have selected your options I highly recommend printing the confirmation.  If you have issues in 2016 coverage options we will need the confirmation as proof of your elections.

I want to thank those of you who did attend the general membership meetings who received a more in depth coverage of annual enrollment, and for those of you who did not attend I look forward to seeing you at future upcoming meetings.

In Solidarity,

Pam Beach
Executive Vice President
CWA Local 4034


 Posted by at 10:39 pm
Oct 172014
open_enrollment-200x230The Company failed to notify the Union that they were changing the names of the negotiated Company plans. As a consequence, those who are currently on the Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO or HCN plans for 2014 are questioning if these plans have gone away. The answer is no, however the internal names that the company was using for those plans have changed; for 2015 they will be called the Midwest HCN or the Midwest PPO. However, these are the same Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois plans that were negotiated in 2012 bargaining – only the names are changed.
The significant changes for 2015 is the monthly premiums have increased as well as the out of pocket maximums are higher as outlined in the contract.
There are also rumors in the field regarding spousal contributions and monthly increases for medical plans for smokers.  This is not true for bargained-for employees.  It is our understanding that the Company has made significant changes to non-bargained and management plans and that only those employees are  effected by the above.
All members are encouraged to review, complete and print a copy of your 2015 Annual Enrollment elections. The printed copy will be the only way to rectify any Company mistakes on your health coverage.
The Hewitt website can be accessed through HR one stop or from home at
If there are any questions please feel free to call the hall and speak to your benefit representative.
 Posted by at 11:56 am
Dec 122013
HR - No skin in the game..

HR – No skin in the game..

We are sending this communication as a result of some confusion surrounding the proper procedure and employee rights regarding retiring with the last day on payroll of December 31, 2013. Apparently several AT&T HR managers have been putting out incorrect information. Since the information they are putting out may result in decisions being made by our members that negatively impacts them we want to clarify the issue and strongly urge that you share the information with your members, especially those contemplating retiring this year or next.

The incorrect information from HR surrounds an individual that wishes to retire and have this year’s (2013) interest rate for pension calculation, and also be eligible for next year’s (2014) vacation. HR is errantly telling people that if their last day on payroll is December 31, 2013 then their Benefit Commencement Date (BCD) is January 1, 2014which would mean that they could get the 2013 interest rate but would not be eligible for the 2014 vacation. THIS IS INCORRECT.  In the entire rest of the country and including management employees in the Midwest that statement is correct. However, bargained for employees in the Midwest region (both CWA and IBEW) are under a different definition. For these employees THE LAST DAY ON PAYROLL IS THE BENEFIT COMMENCEMENT DATE. Therefore, if a Midwest bargained for employee’s last day on payroll is December 31, 2013, their BCD is also December 31, 2013 which means that under the definitions in our Contract they are eligible for the 2013 interest rate for lump sum pension calculation as well as being eligible for their entire 2014 vacation(see Article 2, page 4 of the 2012 Contract Definitions; definition of vacation year) excluding EWD days. In addition, they MAY utilize paid excused time such as an EWD day on December 31st if they still have any available. That does not disqualify them from anything. HR is also telling employees that if they do this their last day on payroll is December 30th which is incorrect.

CWA District 4 is working through AT&T Labor to remedy this problem but again, we strongly encourage you to get this information to your friends who are potential retirees since they are all in the final stages of determining if, and when they will leave if they are retiring in the next few weeks and this information has a significant financial impact. Next year the interest rate to determine lump sum pensions goes to 100% Corporate Bond index and will no longer be a blend of that rate and the GATT rate we formerly used as a result of the Pension Protection Act. This may result in a lower amount for lump sum distributions and many retirement eligible employees are considering their options at this time.

We hope this helps to clarify the bad information being disseminated by AT&T HR.

 Posted by at 5:06 pm
Nov 282012

An important development in the administration of our new Dental Plan has been identified. CIGNA is indicating that in the new year, when we go to the new dental plan (for actives and future retirees only), the orthodontic lifetime maximum will completely reset and enrollees will be entitled to the entire $2,000.00 lifetime maximum in the new plan, above and beyond what they may have used of the current $1,600.00 maximum.

So, even those who were maxed out previously will have a new $2,000.00 limit for orthodontics. While this was not fully conveyed to us during bargaining it certainly makes that plan look even better than it already did. I’m sure our members that use this benefit will be very happy. I wanted to share this information with you so you can pass on an early Christmas present for those members that may have occasion to use this benefit.

 Posted by at 3:31 pm
Nov 052012

As a result of ongoing discussions surrounding retiree benefits, annual enrollment for retirees will be extended until November 30, 2012. In addition, another postcard, or an e-mail if that was the retiree’s preference, will be sent to all retirees informing them of the zero premium option as well as letting them know that even if they have already submitted their enrollment for 2013 they will be able to change their selections before November 30th.  Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:28 am
Oct 302012


Do NOT “do nothing!” Go to the website and complete your benefit enrollment!

When finished, PRINT OUT your confirmation of benefits! This is your proof of your choices come January 2013 after the Company screws things up!

Annual Enrollment for active members will start November 5, 2012 through November 16, 2012. As in the past this enrollment period will be paperless and it is mandatory that you utilize the website or call the benefit center at 877-722-0020 to enroll for 2013 benefits. As you know there have been significant changes to our 2013 benefits. Below is a brief summary for the Companysponsored plans; however at the time of this writing I do not have any details to any HMO offerings. Therefore it is important for each and every one of us to go over benefit options for 2013.  Continue reading »

 Posted by at 3:26 pm
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