Feb 022016

IRS-Tax-Refund-300x207We have received a few calls regarding the new 1095-C form that you will be receiving from AT&T. You should have received a letter from AT&T stating that it would be sent to you in late January. However, on December 28, 2015 the IRS extended the due dates for large employers to send these forms. Large employers have until March 31, 2016 to get these forms to you. Below, we quote from the IRS website (follow the link for additional information):

Some taxpayers may not receive a Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2015 tax return. While the information on these forms may assist in preparing a return, they are not required. Individual taxpayers will generally not be affected by this extension and should file their returns as they normally would.

Consult your tax professional for more information regarding this.

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, http://resources.hewitt.com/att 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
Apr 072015

you are the unionMonday proved to be another non-productive day of negotiations.  The Company continues to hold their positions on each of the major issues…all are retrogressive.  It appears the Company is struggling with how bargaining is supposed to work and what it takes to put together a deal.

Every member needs to let their managers know that this one-sided effort at the table is unacceptable and we will do whatever it takes to get the Company to move in the right direction.  The mobilization coordinators will be in contact with our locals…it’s time to step it up!  SOLIDARITY!

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 http://resources.hewitt.com/att.
If there are any questions please feel free to call the hall and speak to your benefit representative.
 Posted by at 11:56 am
Oct 152014

Health Reimbursement AccountThe closing stock price (September 30th) marks the end of the 2014 SSP Award Year.  Per the terms of MOA A6: Success Sharing Plan, found on page 109 of the Agreement between the Company and the CWA District 4, this year’s Award was based on the Stock Appreciation Value plus the Dividend Rate Value.  The Beginning Award Value of the October 1, 2013 closing AT&T stock price was $34.06 and the Ending Award Value of the September 30, 2014 AT&T closing stock price was $35.24.  As a result, the Stock Appreciation Value component of the SSP for this Award Year will pay out.  Additionally, the Award also includes a Dividend Rate Value component for dividends declared during the Award Year, the last of which was just declared on Friday (Sep 26th).  All dividends declared in this Award Year were for $0.46 per share.

The total payout for the 2014 SSP Award Year is $453.00 per eligible* employee (150 success units x (($35.24 – $34.06 = $1.18 Stock Appreciation) + (0.46 declared dividend quarterly x 4 = $1.84))).


*An eligible employee is only eligible for the SSP HRA Award if she/he is a regular, temporary or term employee who (A) is on the payroll on both the beginning and ending dates of the Award Year, (B) works for a minimum of three (3) months within the Award Year in a position covered by the CWA District 4/AT&T Midwest Collective Bargaining Agreement, and (C) is enrolled in a Company-sponsored medical plan on the HRA crediting date for that year. Employees who meet the conditions in (A) and (B) but not (C) will be paid a lump-sum in cash.

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
Dec 062013
AT&T Plan For Landlines

AT&T Plan For Landlines

Brothers and Sisters, 

I am reaching out to you about the recent Senate Bill (SB636) that was just passed by the Michigan Senate late today.  
As was discussed at the Executive Board Meeting we had on Tuesday, all concerned parties were in a state of playing cat and mouse with the Michigan Senate on this bill.  This item was not placed on the Senate Committee Agenda until the end of business Monday, just one day prior to the meeting of the Energy and Technology Committee that is chaired by Sen. Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek).
Tuesday, that next day, SB636 was voted to be moved out of committee to the Senate Floor for overall approval, by an 8 to 1 vote.  Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) was Continue reading »
Dec 182012

We are informed that an additional $372 has been deposited into active hra-imageemployees’ Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA’s). As with the Flexible Spending Account (FSA), the HRA can be accessed by going to shps.com and signing in (if this is the first time using this benefit, you must register a new account first).

This money brings to a total of $1695 for the year as our bargained-for Success Share Plan (SSP), $1323 of which was distributed earlier this year after ratification of the Tentative Agreement. These monies are for eligible employees as defined in the contract:

  • The award year for this year’s pay-out is from October 3, 2011 through September 28, 2012.
  • Employees must have been on payroll (i.e. not on disability and were hired-in by) at the beginning- and end-dates* (October 3, 2011 & September 28, 2012); and,
  • Employees must have worked a minimum of three months during the award year

As always, if there are questions please call the Hall and ask to speak to your benefit rep.


*Eligible employees who are on approved leaves of absence or short-term disability absence and meet the other eligibility requirements on the ending date of the award year shall receive a contribution, provided they return to duty on or before December 31 of the year in which the contribution is made.

Dec 122012
Click here to find a VSIPP form for you to submit if you plan on retiring in the next couple of months. As we wait to find out the published results that will be used for calculating the pension payouts in 2013, it looks as if retiring after Dec. 31st, 2012 will be better financially than retiring in 2012.
We also have another surplus timeline that is currently taking place which affects another 23 of our members in the Consumers work-group in Grand Rapids, and this is in addition to 9 members that we already have on the Employment Security Commitment (ESC).
This timing may be perfect to be able to place some of our members into jobs here locally, as well as helping retiring members leave with extra money. Management is required to pull a VSIPP list after January 2, 2013 due to the current surplus that is taking place. After the list is pulled, the company will start matching up those in jeopardy of losing their jobs with those that are looking to leave.
We should be made aware of the rates used to calculate 2013 pension payouts on or about December 17th, so watch this space!
If you have any questions, please feel free to call your Union Hall.
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
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