After eight weeks of bargaining, CWA members at CenturyLink in the Orlando area reached a tentative agreement with the company covering 256 workers including improvements on job protections and working conditions, maintaining current benefits, and providing a 4.5% increase on wages during the life of the contract.
The COVID-19 pandemic raised challenges during bargaining, requiring the bargaining committee to conduct all meetings remotely using our audio/video technology instead of face-to-face. The local used out-of-the-box ideas to mobilize effectively during bargaining, including an electronic mobile billboard and a radio advertisement, which aired on two of the largest radio stations in the Orlando market.
Local 3176 President Greg Douglas said, “The membership sent a clear message to the company that as union members we have a collective voice and we are willing to use it.”
A contract ratification vote will be conducted between June 8-11.
An impassioned discussion was held today expressing the concerns of the membership how all the archaic and regressive proposals the company has on the table place no value on the employee but show that the company employee is a drain on the business. The entire bargaining team spoke loud and clear about our concerns that we have with safety issues related to the COVID 19 response providing PPE, the L2S program, contractor job assignment, working conditions, pay increases, and tech expectations. They continue to demand we give 110% all the time with no regard for our safety or our family and it is clear that the company sees our concerns as inconsequential to them and that a higher profit margin is the end goal of this bargaining session.
We are planning on meeting tomorrow with the company at 1:00 PM to continue bargaining and we are moving forward with mobilization with the petition drive as well as a mobile billboard sign that will be traveling down Hwy 436 in front of the CenturyLink Headquarters building.
The company has held a promise for over 46 years that they will always protect the union workers jobs from being cut in favor of outside contractors. But, since the merger of CenturyLink and Level 3, Jeff Storey has made movements to weaken the unions and replaces those workers with contractors. Enough is enough and its time we all say loudly that we will not standby quietly as we see our jobs removed which hurt our families but also our customers.
So, I just wanted to give everyone my opinion of what is happening at the bargaining table with CenturyLink. First off, its clear that the company is leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage to try and force the membership to accept ALL THE COMPANY TAKE AWAYS without truly bargaining. I have attend negotiations for the last 8 years and I have NEVER seen the company outright reject EVERY PROPOSAL the union has presented. Ive seen some tough negotiations session with the company, but they are actually using the fact that the state of Florida has a no gathering policy in place as a strategy to force their will because we cant, by lawful decree, gather to picket. This is why we must use other strategies, such as public notifications, to get the company to understand that their dirty and disgusting tactics are immoral and unethical and place the employees and its customers in harms way all for larger profit margins. its like dealing with a work baron from the 1930’s.
All we want is a fair contract with job protections and a fair wage. We are not trying to be a drain on the company. We want to see it succeed as everyone benefits from that success. The way I look at it, if the company can afford to pay one person $35 million dollars a year in just their base salary, they can give a sliver of that pie to our members. But at all cost, the company should ensure safety and job security to all its employees. Having highly qualified employees provide exceptional customer service is a bigger profit driver that using contractors who have zero loyalty to the company as they “are here today, gone tomorrow.”