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7/13/12- Altura Bargaining Update
Print Icon Posted On: Jul 16, 2012

The week of June 5th Bob Kniefel, Jeff Stewart, and Terry Sheehan met with Altura management for the first time. The company explained to your bargaining team, that Altura is in a financial fix. They are telling us that in order to stay profitable, major changes in the contract need to be made.

Their biggest problem is Avaya and the way they restructured their company.   Avaya increased their pricing by 20% -25% on all sales. Every year Altura has to pay Avaya a fee for every piece of equipment they service and for the right to call Avaya for technician support.  These are costly expenses for Altura.

Management is saying there are areas that are very slow and others that are busy.  Altura is looking at ways to reduce costs to stay afloat.

Training is another area of concern. Your bargaining team feels Avaya has not done a good job here. Management wants us to believe it’s your responsibility to schedule time to set up training.  They also believe you should get training on your own time. The company wants to change contract language to require employees to pass all manufacturing certifications tests in addition to the CTP training courses.

Your bargaining team feels it’s the management’s responsibility to set up all training courses and a road map to get to all these certifications, based on technology in each specific area. We feel it is management’s responsibility to set up the time and place for your training and that it shouldn’t have to be completed on your own time.

We need to get as much training as possible, whether it’s hands on or in a class room environment because technology is taking off at such a fast rate.  We want training so Altura will let us perform the work instead of utilizing non-union sub-contractors or TAC-Professional Services.

According to management, there are union technicians who are doing everything they can to avoid complex training courses.  Management claims it’s putting the company in a financial fix forcing them to have technicians from other areas or non-union TAC group employees to go into these areas to perform the work. This is a big expense for the company.  We don’t know if this is true but if it is we feel our members are making a big mistake by not getting the training.  Technology will pass us by if we fail to adapt.

After the recent bargaining sessions this is where we are:

We are still stuck on Article 3 - Subcontracting, Article 4 - Technician Bargaining Unit Work, Article 6 - Lay Off  Language & Severance pay, Article 25 - Performance Standards and Training.

Article 3 - Subcontracting

The company wants the right to contract out work exclusively performed by bargaining unit employees even if it will directly cause layoffs of regular employees by eliminating bullet point three.

The Union wants to stand on current language.

Article 4 - Technician Bargaining Unit Work

The company wants to eliminate the language and add that there is no exclusive bargaining work.

The union wants to stand on current language.

Article 16 Layoff and Severance

Layoff Language - Management wants to change the language to read – based on qualifications, skills and experience.  The company wants to pick and choose who gets laid off, and not use seniority.  They want to layoff even if employees didn’t have a chance or opportunity to receive certification training.

The union wants to stand on current language. Training is a major problem. The bargaining team feels management has NOT trained our people very well, while the bosses blame the training problem on technicians.

Severance – Altura wants to limit severance pay to a maximum of 26 weeks.

The union wants to stand on current language.  Your bargaining team also wants to change the language to read if Altura wrongfully lays off a member and you sign the severance package letter the union wants the right to grieve and arbitrate for just cause.

Article 25 - Performance Standards & Training

Management wants to change the language to read – Our technicians need to take and pass all manufacturing certification training classes. They want to change the time provided to take these classes from 1.5 times to 1.0 time the number of hours recommended.   The company wants to remove the $500 incentive if a technician takes the CTP classes on their own and pass the class.

The bargaining team feels we, as union members need to keep up on all technology if we want to prevail here but NOT at the expense of GUTTING our contract. The company is blaming us when they have not done their job training their technicians.

The bargaining team wants to stand on current language OR we are willing to work with the company by forming a committee to discuss setting up a road map so our members can get the training needed to get certified. 

Health Care

Your bargaining team has submitted a Health Care package supplied by the IBEW.  There are two plans with coverage provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. They are very comparable to what you pay now but with more coverage.

Plan #1  

Medical - 85% covered after deductible.

Dental - Same but with MET Life.

Vision- Same with VSP.

Plan #2

Medical - 100% covered after deductible.

Vision & Dental same as above.

Both plans cover prescriptions.

Name brands 100% covered after deductible.

Generics 100% covered.

Your bargaining team needs your support. It’s time to turn up the heat.  We need you to go to your managers and tell them you want a FAIR CONTRACT.   We are prepared to help Altura stay afloat but not at the expense of gutting the contract! Divided we beg divided we fall.  Together we will succeed in getting a fair contract.

In Solidarity,

Terry Sheehan

Bob Kniefel

Jeff Stewart  

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