News

AT&T Legacy T 2012 Contract Q&As

This is the first of a series of “Q and A’s” we will be posting as questions come in.   There will be a second Q and A answering questions specifically on Health Care.  

Questions and Answers #1
2012 AT&T Legacy T Summary of Tentative Agreement 

WAGES:   

Q. What happens to the retroactive wages for anyone that left the company voluntarily or retired after expiration, but before ratification?
A. You have to be on active payroll at ratification to be eligible for the retroactive wage increase.

EMPLOYMENT SECURITY: 

Q. Is the “no-layoff until April 1, 2013” retroactive? Will anyone laid off between expiration & TA will be brought back to payroll?
A. There was no one laid off between expiration and ratification. Terms and temps are not covered under the no layoff language since they were originally hired for a set period.  

Q. Can you please explain the watermark better?
A. The is the number of bargained for workers under the Legacy T agreement the company MUST maintain fior the duration of the contract, even if the decline is due to retirements, VTPs, or death (in addition to layoffs or transfers out of our unit to other AT&T jobs). If the numbers go below that, the company has to hire. We have a current headcount of 5453.  We are protecting a higher percentage of our workforce than we did in the last contract.  In 2009 we protected a little under 60%.  We are protecting significantly more than that this time.

Q. Is the 800 maximum involuntary layoffs for the length of the entire contract?
A. Yes.  This part protects only against INVOLUNTARY layoffs (including those who turn down JOG). It does not cover temps and terms that are work completed.

Q. Are the layoffs only a maximum total of 800 across all titles, regions, etc. of members covered by our contract? (i.e. 800 Credit Reps, 800 Operators, 800 Tech)
A, No. It is the total layoffs combined. 

JOG (JOB OFFER GUARANTEE):

Q. Does this mean those people that were hired PRIOR TO or ON 04/07/12?
A. It covers anyone “on payroll" on or before April 7, 2012.

Q. Can you explain selection criteria?
A. You must be basically qualified for a job in order for it to be considered for your Job Offer.  However, if there is a test and you REFUSE to take it, you lose your eligibility.  If you take it and fail it, they have to offer you a job you are qualified for.

Q. Can the company try to force us into low paying Mobility jobs if we are laid off?
A. No, Mobility jobs are not part of the Job Offer Guarantee.  However, people can now transfer voluntarily into Mobility via the National Transfer Plan.

SUCCESSORSHIP:

Q. When was it removed?  Is this the company’s way of telling us they are going to spin long distance off?
A. It was removed from the Contract in 2009 and the UNION demanded it be restored.  We have no knowledge of any sale but there have been several in the last few years (for example, Verizon rural properties were sold to Frontier and Qwest was sold to CenturyLink.)  While there are protections under the law, given the current anti-Union legislation being passed in so many states, we felt we needed the protection.

NEW SUBCONTRACTING/BARGAINING UNIT WORK SUBCOMMITTEE LETTER:

Q. Is this in addition to the A43 Subcontracting Subcommittee?
A. Yes. The Article 43 Subcontracting Subcommittee will continue to exist.

Q. What was the purpose or intent of this language as negotiated?
A. The purpose of this committee will be to meet with heads of business units every quarter.  Discussions will include work that has been contracted out, off-shored, sent to management, non-badged employees.  The intent of this committee will be to bring work back into our bargaining unit.  This language DOES NOT replace Letter K, the Bahr-Williams agreement, or Article 30 language.

Q. Who will attend those meetings?
A. The Vice-President of the T&T office, a staff member and one other Union representative (like a Local President) who is familiar with the issue discussed who will be appointed by CWA.  The Company will have a Labor Relations person and a senior decision maker from the Business Unit being discussed.  Either side can request Subject Matter Experts.  

PENSIONS: 

Q. Why was it determined that those over 55 receive additional money when the majority of the workers in that age group are already pension eligible?
A. The $2400 to all the CBA accounts was to improve them for people who have a while to go to get to retirement so there is time to build up their accounts.  The over 55 and 60 have a shorter window before retirement and needed to be an extra amount put into their accounts immediately to improve their payout.   

CASH BALANCE PROGRAM #2:

Q. Why didn’t we get rid of CBA2?  Just one more way to divide the few members we have left, by creating 2 tiers of CBA & Benefits.
A.  That was a Union demand we could not achieve.  The initial company demand was to move all our CBA people into CBP2 with no additional money.

SAVINGS PLAN:

Q. Please explain the ROTH option.
A. It is an option under US law that is generally not taxed, provided certain conditions are met.  It allows a tax reduction on a limited amount of saving for retirement.  The Roth IRA's principal difference from most other tax advantaged retirement plans is that, rather than granting a tax break for money when it is placed into the plan, the tax break is granted on the money withdrawn from the plan during retirement.  You must leave your money in it for 5 years.  Federal guidelines only allow you to invest $17,000 annually in Roth.

Q. Does this mean that the match went from 66% to 75%?
A. Yes, except for people in CBP2 (hired after 2009) who were already in this plan with an 80% match (which was done in 2009 to try to partly compensate for the lower pension plan).  They will keep their 80% match.

Q. Is there a change to the matched % cap of 6%?
A. That is unchanged.

Q. Who will administer the plan?
A. Fidelity, the same as currently.  

Q. What will happen to the current 401K loans?  Do the changes impact them at all?
A. No. They will be moved over.

Q. Will you please provide details on Brokerage account, like limits to our investments under the plan administrator?  Where can we find that information in writing?
A. This change opens up the opportunity to invest in thousands of funds

SUCCESS SHARE PLAN:

Q. What happens if the stock price goes down as of September 30?
A. We keep what we got and will only get the dividend.  We will not have to give anything back.  That’s the advantage.  We got the benefit of the increased stock price but will not have return it if it goes down.

Q. Is the $1323 guaranteed or does the stock have to meet a certain performance level to ensure that payment?
A. This payment is guaranteed if we ratify by Aug. 17.

Q. What is the additional amount our payment will go up if stock improves September 30?
A. It depends on how much it goes up.  If it goes up an additional $1, we will get an additional $150.

Q. Do you get the HRA money even if you are in an HMO?
A. Yes, and if you do not take medical through the company, you will receive a check (minus taxes).  There is no cash option for those in the medical plan.

Q. Where does the money go if I do not take the company’s medical plan? 
A. If you are not in the plan, it is paid out in cash.

FUTURE SSP PAYMENTS:

Q. Does the SSP cover everyone, or just those hired pre-April 2012 or pre-April 2009?
A. Everyone as long as they meet the eligibility requirements of being on payroll at the beginning and end of the award year and on the payroll at least 3 months of the award year (same as the current agreement).

Q. Are the terms of the SSP in relation to dividends and stock price increases the same as the 2009 contract? 
A. For award year 2013, 2014 and 2015 we will receive the stock price portion but not the dividend.

ARTICLE 20 - ABSENCE:

Q. Does this impact FMLA or pay for FMLA approved days?
A. FMLA protects against disicpline and negative impacts.  It does not require payment.  For pay purposes, FMLA days are treated just like any other personal illness absence.

Q. Does this change AT&T’s attendance policy?  (Meaning people won’t get disciplined if they are under the amount of paid sick days in a year?)
A. We have never bargained an attendance policy in terms of discipline.  The pay treatment should have no impact on the company’s policy.  If someone is unjustly disciplined we will continue to fight it using “reason, record and circumstance.”

Q. Why was this such a big deal for the company?
A. Several locations are impacted because of a very high rate of absence.  Some centers average 33 days gone per employee.  There was a danger of these centers being targeted for closing because of excessive absence.  Last year 73% of employees had less than 7 days absent, and in that 37% had perfect attendance.  Over 40% of our unit has over 25 years service and will have no maximum number of days (no change from the present contract.)  

Q. Does disability still kick in on the 8th calendar day of consecutive illness?
A. Yes. There is no change to the disability plan. 

Q. Can you please explain the disability exception letter?
A. For one time during the life of the agreement, if an employee has used up all or part of their paid days and has unpaid days leading up to an approved disability, those days will be paid.  For example: If I am entitled to 7 paid days; I have used 4 of them; I go out sick for 5 days and then begin a disability, I will use my 3 remaining paid days and, in addition, the company will pay the remaining 2 days.

Q. Are the absences under the new Illness pay still chargeable?
A. Yes.

Q. Do we have to use a personal vacation day or holiday before sick time is paid?
A. No.

Q. Can you explain “wait” days?
A. There is no change from the current language.  People with less than three years service get paid “after the second full consecutive scheduled day of work not worked due to personal illness absence…”   There are two “wait days” prior to getting paid.

ARTICLE 23 - HOLIDAYS: 

Q. The way this is written causes confusion.  Has the Union now designated it as a holiday? 
A. No.  Any Local that designates holidays can now designate the Day After Thanksgiving.  It is up to your Local.  If the Local does not designate it as a holiday, an individual can still make it a fixed holiday under the new language.

Q. Did the company give us an additional HF day to use?  Or we will use one of our HF days in order to get the Day after Thanksgiving off(so we essentially lost a Holiday)?
A. You didn’t lose any days.  You get a day to designate a fixed holiday.  If you chose not to designate one of those days, you get an additional floater.

Q. Why was this such a big deal?  Is it a set up like the Mobility contract where all employees have to work the Day after Thanksgiving & they don’t want to pay double time and a half?
A: This is different.  If you or your Local designate it and you are scheduled to work, you will get holiday pay (double time and a half).

Q. How does this work?  Can the Company can say the day is full and refuse to allow you to pick it as a ”fixed holiday?”
A. No, they have to grant it to you.  There is no “bogie” for that day.  If they schedule you to work, you get holiday pay.

Q. When does this become effective?  2013?  We have already selected vacation for 2012.
A. It goes into effect for the 2013 vacation selection period.

Q. Do I pick my “holiday” during vacation selection?  And can I change that every year?
A. Yes. 

NATIONAL TRANSFER PLAN:

Q. When will the change in The National Transfer Plan be effective?  Do we have to wait until everyone has an agreement like we had to wait 18 months for East last time?
A. Immediately after ratification (assuming there are jobs to be listed.)

Q. Is there a pecking order in the NTP?  Does wireline get prioity placement over mobility?
A. No one gets priority.  The NTP gets current employees consideration for jobs before people being hired off the street.  It also allows current employees to transfer under other contracts without losing service or having to quit and get rehired.  Mobility was previously not able to transfer into jobs under other contracts.

TUITION ASSISTANCE (TAP):

Q. How is the TAP lifetime maximum applied if someone is currently in a class, but over the limit?  When does the lifetime max start?  We have some people already close to it and others over the CAP in the middle of degree programs. 
A. Expenses for classes that are already completed and for classes that start prior to 01/01/13 will not be counted against the lifetime caps.  The caps are being implemented on a going forward basis only, relative to expenses for classes that start on or after 01/01/2013.

ALLIANCE:

Q. Will this change what the Aliance covers or Alliance policies?
A. No.  Those decisions are not contractual.  They are decided by the Alliance Board which is made up of representatives of the CWA, IBEW, AT&T, and Alcatel-Lucent.

Q. Does the A43 certification budget come out of this money?  Or is that separate?
A. Article 43 Certification training is part of the overall $6Million budget.

Q. Will new hires & tems continue to be eligible for Alliance pre-paid tuition?
A. Eligibility is not changing.

OTHER:

Q. I have heard the phrase “we will be better off at the end of the agreement than we were at the beginning”.  What job titles were you referring to?  How was that calculated?
A.  That is true for all titles.  It is based on the fact that, if you add up the total new dollars each employee will receive, there is an improvement for all employees covered under this agreement (even after deducting the increase in health care costs).