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Saturday, September 28, 2013

the more intense wait

vote is in... 54% NO, 46 % yes, and the tentative contract is rejected.

CTL workers in the old 14-state Qwest area, who were former Qwest/US West contracted, are now in the 96 day cooling-off period, working through October 3rd at this point.

this is a time of checking medicine cabinets and getting things ordered that you can.  I'm in pretty good shape for everything except the asthma stuff, which I messaged my doctor about.  get it refilled while I've still got time.

there are cracks in the clouds... the company could impose the new contract, which is acceptable for some of us.  there could be quick renegotiations to patch the worse hits and a revote, in which case we would continue the old contract day by day, as we have for 12 months.

or CTL could impose some rancid piece of crap like "two bucks a month and all the abuse we can dish out," in which case we'd just walk out.  they could lock us out.

I think the district 7 website will get close to melting down over the week.  there will be busy signals at the locals' progress numbers.

in the meantime, however, we just get 'er dun.  our last CEO in Qwest was quite fond of the Bell System painting series "Spirit of Service," and that's how we do our jobs.  that won't change.

there are a lot of anti-union consultants giving companies the same old bash-em, smash-em, be glad you're not in Bangladesh mimeo sheets on how to kick worker butt.  CTL gets those services.

the only way to protect ourselves as workers is to be Union Strong, all day long.

and if I have to put my 6 red shirts in the back of the closet and reach for the snake shirts, I can do that.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Another long wait

the vote is in on the CenturyLink contract, but not counted.  that doesn't happen until deadline passes for locals to report their totals, at 1700 mdt.

I may have been the only one in the building to have voted for it, so the second shoe could drop pretty quickly.

if ratified, families on the CTL plan take a drubbing.  singles, a trim, not a haircut.  there are givebacks in the health care, which are allegedly to be made up by annual bonuses about equal to the loss.  however, the bonuses are taxed at income rate, so it's still a loss.  field tech categories actually get guaranteed minimum percentages of the work, which should be a win for the outside crews.

but negotiations went nowhere, and finally, the lawyers on both sides tossed out silliness to get an agreement for voting.  I am of course not providing much for detail, because it's not my place.  we did much worse than ATT did in their contract.

and so, with projects always ready to start and training and stuff, I wait.  yes, that stuff stays inside.  I am on overtime lists for the weekend, too, and so my 3-day weekend is not being planned and used efficiently.

that's life in the big city.

so if it's ratified, I have savings I can pile into some bills.

if not ratified, the company has the right I'm told to implement any old damn thing they want.  they could pat the tentative agreement and say "take it."  they could say "well, two bucks a day and all the abuse you can eat."

the union national office has the ability to say "shove that, we're out."  they also have the ability to restart negotiations, say they'll work under the imposition and allow it to be binding, or whatever.  they went into negotiations 14 months ago with a strike vote under their arms.

this could also be a stepping stone.  negotiators have been going to every local they can schedule saying there are a lot of little bitty COs within our 14 state territory that have the ability to come into our contract, which is better than anything they're working under as former United/Sprint/Embarq offices.  that would substantially increase bargaining power in 3 years.

lot of nervous-sounding low talk in the hallways Thursday.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Am I the only one who caught the big steal?

Heading into the Labor Day weekend, Verizon announced it was buying the 45% of their wireless phone system from Vodafone they didn't own.  The Brits sneaked in through buying Airtouch from PacBell and Qwest in the early 2000s, because they couldn't afford to upgrade the system to 2G.

Ever since, Vodafone has been glomming 7 billion dollars from the partnership by, basically, just sitting and whistling.  That's double what Verizon averages to upgrade the network each year.

Well, the big steal became apparent Monday.  See, Verizon is issuing half of $130 billion in stock, and borrowing the rest.  The stock, of course, goes to Vodafone.  So does the cash.  Highway robbery in the extreme.

The best part: Vodafone has announced of the $130 billion, the second largest M&A in history, they are slipping $86 billion to their shareholders.  Cash-starved European wireless and cable operator, and they are piecing off the stock market with 2/3 of the take.

Bastards tripled and soaked in oil.

I would like to see the SEC bar the transaction as excessive profit, not earned.  Not even close.  You have to go to the "too big to fail" banks that almost took down the economy to find a bigger ripoff.

And the bastards are STILL not out of the vault because of all that stock!

Geez, I thought the banksters were crooks.