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Michelle Agne

April 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

Zaida Menendez (CSSC) Greg Farrer (CZTll) and I met with Debbie Bickel (Labor) and Nancy Rodriguez (HR) to cover our 2015 goals for the IBEW824/Verizon Stress Committee. Our goal is educated our members on the services that EAP offers. I will list just a few of the many that they provide.

Telephone & Referral Services - Employees and household members can call Anthem EAP for information, referrals, and crisis assistance whenever you need them – 24/7. Callers will speak directly with an EAP counselor, no busy signal or automated attendant.

Face-to-face Counseling Visits - You can receive up to 5 face-to-face visits per issue per year, at no cost. You will be connected to a local qualified and reputable provider in the Anthem EAP network.

Legal & Financial Referral & Consultation – You can receive a referral and telephone consultation free of charge for legal or financial concerns like divorce, financial planning, or credit issues. Should you wish to retain the attorney, ongoing services are provided at a preferred rate reduction of 25% from the attorney’s normal hourly rate.

Website Resources – You can visit EAP website at www.anthem.com/eap/verizon. Thee website provides extensive EAP and work/life information with links to tools and resources as well as thousands of current articles and tips on managing personal and professional situations. The site includes interactive tools such as health and wellness quizzes, self-assessments, podcast, seminars and much more.

The IBEW824/Verizon Stress Committee will be setting up a short presentation at the outside plant Safety Rodeos. We will also be setting up a table for inside plant at the health fair. We are still looking for one more member to participate on this committee. If you are interested in this please give me a call.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

March 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

Carrie Shipp, Chief Steward in the DRC, Stewards Carla Callahan and Trina Harris and I met with Joey Santiago. Joey advised us that they will be going forward in combining the Expedites and Dispatchers schedules to form one work group. Joey explained that several dispatchers have been trained over the last month in Expedites and several members in Expedites have been trained on the Dispatch process. Joey committed to continue the training process until everyone is train on each job function.

I would like to remind you of the Metlife process.  Metlife is a vendor for processing STD (Short Term Disability) and FMLA. They however are separate groups and don’t communicate with each other. FMLA protects our time Metlife approves our STD claims.

You may need to have both sets of paperwork filled out if you are going to be out more than 3 working days. It is crucial that we verify with the physician’s office that they will fill out FMLA/Metlife paperwork before we start seeing them.   

If you have a scheduled surgery you can open your claim and have it approved prior to the surgery date. You need to call Metlife (800.638.4228) and open a claim prior to the paperwork being sent from your doctor’s office.  I recommend that you write the claim number on the top of the paperwork prior to them sending it. After, the paperwork is sent make sure that the doctor’s office saves the fax confirmation sheet. 

It typically takes Metlife 3-5 days to review a claim. After your claim is opened you will be assigned a case manager. Case managers are supposed to make contact with members after the claim is approved.  

If you don’t hear from then I recommend that you reach out to them. If they aren’t available please leave a message. Case managers must return your call within 2 hours if you call before 3pm. If you still don’t hear from them then please call me so I can escalate your claim.

It is important to know that Metlife typically only approves 30 days at a time. If you are going to be out beyond the 30 days we need to keep up with the expiration date and make a request to our doctors that they send in the necessary paperwork to get it extended prior to the expiration so you will get paid on time.

If you are having any issues with FMLA, Metlife or Payroll give me a call. I have samples on how the forms need to be filled out or I can assist you with any problems that you may be experiencing.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

 

January 2015

Brothers and Sisters, 

As we start the New Year I would like to remind you on some FMLA changes or things that you might not be aware of.  We still need the Metlife Attending Physician Forms filled out if you are out more than 3 consecutive days.   

Who is Eligiable?

If you have been employed for at least 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours during the 12 months immediately proceeding the first day of leave (this averages to about 25 hours per week over 12 months). Hours counted towards the 1250 do not include vacation, medical leave, or time off under employee compensation. 

What is a “Serious Health Condition?”

The FMLA regulations define qualifying serious health conditions as an illness, injury or physical or mental condition that involves one or more of the following:

·      A hospital stay of at least one night;

·      Incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days(not necessarily  

  workdays and continuing treatment by a health care provider).

·      Incapacity due to a serious chronic disorder which requires periodic visits for treatment (for example asthma, diabetes, chronic back pain).

·      Incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care.

·      Long term or permanent disability.

·      An absence to receive multiple treatments for restorative surgery after an injury or to prevent a period of capacity of more than 3 consecutive days.

What is meant by “incapacity”?

Incapacity means the inability to perform one essential function of your job, or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment there of, or recovery there from.

What is meant by “treatment”?

·      

Treatment by a healthcare provider on a least one occasion, which results in a regimen of treatment

·      

Treatment on two or more occasions by a healthcare provider within 30 days of the first day of incapacity, unless extenuating circumstances exist

·      

The first or only visit to the healthcare provider must take place within 7 days of the incapacity 

Does a healthcare provider have to be a licensed physician?

No. The FMLA regulations define “health care provider” fairly broadly. The term not only includes physicians but also optometrists, osteopaths, chiropractors, podiatrist, dentists, clinical psychologists, Christian Science practitioners, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and clinical social employees (if authorized under state law to diagnose and treat serious health conditions without supervision), and other providers recognized by the employer or group health plan. 

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

    

December 2014

Brothers and Sisters,

Carrie Shipp, Chief Steward in DRC, Stewards Carla Callahan, Trina Harris and I met with Joey Santiago. Joey advised us that the TPA score for 2014 4th quarter in the DRC are great. Joey stated that 5 out of 6 metrics are being met now. Joey stated that with all of the system changes and new work it has been challenging and credits some of the success to the excellent partnership that Carrie, Trina and Carla have established with management. I too wanted to take the time to thank these ladies as well. They have worked tirelessly to assist our members and do a fantastic job. Joey advised us that the goals in 2015 is to get dispatchers trained so they can form one work group and to have coaches able to spend more time with their teams and assist with system issues.

I am working with Labor to get a meeting for the IBEW824/Verizon Stress Committee. We have a vacancy available on this committee. If this is something that you would be interested in participating in please contact me. 

PLEASE remember that management is VERY active on premise visits. We have been advised that several members are not home when management are conducting these visits. If you call out sick and leave for a doctor’s appointment or go to the pharmacy you need to call your coach. If you have any questions about the confinement policies please see your steward or contact me.   

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!  Author Unknown

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

November 2014

Brothers and Sisters,

I have had several calls over the last month concerning our HRA accounts. We have had several members that have had their cards deactivated after the payment was taken. When we received our cards a letter was attached:

 

Save your documents. Save all itemized receipts for eligible health care expenses. While most debit card transactions can be automatically substantiated, some debit card transactions do require documentation to validate that the purchase is for an eligible health care expense. In addition, if you submit a claim online, via fax, or by mail, you will be required to provide documentation to validate your eligible expenses. Itemized receipts must include date of service/purchase, type of service or product name, amount paid, name of person, and provider or organization providing the service or product. An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance carrier is generally the best document to use for substantiation. 

 

After the documentation was sent to verify that the transaction was a health care expense the card was restored. On the IBEW824 website there is a link to List of Eligible Expenses. When you look up the services it states if they will need documentation or not. If you are experiencing any of these issues please contact me so I can assist you.

 

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org

October 2014

Brothers and Sisters,
 

I have continued to receive several calls concerning work place accommodations. I was advised in January that the company is in the process of re-evaluating all work place accommodations in Florida. If you don’t have a current approved modification on file the company is asking for you to get that cared for. If you are in need of an accommodation, ask your supervisor for one. Have the supervisor fill their portion of it out, then take the forms to your doctor have them fill their portion and fax it in yourself. You need to save your fax confirmation sheet for your records. A few days later you should receive confirmation from the Verizon accommodations team on the approval or denial. If you need any assistance please call me and I will help you with this process.

I also reported a couple of months ago that we were having some issues with management giving craft members managements FMLA or Metlife forms. This continues to happen. The wrong forms can delay your approval and make the process more stressful than it has to be. If you need a copy of these forms please go to IBEW824.org. 

Open enrollment for benefits will be October 21st – November 4th please go to www.verizonbenefitsconnection.com to verify that everything is correct. If any changes are made make sure that you print those out and keep a copy for your records. If you need any assistance let me know.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org

 

September 2014

Brothers and Sisters,

I have had several calls over the last month concerning EyeMed. A couple of members called into the Verizon benefits center and were told they can get a new pair of glasses under EyeMed regardless if they have gotten a new pair in the past 12/24 months. We escalated this issue due to the fact at the bargaining table we were advised by the company that the 24 month cycle would not start over, it was just a vendor change from Davis Vision to EyeMed. The company advised that history from Davis Vision was not transferred over to EyeMed so the 12/24 month period started over effective August 1, 2014. 

Bargaining for Comcast Direct Sales Representatives will begin on September 23, 2014. Deborah Hernandez one of the DSR’s, Robert Prunn and I will be serving on this committee. We have been working diligently to get information and proposals ready.

I reported in June that Verizon Plus members were advised that the University and Town and Country stores will be closing September 30, 2014. This is not a force adjustment. An ISP was offered to RSC’s and IHD reps in Verizon Plus. RSC’s in the affected stores will be able to move to the Brandon or Carrollwood Stores. The FNFT and IHD reps in the Tampa area will return to the locations that they came from prior to being assigned to Verizon Plus. October 5th, the 5 Remaining Verizon Plus stores will be called Verizon Experience Stores. Robert was notified this week that the Company was agreeing with the Union to upgrading the RSC’s, which are currently in wage schedule (A-5), to Customer Contact Sales Associate, which are wage schedule (D1A). After reviewing all of the new responsibilities and the training that will be involved, new job descriptions were created and a new Memorandum of Agreement was signed and will go into effect October 5th, 2014. I have visited several of the stores over the last month and will continue that this month as well.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

August 2014

Brothers and Sisters,

A couple of months ago I reported on some changes and thing that you might not be aware of with the FMLA process. This month I would like to update you on the Metlife process. Metlife is the vendor for processing STD (Short Term Disability) and FMLA. They however, are separate groups and don’t communicate with each other. FMLA protects our time Metlife approves our STD claim.

You have to have both sets of paperwork filled out if you are going to be out more than 3 working days. It is very important that we verify with the physician’s office that they fill out FMLA/Metlife forms before we start seeing them.

If you have a scheduled surgery you can do your claim and have it approved prior to the surgery date. You must call Metlife (800.638.4228) and open a claim prior to the paperwork being sent from your doctor’s office. I recommend that you write the claim number on the top of the paperwork prior to them sending it. After, the paperwork is sent make sure that the doctor’s office saves the fax confirmation sheet.

It typically takes Metlife 3-5 days to review a claim. After your claim is opened you will be assigned a case manager. Case managers are supposed to make contact with members after the claim is approved.

If you don’t hear from them I recommend that you reach out to them. If they aren’t available please leave a message. Case managers must return your call within 2 hours if you call before 3pm.

It is important to know that Metlife typically only approves 30 days at a time. If you are going to be out beyond the 30 days we need to keep up with the expiration date and make a request to our doctors that they send in the necessary paperwork to get it extended prior to the expiration so you will get paid on time.

If you are having any issues with FMLA or Metlife give me a call. I have samples on how the forms need to be filled out or can assist you with any problems that you may be experiencing.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne  

July 2014

Brothers and Sisters, Sherry Waters, Chief Steward in E-Commerce, Stewards Felicia Archie, Lisa Little and I met with Carolyn Knudsen, Mark Bell, Steven Cullan, Lori Witherbee, Frank Larosa and Debbie Bickel for our quarterly round table meeting. The stewards brought up some concerns with the Verizon marketing mail outs that customers receive. E-Commerce reps aren’t able to process the offers. Mark will reach out to marketing to see how this can be resolved. The other concern that was brought up was the call out process. When members on the 7am tour call and can’t reach a member of management, there has been confusion on what to do. Frank Larosa advised that the call out line is forwarded to his cell phone if he is unable to answer he asked that the members leave a message and he will return it as soon as he can.

Carrie Shipp, Chief Steward in DRC, Steward Carla Callahan and I have had several conversations with Joey Santiago about the incoming calls into the DRC for “Where Is My Tech”. Some of the issues have been on lack of training that has been given to dispatch clerks to be able to handle incoming calls. Joey showed us the online and net conference classes that the dispatchers that are taking these calls had to complete. We were also advised that if additional training were needed, management would get that taken care of.

Over the last month we have had several members that have requested FMLA/Metlife paperwork from their supervisors and have been given managements’ FMLA/Metlife paperwork. Managements’ paperwork is processed different from craft and delays the approval. If you have a need for FMLA/Metlife paperwork please go to IBEW824.org to print it out.

In Solidarity,

Michelle Agne

June 2014

Brothers and Sisters,

On May 9th Verizon Plus members were advised that the University and Town and Country stores would be closing September 30, 2014. This will not be a force adjustment and as of right now an ISP is not being offered. Members in the affected stores will be able to move to the Brandon or Carrollwood Stores. The FNFT and IHD reps will return to the locations that they came from prior to being assigned to Verizon Plus. October 1st, the 5 Remaining Verizon Plus stores will be called Verizon Experience Stores where customers can start, upgrade, move or discuss billing issues. Product demonstrations will be available as well. Customers will be able to get Fios Equipment or do returns. Wireless services will no longer be offered in the Verizon Experience Stores.

Susan Isaacs, Henrietta McPherson (Stewards St. Pete/SRC) and I met with Cynthia Morales, Leann Yates and Debbie Bickel to discuss the Company’s desire to form a separate work group for the IHD and support desks in the center. The stewards brought up several concerns with forming a separate work group. After, several conversations the company has decided not to go forward with this. In Solidarity, Michelle Agne

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