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Michelle Agne

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

May 2014

Brothers and Sisters,

 

I have received several calls over the last month 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.

 

If you need FMLA or Metlife forms please get them from IBEW824.org. Several managers have given members managements FMLA and Metlife forms which are different from ours. The wrong forms can delay your approval and make the process more stressful than it has to be.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org 

January 2014

Brothers and Sisters,

 

As we begin the New Year I would like to update you on some FMLA changes or things that you might not be aware of.

 

Who is Eligible?

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.

 

 

The above information only applies to FMLA. We still need the Metlife Attending Physician Forms filled out if you are out more than 3 consecutive days.  If you have any questions or need help with any of the forms please call your rep at the hall so we may assist you.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org        

November 2013

Brothers and Sisters,

 

Annual Enrollment for benefits started October 30th - November 12th for active employees November 7th – November 21st for retirees. I encourage everyone to log on to the Benefits Connection (www.verizon.com/benefits connection), once you are logged into the website just to make sure everything is correct. Once on this site go to top right hand corner it should say suggestions for you.

 

Quick Enroll – Confirm your 2014 Benefit Elections and Covered Dependents.

 

Enroll- Will walk you through your benefit choices.

 

Review your contact information to make sure you receive your important benefits information.

 

In September, Verizon sent out information about the Health Insurance Marketplace as they were required to under the Affordable Care Act. It’s important to note that while all Americans will be eligible to participate in the Marketplace beginning in 2014, we need to understand potential implications if you elect to forego your Verizon-sponsored health care coverage and enroll in a Marketplace option instead. If you have any questions, concerns, or need any help accessing your benefits, please call your Rep so we can assist you.

 

We still have members that are not aware that if we call out sick for more than 3 days that we need to go to our doctor and get FMLA and Metlife paperwork filled out. FMLA protects our time; Metlife administrates our STD benefits. Please have them contact the Hall if they need any assistance with this.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org    

October 2013

Brothers and Sisters,

 

I reported in July that the Verizon Benefits Center started another Dependent Verification audit, if you did not complete the process with the proper documentation last November.  Notification was sent only to those members on April 1st with a deadline of June 1st.  If this process wasn’t completed, benefits have been dropped on your dependents. I would encourage all members to look at www.verizon.com/benefitsconnection within the “I Want To” section, select the “Verify my dependent(s)” link.  Review your Enrolled Dependent Information on the Home Page.  If you find that your dependents aren’t listed please call me so we can get this addressed. 

 

For those of you who are under the age of 40, an initiative has been passed to create a Young Workers of Florida group. This is to create a network of young workers from a multitude of backgrounds capable of becoming leaders within the labor movement. The focus is on providing Union members the skills to improve their local Unions, workplaces, and the Labor Movement through organizing, training and other special events. They are having a social event to restart the group in Tampa on Thursday, October 24th at New World Brewery (1313 E 8th Ave, Tampa) at 7pm.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org

September 2013

Brothers and Sisters,

 

Sherry Waters, Chief Steward in E-Commerce, Stewards Felicia Archie, Aisha Darby, Noreen Walton, Lisa Little and I met with Carolyn Knudsen, Mark Bell, and Debbie Bickel for our monthly round table meeting. A follow up from our last meeting was concerning misdirected and 3 way chats with other departments being on the chat with the account associates. Carolyn advised that she has met with other departments to try to get this corrected and has now escalated it to USSS department. They started reviewing the records Aug 15th.  Sherry, the stewards and I have had many members bring up concerns about how to access hours worked for FMLA. AMTS is the most accurate system but, is still one pay day behind. Frank will work with members to look this up. Our next round table is scheduled for Nov 15th.

 

Dora Mullis, Chief Steward at the 301 Complex and Melissa Braswell, Steward and I met with Roxie Parker and Patty Welch concerning some issues that members are having with ISDN PRI in One Source. Some of the orders don’t include DGF at all. When sales reps are called, they don’t seem to have a copy of the form nor seem to know what it is. They do have a DGF tab and some information is found there. Roxie advised us that she has talked to the Sales Manager and has asked that they try to get as much of that information as they can.

 

The central attendance desk continues to advise me that we still have members that have been out on Metlife/FMLA without approvals. It is our responsibility to give the correct claim number when we call out. Metlife claim needs to be opened after any sickness disability with duration of 4 or more consecutive days of incapacitation and any preplanned surgery that will consist of 4 or more consecutive days of incapacitation. If you or any of your coworkers are having problems with the Metlife or FMLA paperwork please have them call the hall so we can assist them.   

 

In Solidarity,

 

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org

August 2013

Brothers and Sisters,

 

Carrie Shipp, Chief Steward in DRC, Stewards Carla Callahan, Trina Devoe and I met with Joey Santiago and Robert Rosello. Joey will now oversee Air Pressure, Core/Fios dispatch and Buried Drop Techs. Robert will oversee Expedites. Some of the changes that are being made in the DRC to help with the gap in communications are to have team huddles at 8am and 1pm and to have the minutes sent out in an email each day. Sign up sheets are posted on the communications board for any additional training that members feel that they need. Carrie inquired about flex time going from 4 to 2. Joey advised us that is something that he wants to look further into and he will follow up with us. We were advised that a master schedule with back fill lines will be posted. A job description for each shift and time of turn over is being made up now and should be released soon. Supervisors and routers are being switched out in some areas. Joey will be meeting with each dispatcher with an explanation of why.

 

The company notified us that they were going to keep 10 BSSR’s that were in a surplus status at the 301 Complex. The company agreed to let the 14 remaining BSSR’s redo their pick sheets last week.

 

I have had members over the last month calling concerning FMLA/Metlife paperwork. As of right now we have to have both sets of paperwork filled out. Even though Metlife processes both our FMLA and STD benefits they don’t communicate with each other. It is our responsibility to give the claim # to your absence administrator. If you have any questions or concerns please call your Rep at the hall so we can assist you.

 

 

In Solidarity,

 

 

Michelle Agne

magne [at] ibew824 [dot] org

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