To all IBEW 824 members,
As of now most of you have probably read the embarrassing email from our Senior Vice President of Operations in the South Region, Melanie Williams. This pathetic attempt at a bargaining update is filled with misinformation and denials.
There is one thing in the update we can agree on. We do face significant competition from other providers. However, there was a time in the not so distant past when we had no competition. Across the region from Venice to Spring Hill to Haines City, most of our competitors like Comcast and Bright House (now Spectrum) were packing up and leaving town. Then Frontier Communications happened.
The company claims we have lost 32% of our voice customers, well does anyone remember the Fios Digital Voice conversion. Nightmare. We can't even port a number from Brandon to Bradenton. Would someone please explain to us how Steve Gable, the head of IT still has a job? The company claims we have lost 47% of our video subscribers. Do we even sell video anymore? Depends on who you talk to. Then of course, the great decision to alienate more customers by not renewing our partnership with Fox Sports Sun, now referred to as Bally Sports Sun. No more Tampa Bay Rays or Tampa Bay Lightning games. Great move.
We also noticed that Melanie's bargaining update failed to mention net data adds or the aggressive fiber build happening throughout our service area. We all know that our data is superior to any competitor. We can only guess that those customers are not included in revenue projections.
Lastly, and easily the most embarrassing part of the Company's bargaining update was, and I quote, "As a reference point, ask family and friends who work for other employers what their benefit plans provide." The audacity of this statement is confounding. We noticed that there was no mention of the $10 billion in debt forgiveness, which just happens to be the amount the company paid to acquire FL, TX, and CA. Three states for free basically, not bad.
No mention of the $63 million in executive talent retention bonuses. Yes, talent retention bonuses. No mention of bad business decisions, bad processes, and broken systems. We don't care about most private employers and we don't care to ask our family and friends about their benefit plans. We do care about a FAIR CONTRACT NOW. A bridge to Medicare eligibility, give us a break, a bridge to nowhere is more like it. We don't care that most private employers no longer offer both a pension plan and a 401k plan, we don't work for most employers, we work for Frontier Communications. Our stance from the beginning has not changed. Most of us give this company the best years of our lives and we demand that Frontier Communications keep their promise and make us whole like the executives were made whole. Nothing more, nothing less. Again, FAIR CONTRACT NOW ! Melanie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President IBEW LU 824
To all IBEW 824 members,
Our journey started on April Fool’s Day 2016 and as many of us know, the journey has not been smooth. Frontier’s broken systems and broken processes have led to broken promises. Through it all, we the members of IBEW Local Union 824 have stuck together, because all we have is each other. We started bargaining with the company in May of 2019 and here we are in April of 2021, still at the bargaining table.
Throughout this process the leadership of our Business Manager, Josh Saladino and his staff have been invaluable to this membership. Through a global pandemic and a bankruptcy, except for terminations, not a single member has lost their job, or been downgraded. It is worth repeating, not 1 single member has lost their job or experienced a downgrade. I have been questioned many times, why did the Union do this, why doesn’t the Union do that. My answer is simple. Keeping our members gainfully employed, so they can provide for their families is the reason. We weren’t going to sign an agreement just to sign an agreement. It wasn’t the Union who stopped bargaining during contract negotiations, it was Frontier.
When the company finally came to the bargaining table in earnest and decided to break those promises that were made to us many years ago, we responded the only way we know how. Concerted activity. We rented buses to take our members to the Super Bowl picket. We rented an aerial banner to fly over the stadium. We held pickets at the Monster Truck Jam and in Land O Lakes at the corner of US 41 and SR 54. We reached out to our local politicians to help us in this fight for a fair contract and we flew a huge banner along I4 that states “FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS FAILS ESSENTIAL WORKERS“. We rented billboards along I275 at Dale Mabry Hwy, both eastbound and westbound. We asked everyone to wear red on Thursday and black on Friday. We asked for our outside plant to perform their daily truck inspections, work to rule and picket their work centers weekly. We asked our inside plant to put “FAIR CONTRACT NOW” in their team chats, emails and also, work to rule.
With our contract expiring on April 16th, we are imploring that you help yourself and your Union bargaining committee make one last stand. We will be picketing the WWE Wrestlemania this Saturday April 10th from 530pm to 730pm. We will meet at Cancer Survivor’s Plaza located at the corner of Dale Mabry Hwy and MLK Blvd. There should be plenty of parking at Al Lopez park and around the stadium. We have also rented 3 digital media trucks to drive around the event on both Saturday and Sunday from 5pm to 8pm.
Our message from the beginning has been simple. We have stood by this company through the transition, a global pandemic, and bankruptcy. The company had billions of their debt forgiven and still paid their executives over 63 million. We want to be made whole, like the executives were with a FAIR CONTRACT NOW. If you believe like I do that we deserve to have those promises kept, then I’ll see you Saturday, as we make one last push before the contract expires on April 16th, 2021.
President IBEW LU 824
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are all Brothers and Sisters connected by the word "Union". We understand that this word might mean different things to different people, but the basic definition of the word for us represents a group of people who have formed together for a common interest, a common purpose, and a common goal. To put it plainly, we desire to have the ability to care for our families as well as ourselves and to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.
With that being said, we recognize that there exists fear in some of the membership because of the uncertainty that we are all experiencing at this time. But, let us remind you that the feeling of fear will not diminish by choosing to do nothing. This fear will only dissipate once you make the decision to stand up for yourself and others to fight for what you know is fair, equitable, and right.
Most of us have heard the saying "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything." The "anything" in this case could come with the loss of your medical benefits in retirement. The "anything" in this case could be paying exorbitant fees for your current medical benefits. The "anything" in this case could be the loss of your 401(k) match. The "anything" in this case could be little to no increases in your pay.
Are you really willing to fall for these "anythings"? Can you and your family afford to fall for these "anythings"?
We as your bargaining committee are not asking anyone to go at this on their own just as we are not wanting to fight this fight without the membership's support. What we are asking for is your help in any way possible to push back against these detrimental proposals that Frontier continues to come to the table with.
Remember, we are not the Union, YOU ARE THE UNION! And as a Union, we all get to decide what we are or are not willing to accept. As for your Union committee, we are not willing to accept anything that harms our families, our members' families, or any future IBEW Local 824 family.
Let's show Frontier what the words Brotherhood and Sisterhood truly mean and stand together to fight for a FAIR CONTRACT NOW!!!
Your Union Bargaining Committee
Expires 11:59 p.m.
July 17, 2021
EXPIRES 11:59 P.M.
APRIL 16, 2021