News

Consolidated (Lufkin/Conroe) Bargaining Report #25

May 4, 2017

9:37 p.m.

The parties reconvened contract negotiations this morning in an attempt to reach an accord on a new collective bargainingagreement.Your CWA Bargaining Committee is pleased to announce that a new tentative agreement was reached this afternoon.

The tentative agreement that the membership will vote on includes, among other changes, the following items of major interest:

Wages:  Annual general wage increases of:

                                   2.0% effective upon ratification

                                   2.0% effective October 16, 2017

                                   2.0% effective October 16, 2018

These wage increases, when compounded over the course of the new Agreement, equate to a 6.12% increase.

Annual Performance Bonus: 

This annual bonus is based on the Company’s attainment of EBITDA objective.  This bonus, if achieved, will be paid out in the first quarter of the year following the measurement year.  The Performance Bonus target payment is $450 for 2018 and 2019. 

Health Care Benefits: 

The premium share percentages for employees on the Standard Plan and the High Deductible Plan will increase each year.  The Plus Plan will be eliminated.  The Company will re-open the enrollment process to allow employees to alter their previous elections based on these changes.  The 2017 increase will not go into effect until the re-enrollment process and all necessary programming/administrative changes are completed after ratification.

Additionally, improvements will be made relative to both the start and termination of health care coverage.  Newly hired employees will become eligible to begin health care benefits sooner.  For employees leaving the Company for any reason, coverage will continue through the end of the month in which an employee leaves the Company.  Currently, coverage ends at midnight of the employees last day.

Cash Balance Pension/401(K): 

Beginning July 1, 2017, the Company will no longer make contributions to employee’s Cash Balance accounts.  Affected employees will instead be eligible to participate in the 401(K) plan that offers a 100% Company match on up to 6% employee contribution.  Additionally, upon ratification of this tentative agreement, all participants will immediately become vested in the Plan.   Your Bargaining Committee strongly recommends that all employees enhance their financial security after throughout retirement years by taking advantage of the 401(k) and Company match to the largest extent that each individual employee’s circumstances allow. 

Post-Retirement Health Care: 

A level of Company subsidized post-retirement health care has been retained for employees retiring prior to January 1, 2019.  Employees retiring on or after January 1, 2019 will no longer receive Company contributions toward the cost of health care premiums.  Such retirees will, however, remain eligible to participate in Company health care plans at the full cost of the premium until reaching Medicare eligibility.

Construction Job Titles: 

Certain job titles will be combined.

Again, this is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of changes.  The Local leadership has made arrangements to conduct meetings to provide members with a full contract explanation during which all changes will be covered and discussed as well as to conduct a ratification vote.  The meeting for Lufkin members will be held at the location listed below while the meeting for Conroe members will be conducted at the Willis, TX location that is also listed below.  The dates, times and locations or these important meetings are as follows:

 

Lufkin                                                                Willis (Conroe Members)

 

Date:  Monday, May 8, 2017                                 Date:    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Time:   6:30 p.m.                                                    Time:   6:30 p.m.

Where:  Denman Avenue Baptist Church              Where:  Knights of Columbus Hall

              1807 East Denman                                                16663 N. Highway 75

               Lufkin, TX  75901                                                 Willis, TX  77378

 

Your CWA Bargaining Committee encourages all members employed by Consolidated Communications to attend one of these meetings if possible.

The Bargaining Committee unanimously recommends ratification of this tentative agreement and CWA District 6 has agreed to remain neutral on relative to the matter of ratification.

Finally, your Bargaining Committee wishes, to once again, thank the members who have shown their support and patience throughout these protracted negotiations, particularly those who stepped up and visibly demonstrated their support and desire to get a fair contract from the Company.

 

Standing Together As ONE Makes Us All Stronger!