LDRM presented its “Last, Best, & Final Offer” at the end of the day yesterday and stated that they had no room to negotiate any further. Because of this, we did not reach final agreement on all open contract items. This means it’s now up to the members to vote and decide whether to accept or reject the deal.
Prior to their final offer, we came to agreement on a number of significant improvements that are part of the package deal. Here are some of the biggest changes:
Ability to waive medical coverage without proof of coverage (unless receiving Medicare/Medicaid due to CMS requirements)
No changes to medical without mutual agreement of the Union
Prior to changing any other benefits, LDRM must give at least 60 days’ notice and negotiate with the Union
Discipline is removed from your record after 1 year
New hires receive one week of vacation after six months (and another week after one year)
Performance “standards” may not be enforced with disciplinary action (severely poor performance may still be subject to discipline)
Two extra days of bereavement for UE members who have to travel overseas to attend a funeral (5 days total)
LDRM must now negotiate with the union any time they want to make or change any rules or policies, or any time DOS requires any changes on the contract
Paid time to complete eQIP/maintenance of security clearance
Overtime pay after 32 hours in a holiday week now permanent for all holidays
Teleworking employees can choose vacation, make-up time, or LWOP for system downtime over two hours (need to coordinate with supervisor)
LDRM Handbook Attendance Policy eliminated (no “occurrences” and “no fault” discipline). Instead, they have to follow just cause and take into account the circumstances of any absence before deciding if discipline is appropriate
The other parts of LDRM’s package deal we did not reach agreement on. In addition to the above items, here’s what they presented as their best offer:
Inclement weather closures
Paid for employees who aren’t eligible to telework
Choice to use vacation, make-up, leave without pay if eligible but unable to telework
Teleworking employees are expected to work (but may be excused if weather interferes with the ability to work from home)
No agreement on permanent telework. Maintain current practices (which are subject to the grievance procedure)
Wages (effective April 1st each year)
5%, 4%, 3%
H&W (current $5.92): $6.07, $6.27, $6.47
$1 differential for CSRI employees (TI & CI) while working on the phone
The new UE 228 contract would take effect March 1, 2023 and run through October 31, 2025
The Bargaining Committee is giving a neutral recommendation on the contract. No one will be telling you that you should vote one way or the other. The decision will be 100% up to UE 228 members. To hear all of the details and to cast your vote, you MUST register for one of the Zoom meetings by clicking on one of the links below!
RATIFICATION MEETING REGISTRATION
You must attend meetings outside of your scheduled shift
Only UE 228 Members may attend (employees in probation can attend but cannot speak or vote)
Register for one meeting only
For security, you must use the Zoom app to join (no phone calls)
Registration for each meeting will close one hour before the meeting starts
The email address you provide will be used for secure, anonymous voting during the meeting
On November 26th, UE 228 members held an emergency meeting to discuss the slow progress in contract negotiations with LDRM. The company has continued to maintain that a new union contract must be finalized by November 30th. If not, LDRM states that it will not negotiate wage increases to take effect until after 2023.
In response to this unreasonable demand, UE 228 members voted almost unanimously (99% YES) to authorize the 228 Bargaining Committee to declare a strike. What does this mean?
You have a legally-protected right to withhold your labor
No work stoppage would occur any sooner than March 1, 2023 following expiration of our union contract on February 28th
The Bargaining Committee would call for a strike only if necessary due to failure of LDRM to bargain in good faith over all mandatory subjects. If LDRM refuses to negotiate over wages after November 30th, that would be a condition where a work stoppage might be declared.
There would be several meetings and additional planning prior to the commencement of any work stoppage
We know there is still a path to a fair contract but LDRM must know that all options are very much on the table!
LDRM claims that we must have a new contract fully negotiated and ratified (by a vote of UE 228 members) no later than November 30th. They claim that failure to reach this deadline will mean no wage increases until 2024. They further claim this is because DOS will not reimburse them for our raises if we don’t get things done by the 30th.
We know better. We know this deadline isn’t real. But LDRM continues to stall and try to run down the clock in an effort to pressure us into settling for an unfair deal.
So far, they’ve refused to bargain over telework, refused to allow us to waive insurance coverage, and refused to pay for inclement weather closures for all affected employees. Their best wage proposal has been 4.5% with an extra $0.10 in H&W and $0.05 in shift differential. At this late stage, these numbers are unacceptable.
All meeting participants will be required to verify identity. Only UE 228 members may attend!
UE 228 Emergency Member Meeting Nov 26, 2022 01:00 PM Eastern Time
Meeting ID: 875 8844 3293 One tap mobile +19292056099,,87588443293# US (New York) +13017158592,,87588443293# US (Washington DC)
Dial by your location +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 305 224 1968 US +1 309 205 3325 US +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 931 3860 US +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 360 209 5623 US +1 386 347 5053 US +1 507 473 4847 US +1 564 217 2000 US +1 669 444 9171 US +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 689 278 1000 US +1 719 359 4580 US +1 253 205 0468 US Meeting ID: 875 8844 3293 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcA0JNRLqA
LDRM claims that we MUST have a new contract in place by the end of the month, or there won’t be any raises until 4/1/24. They claim that DOS won’t reimburse them for our raises if we miss the deadline (and they don’t believe they should ever have to pay a cent of our wages themselves). LDRM knows what a complete disaster it would be if NVC workers didn’t get a raise: workers would continue to leave, applicants would dry up, and UE 228 members WOULD NOT lay down and accept nothing! But for people with a deadline, they showed little willingness to make progress by putting real proposals on the table last week.
We need to send a strong message to LDRM as we resume bargaining tomorrow, November 22nd. CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION RIGHT NOW!
I’m supporting this contract. As being the only one working in my home, working OT just to carry home finances and a husband who is on SS and doesn’t make much, I’m worried about this winter and oil, and the rise in utilities. I will need to work more OT which is unacceptable.
Ed Martin, Telephone Inquiry UE 228Negotiating Committee
I’m fighting for this contract to be paid fairly and to be treated like an adult–not a child. We deserve respect!
Carol Walker, SCAN
We deserve a living wage! We are dependable and hardworking. With the cost of living going up this contract is very important to all of us!
Tony D’Iorio, SCAN
We perform many different complex functions with inadequate manuals. We attempt to be quality producers to bring quality people to America. We deserve better.
Keith Correll, DR UE 228 Negotiating Committee
We deserve a better contract after what we’ve been put through these past two, almost three years. Enough is enough. Our fight for a better contract isn’t just about closing loopholes they’ve abused, or getting better wages so we don’t have to work overtime just to get by: it’s about getting the respect we deserve.
Dave Kirby, SIV
I never thought that at my age I would need to have roommates just to get by. We do important work and deserve to be compensated accordingly.
The membership has spoken, we have a new insurance provider! Here are the finalized plans, please note that the Basic Plan will have prescription plan F by default, the Enhanced and Premium plans will have prescription plan A by default.
We sent our proposal for the USW plans on Thursday, LDRM had stated on Friday that it is not possible to adopt the USW plans (this year). Saturday they sent us a counterproposal, in it we get the same coverage and prices as the USW plans we designed but we have to stay with FCE.
We will be including assurances in the Memorandum of Agreement to make FCE step up it’s game (one such proposal is to have a designated LDRM contact to report FCE related issues to; ex.-unable to get questions answered/ get a rude customer service rep/ etc).
Please recognize that we moved them from 5-6% rate increases to keep the coverage the same, to drastically improved coverage for that same amount (employee only). The lower tier plans will cover more at a reduced cost (most coverage levels). They came this far because of your actions, they rearranged their coverage with their vendor because of your actions.
This is a win, it might not be the exact win we want, but the alternative at this point could be LDRM’s initial offering of our coverage getting worse for 5-6% more in premiums. * While this is not the outcome we all want, it is likely the best offer that LDRM is going to give us this late in the game.
Next year LDRM will not have the excuse of their contract with FCE, we will be able to shop for all of the benefits (and add some if we want), and we can take 100% of our business away from FCE.
We will have details for ratification meetings (at least one for each shift) within a day or two.
*LDRM has the right to push forward with whatever coverage they see fit if we vote this down as they must make sure we have benefit coverage on March 1.
We have presented the final quotes to LDRM for review. We are anticipating another bevy of excuses as to why we can’t choose plans that actually cover care. Here are the prices and plan documents for you to review.
The PPO 80/60 Premium and PPO 80/50 Enhanced allow you to choose your level of prescription coverage, which are explained in the plan documents. The PPO 80/50 Basic has Prescription Plan F, the lowest available prescription plan. Your insurance premium total is based on your plan choice, level of coverage, and prescription plan choice.
Example: An Employee only PPO Premium plan with Option A prescription coverage would be $774.36 per month, or $357.40 per pay period. This would leave a residual $116.20 per pay period in H&W to be cashed out.
Things to keep in mind:
The PPO Premium is exactly that, a Premium plan, it has $20 copays for your doctor, specialists (Chiropractor, OT/PT, etc.), Urgent Care, and a $40 copay for the ER. All of that with a $300 deductible.
As much as we push that the H&W is your money (because it is), at “normal” job you would likely be paying 20% of the premium (20% of the above example is $154.87, and for the same plan you are getting $116.20 in your pocket instead.
With the exception of the PPO Premium plan, the plans were improved with while improving costs in most cases.
The increases that did occur are slight and should be offset by the copay and deductible adjustments
The levels of coverage might convince more people to carry insurance through these plans
When contractors change, our insurance coverage doesn’t
We have control of our own insurance plans! We can review and make changes to the plans as necessary for next year.
Here again are the comparisons updated with the new USW information.
Premium – what you pay per month/ pay period for insurance coverage
Co-pay – what you pay at that visit
Deductible – amount that must be paid prior to Co-Insurance will be in effect
Co-Insurance – percentage that is a shared responsibility between the insured and insurer The plan documents list how much the insurer pays as 80%, which means you are responsible for the remaining 20% after the deductible has been met
Out-of-pocket Maximum – the most that you will pay out of pocket for medical services The PPO plans list a “Limit” which excludes co-pays, deductible, RX cost share, and amounts in excess of the “Allowable Charge”; and a “Total” which includes all costs. Ex. – if you have a procedure any costs paid after the deductible is met apply to the “Limit”, all costs of the procedure would count towards the “Total”
Formulary – an approved list of prescription drugs
United Steelworkers’ Insurance Fund (Highmark Blue Cross/ Blue Shield) plans were created to mirror FCE’s plans to give us a baseline for price. This is not a drastic change in price, as many of us hoped it would be, but the prescription plans have the ability to save all LDRM employees hundreds per year. We also have the ability to modify these plans an make them better, within costs that UE members feel is appropriate.
These are the initial quotes of the USW Insurance Fund’s BC/BS plans, we are reviewing a 5-tier system that separates the employee plus child and employee plus children plans.
These are plans that LDRM does not want to make available to all of their employees (QHDHP price is in the plan documents). The links below contain comparison charts, along with plan documents. The premiums examples on the BC/BS 80/50 and 80/60 plans include the top tier prescription coverage.
Any changes in the plans would be up to the members, so we would have the ability to say how much we are willing to spend for coverage, and what we want it to cover. With that in mind, we have reached out to the plan to ask:
Why the employee plus child(ren) plan costs more
How much would the PPO 80/60 plan increase if we:
decreased the $700 deductible to $500, $200, $0
had copays instead of co-insurance
reduced copay amounts
Can the PPO 80/50 plan or the QHDHP plan be made less expensive (as these are the plans that people elect because of LDRM’s unnecessary group insurance requirement)
The outcome of 728’s arbitration (concerning waiving insurance) could raise the cost of our plans regardless of the carrier as a 10% change in the amount of covered individuals automatically causes a recalculation of rates, at the same time if LDRM is able to hire and retain an additional 75 or so employees between both facilities it would trigger a recalculation too.
Both locals will be heading to the bargaining table next year, 228 before the end of February (at or before open enrollment), and 728 before the end of October. This gives us the ability to negotiate what changes we need to offset things as appropriate.