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CenturyLink Proxy Vote on Purchase of Level 3 (R-01 2017)

We have received inquiries regarding shareholder proxy vote on CenturyLink’s purchase of Level 3 Communications.  

At this time CWA has not taken a position and remains neutral.  We are providing some information to help you decide on how to vote.

The transaction increases the CTL network by 200,000 route miles of fiber, including 64,000 route miles in more than 350 metropolitan areas and 33,000 subsea fiber route miles connecting multiple continents  

The transaction is valued at $34 billion in a cash and stock transaction (60% stock, 40% cash). CenturyLink is paying a 42% premium over Level 3's closing stock price on the day the merger was announced. At the close of the transaction, CenturyLink shareholders will own 51% of the merged company. 

CenturyLink projects $850 million in operating synergies, from cost reductions in corporate overhead, IT, advertising, and network. There may be some network overlap where Level 3's fiber network overlaps with CTL's network in the enterprise market which could impact our members, but these are largely complementary assets. 

Stock analysts are generally positive about the acquisition, projecting that the new CTL will generate greater cash flow (4% in 2018 rising to 14% in 2020), improved profit margins (3%), and continue to pay health dividends to shareholders.  

The acquisition will reduce union density at the combined company. After the acquisition, CenturyLink will transform itself into a company focused on the enterprise market, with 76% of revenues from the enterprise market.  

What is important to CWA is that Level 3 is a non-union CLEC.  This provides our Union with a great organizing opportunity to increase our capacity.   

We are providing a link below to a Wall Street Journal article about this acquisition. 

http://ir.centurylink.com/Cache/1001215938.PDF?Y=&O=PDF&D=&fid=1001215938&T=&iid=4057179 

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2016 Save Medicare Tool Kit (R-07 2016)

The CWA-RMC is one of the allies in coalition to preserve, strengthen and expand Medicare, including Medicaid, to the benefit of all Americans.  We need to take action.  Efforts to repeal and gut the provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Care Act are moving into high gear​. ​ 

In conjunction with the Alliance for Retired Americans of the AFL-CIO, the CWA-RMC is talking with all our RMC chapters and members about how we can take action to protect what retirees are entitled to, and what American Workers will be entitled to, because we have paid our way to earn our Medicare benefits.  Attached is the Alliance Tool Kit for activists who are interested in lobbying to preserve Medicare.  There is also a list of future events.  Please share with your active and retired members. 

Attachment 

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 Correct 2017 Retiree Health Care Premiums (R-06-2016)

Attached are the correct 2017 Retiree Health Care Premiums.

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Centurylink's Retiree Benefits and Wellness Newsletter  (R-04 2016)

Attached is the first edition of Centurylink's Retiree Benefits and Wellness newsletter. 

It can be accessed at www.centurylinkbenefits.com.  It is planned as a quarterly newsletter. 

Attachments   


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Verizon’s Attempt to Raid CenturyLink Technicians (R-02-2016

We are receiving reports that Verizon is attempting to raid technicians from CenturyLink by offering anywhere from $75.00 to $110.00 an hour. 

The T & T office is asking that if you know of this issue in your area that you email Ruth Marriott at rmarriott@cwa-union.org

It is imperative that we track this down for the sake of our brothers and sisters who are sacrificing and standing strong for a fair contract.   

It is also important to remind our members that the outcome of the strike against Verizon will have a large bearing on our upcoming 2017 negotiations.  The time is NOW to get them prepared to take up the fight for a fair and just contract. 

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Duplicate Health Reimbursement Checks for January (R-01 2016

We have heard from some retirees that they received (2) two Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) checks for January, so we reached out to the company to get clarification.

On January 8, 2016, Your Spending Account’s (YSA) check writing vendor UMB Bank erroneously printed duplicate checks & Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for participants included on the January 7, 2016 payment file. This included the January recurring premiums for Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA), which were issued that day.

1,416 CenturyLink participants were affected; we are not sure how many were Legacy Q.   This means some retirees received/or will receive two identical checks and/or EOB’s in the same envelope. Both checks included the same amount, date, and check number, so they are advising participants to cash one check and destroy the other. If a retiree presents both checks for payment, one will be approved and the other will be rejected.

CenturyLink Benefits sent an email notification to impacted participants who had an email address on file and also mailed a notification to those they did not have an email address for.

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Download this Letter      


Annual Enrollment for Legacy Qwest Post 1990 (R-04-2015)

We have been informed that there is an error in the Legacy Qwest Post 1990 Occupational Annual Enrollment Guide for Retirees, COBRA participants and Inactive Participants on page 12 regarding the Retiree Dental selection.  

As printed and mailed to retirees and also online it states the following:

Medicare Participants ONLY
Other Dental Options
If You and All of Your Dependents Are Medicare Eligible

In addition to the Company group dental plan option described earlier in this section, you will continue to have the choice to “suspend” or “waive” your Company group dental coverage. If you choose to “waive” your dental coverage, you will not be eligible to enroll at Annual Enrollment or if you experience a Qualified Life Event (QLE).  If you elect to opt out of the group coverage, you can enroll in an individual dental policy of your choice outside of CenturyLink. Either way, you will be able to submit your premium expenses to the HRA for reimbursement. 

It should say and will be replaced online with: 

In addition to the Company group dental plan option described earlier in this section, you will continue to have the choice to “waive” your Company group dental coverage.  If you elect to waive the group coverage, you can enroll in an individual dental policy of your choice outside of CenturyLink.  If you choose to waive your dental coverage, you will be eligible to enroll in the group dental plan option at Annual Enrollment or if you experience a Qualified Life Event (QLE).  

This clarifies that if a retiree waives the dental coverage this year, they can choose to re-enroll next year during the open enrollment period or if they experience a Qualified Life Event. 

Let us know if you have further questions.

Download this Letter      

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OptumRx Error (R-02-2015)

We received this notification from the CenturyLink regarding an error in how a prescription drug will be handled going forward. 

OptumRx erroneously informed some CenturyLink active employees and retirees that a medication, fenofibrate, was removed from the 1/1/2015 exclusion list mailing.  OptumRx’s global error across many companies meant that the medication incorrectly was included in the up-tier data pull.  As a result, two issues occurred: some members received a letter stating their medication would move to a higher tier rather than being excluded and some members received no letter at all.  For CenturyLink, there were a total of 145 CenturyLink members that received a letter stating their medication would move to a higher tier and 98 members did not receive a letter at all.  In total, we had 243 CenturyLink members impacted.      

To rectify this error, OptumRx sent the correct exclusion letter (attached) notifying the impacted members that the exclusion will be effective March 1, 2015.     

Attachments    

  R-002 -2015, Main Letter

  R-002A - Attachment to Letter


Regional Grievance 090 Retiree Health Care (R-01-2015)

During 2012 CenturyLink bargaining there were many changes to our Health Care coverage. Many of them were discussed and negotiated at length.  There were also issues that were not discussed nor were they ever passed across the table in the form of a proposal.  The two (2) issues that were grieved in the above referenced regional grievance were: 

1. The termination of benefits for non-payment of premiums after the second occurrence, and 

2. The addition of any new dependent by a retiree after 1/1/2014.  

Based on language in Addendum 10.4 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement we believed that this was clearly an arbitrary change because these items were not discussed at the bargaining table and the changes caused a diminishment of the current benefits.  

CenturyLink continued to argue that these items were not subject to the arbitration process and we would have ended up in court to resolve whether or not we could arbitrate the Company’s action.   In recent years court decisions have not been favorable when retiree benefits are challenged. 

Ultimately, we did come to an agreement on the issue of the non-payment.  Originally, the Company’s policy was that if you missed a payment or had insufficient funds to pay your premiums you would be without health care unless you appealed to the Claims Administrator.  If you did not make a payment the second time you would be banned from having Company provided Health Care for life unless the Company found extraordinary circumstances existed.  In either case you would be required to make up any premiums you were in arrears. 

Under the new process (see attached) a Retiree will have three (3) opportunities to file an appeal or wait until the next plan year’s Annual Enrollment.  Should someone choose to be reinstated immediately after their appeal they must pay the premiums that they owe.  Should a retiree fail to pay their premiums a fourth (4) time they will have appeal rights.  Should they fail in their appeal they will be banned from participating in the Retiree Health Care plan for life. 

As for the dependent issue, employees that retire on or after January 1, 2014 are now afforded coverage for their surviving spouse/domestic partner and dependent children.  In this case the surviving spouse or domestic partner cannot add any new dependents to the existing Health Care Plan provided by CenturyLink should the retiree die.  We were unsuccessful in obtaining a surviving spouse/domestic partner benefit for those employees who retired prior December 31, 2013.  In that case should the retiree die the surviving spouse/domestic partner receives six (6) months of company provided health care at the subsidized rate and another thirty (30) months if they are willing to pay the full premium.

Should you have any questions regarding this please feel free to contact us at the District 7 office.

Attachments    

  R-001 -2015, Main Letter

  R-001A - Attachment to Letter


Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (R-14-2014)

The $1.1 trillion spending bill funding every corner of government opened to mixed reviews Wednesday. One provision drawing fire would allow pensions to be cut for current retirees covered by some economically-distressed multiemployer plans, part of a package agreed to unexpectedly Tuesday after secretive talks. 

A Policy `Rider' in the bill includes legislation aimed at shoring up underfunded multiemployer pension plans, including a controversial provision that permits them to cut the benefits of current and future retirees to shore up severely distressed plans. The pension-related talks between Rep. John Kline, R-Min., and George Miller, D-Calif., were designed to preserve benefits of current and future retirees at lower levels than currently exist, but higher than they would be if their pension funds ran out of money.

Read more from the attachments below.

Attachments 

  R-14 -2014, Main Letter

  R-14A - Multiemployer Plan Legislation


The 2015 Pre- Medicare Health Care Rates (R-13)

Attached is documentation from Legacy Qwest on how the 2015 Pre- Medicare Health Care rates were determined.  As you can see the cost of health care continues to rise and the pool of the insured has decreased over the prior 3 years.  This information along with the fact that the Retiree Cost Caps have remained the same provides for higher premiums.

The information below has tiered enrollment for the Pre-65 Occ plans for 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Attachments 

  R-13 -2015, Main Letter

  R-13A-2015, Medical Health Rates


Qwest Pension Plan - Administrative Error (R-10)

Attached is a letter from CenturyLink regarding an administrative error that was made in not offering those former employees (or their surviving spouse/partner) who were

        vested participants and

        who separated from Qwest prior to 2009 and who started receiving their pension payments after 2008.

The attached outlines the steps that CenturyLink must take to correct this. The final decision regarding whether those affected do or do not change their current Pension payment options are solely at the discretion of the retiree.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

Attachment  


Summary of Retiree Survivor Benefits and the Vested Pension Payout (R-09)

 BENEFITS FOR YOUR SURVIVORS

Q.    May an active Participant designate a beneficiary to receive the survivor pension benefit under the Plan?

A.     Effective January 1, 2009, the Plan was modified to allow all active Occupational Employees to designate a beneficiary for their pension benefit, in the event they die prior to their termination of employment.

If the employee is married, their spouse is their beneficiary unless notarized spousal consent is received allowing you to designate someone else as the beneficiary.

Active Employees may designate their beneficiary online or the Beneficiary Designation for Pre-Retirement Survivor Benefit form can be completed and mailed. (See Pension Survivor Benefit following the Q and A’s)

Q.     What pension benefits are available for my survivors if I die as an active employee?

A.     There are two types of pension benefits that may be payable to your survivors upon your death. The first are annuity survivor benefits. The second is a Sickness or Accidental Death benefit; this benefit applies only if you have a TOE date prior to March 1, 1993, you are vested, and you die while actively employed by Qwest. Refer to the section “Death Benefits” for additional information. For the entire Benefits R letter, please click here. 


Legacy Qwest Retiree Health Care (R-07)

We have been informed by CenturyLink that under the terms of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) any company that employs 50 or more people is required to provide "affordable" healthcare. The law also requires that Company’s using contractors that employ 50 or more require the contractor to provide healthcare, otherwise the company utilizing the contractor could become liable to do so. We understand that CenturyLink took steps last year to renegotiate all contracts with their U.S.  Vendors and Contractors to require them to provide affordable health care to their employees who perform work for CenturyLink business.  They did not renew their contracts with and will not use contractors who will not provide ACA-complaint health care to their employees. 

 Read more and download this letter. 


CenturyLink - Your Spending Account

Attached, in PDF format, is information plus questions and answers regarding "Your Spending Account" from CenturyLink.

You can also visit the Website through "Your Benefits Resources™" at www.centurylinkhealthandlife.com. 

Attachments 

  Welcome Letter

  "Your Spending Account" Questions, Answers and Information


Questions and Answers -  Medical Coverage from CenturyLink for 2014

Attached, in PDF format, are questions and answers regarding the LQ-Occupational transition CenturyLink group medical coverage to individual Medicare policies. (For those who are Medicare eligible.)

Attachment


 
For the Questions and Answers from the Medicare Exchange conference calls and meetings with the Locals and Medicare-eligible retirees, Please click here.
 


HRA for Medicare Eligible Retirees

Attached, in PDF format, is the explanation of what can be paid under the HRA for Medicare eligible retirees.

Attachment


Concession for Retirees in Legacy CTL Areas

(By Judy Fries)

Below are the instructions to call and have concession set up for those not receiving it now but are eligible and living within Legacy Centurylink area:

Instructions from Centurylink:

You should call the CenturyLink Consumer Sales and Care center that serves the geographic area of their primary residence. You can access the Contact part of Centurylink website at: http://qc.centurylink.com/residential/customerService/contactus/makeselection.html

A menu will appear for Internet help, phone help, ect. Click on the support area you need and you will be provided the 800 number of the Consumer (Residential) center and hours of operation.


2014 Medicare Health Enrollment Guide

Attached below, in PDF format, is the 2014 Medicare Health Enrollment Guide.

Attachment


 

Steps to Follow In The Death of a US West/Qwest Retiree

Always a good idea to do ahead of time and keep pertinent information in an important place.  Verify your beneficiaries for life insurance with Prudential Life Insurance Company.  The number is 1-800-778-3827.  Our Life Insurance benefit is $10,000.

Read More....


Deferred Vested Pension Qwest

This question isn't a contract question; it's what the pension plan said at the time employee left.  When an occupational employee leaves the company and is not eligible for a pension, they are eligible for a reduced deferred vested pension if they are vested.

Read More....


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Last updated: February 24 2017.