Telecommunications Workers – COVID-19
March 24, 2020

     UNIFOR ATLANTIC COMMUNICATIONS LOCALS COUNCIL

                                LOCALS 401, 410, 506, 2289

March 26, 2020

Further to the Bulletin of last week, Council has been in regular contact with Bell in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak and continues to ask questions primarily regarding the Health and Safety of our membership.

The volume of concerns raised by the membership continues to be high but  information now available from the National Union, the Federal and Provincial governments and your Local Union representatives appears to be helping people cope with their specific situations.

Where the contact centers in both India and the Philippines have suspended operations, our members have been asked to help alleviate the problem this has caused by responding to trouble tickets and fixing technical issues customers are having. Presently we have been told that the plan is to have 72 redeployed Tech’s do this work.

We appreciate everyone’s contribution to the additional workload, a workload that we always argued is ours, and we want to remind Bell  Canada that in time of trouble we will always be willing to help.  When this crisis is over much consideration needs to be given to our efforts and we want the company to return our work into the bargaining Units in our region on a permanent basis.

The Company is currently undertaking a trial that would see technicians not have to enter residences but attempt to connect customers through a process of hooking up equipment outside the premises allowing the customer to take this pre provisioned equipment into the home and have the tech then talk the customer through getting the service to function. This trial ends Friday but to date we have been told things look positive.

The above-mentioned trial will be welcome news to technicians who continue to be dispatched to homes only to discover later that the residents were under isolation protocol but had failed to be truthful with the representative who took the order or the technician dispatched to do the work.

Regarding our own contact centers, the Company has indicated to us that they are doing everything in their power to have reps, who can do so, working from home as soon as possible. We understand that any delays in this move cause anxiety in the workplace and we are monitoring this situation closely.

Bell has advised Council that they have made available to all members and eligible dependants an online virtual heath care program at no cost to the employee. “The program provides free, confidential and 24/7 access to health care professionals through secure virtual consultation technology using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.” More information can be obtained on the Bell Net site.                                                       

We currently have 4 members from Atlantic Canada who, with our National Representative, meet regularly with Bell Canada leaders on the Corporate Health and Safety committee.  These individuals are our informed voice on Health and Safety matters and are a great resource for the local OH&S members but also for all the membership.

The 4 Member Representatives are :                

Gary Fudge  /  Gary Fudge  /  outside tech rep    ohs@unifor410.ca

Chuck Rouse  /  inside rep            Chuck.Rouse@unifor506.ca                              

Jeff Kelly  /  inside rep                 Jeffkelly@uniforlocal401.ca

Craig Marriott  /  outside rep               Craig.Marriott@unifor2289.ca

In Solidarity, 

UACL Council

Cullen, Susan, Lee, Sandy, Bobby, Faith, Stéphane, Jeff

National Rep – Roch Leblanc