Unions representing nearly 2,000 employees at FairPoint Communications in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are accusing the company of violating labor law by walking away from the bargaining table Aug. 27.
FairPoint negotiators notified the IBEW and CWA by email that bargaining for a new contract is at an impasse and they would impose its last contract proposal Aug. 28.
“We strongly disagree with the company,” said Augusta, Maine, Local 2327 Business Manager, who is chair of the bargaining committee Peter McLaughlin. “The company should stay at the table and continue to work with us to reach an acceptable agreement.”
FairPoint workers in New England are holding strong for a fair contract.
IBEW and CWA members have been working without a contract since Aug. 2. Union leaders say that management has rejected every proposal they have made since bargaining began in April, which they say would result in more than $200 million in savings for the company.
“FairPoint has refused to bargain with us, and their negotiators have even attempted to intimidate and bully us throughout the process,” said Manchester, N.H., Local 2320 Business Manager Glenn Brackett.
FairPoint wants to outsource jobs from Northern New England to low-wage, out-of-state contractors, devastating small communities throughout the region that depend on telecommunication professionals to maintain service.
“FairPoint’s employees are some of the best trained, most experienced telecommunications workers in this country,” said Montpelier, Vt., Local 2326 Business Manager Mike Spillane. “But FairPoint executives are determined to outsource their work to low-road contractors, no matter the impact on customers and our communities.”
On Sept. 1, AFL-CIO Vice President Tefere Gebre spoke in Bangor, Maine to FairPoint workers, promising the labor federation’s full support.
“In addition to lending its resources, Gebre said the AFL-CIO will use its pension fund investments to put pressure on the North Carolina-based publicly traded company to come back to the bargaining table,” reports the Bangor Daily News.
The IBEW and CWA notified all their members to continue working until further notice.
Go to Fairness@FairPoint for more information.