Striking Employees Say They Want To Get Back to Work
Contact: Peter McLaughlin: 207-623-2901
Augusta, Maine – The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers released four new television ads featuring FairPoint Communications employees and retirees calling on the company to return to the bargaining table and give workers a “fair deal.”
The spots will run in the Boston, Manchester, N.H., and Portland, Maine, media markets.
In one ad, a 15-year employee Marc Jutras describes the struggles his family has faced since the strike began last month.
“My wife passed away in 2013,” says the father of three in the spot. “It was devastating to all of us. It’s daunting to not know where that next paycheck is coming from.”
Jutras says FairPoint’s refusal to bargain fairly constitutes an attack on the middle class. “We’ve made concessions,” he says. “We’ve brought them back from bankruptcy. All we’re looking to do is to get back to work.”
Another ad features Kristen Wescott, whose 11-year-old daughter suffers from a congenital heart defect. But Wescott has no idea how her family will pay for life-saving surgery because FairPoint canceled health benefits for striking workers Oct. 31.
“I’m upset and angry. This isn’t something the company needed to do,” she says in the ad. “The company wouldn’t be in the position it is today if it wasn’t for the union members.”
Nearly 2,000 FairPoint employees in Northern New England went on strike Oct. 17, citing management’s unwillingness to bargain in good faith after company representatives walked away from contract negotiations. Bargaining, which began last April, were stonewalled by FairPoint management, who rejected every compromise offered by union negotiators.
FairPoint wants to outsource skilled New England jobs to low-paid, out-of-state-contractors.
“Our representatives offered numerous concessions which would have saved the company millions of dollars,” said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill. “But FairPoint refused to budge from its outrageous demands which would destroy middle-class jobs in communities throughout New England. All our members want is a fair deal so they can get back to doing what they do best: servicing their communities. “
Watch the new ads here.