FairPoint contracts with union employees expire

Negotiations with two unions were not completed before the contracts ran out on Saturday, according to a statement from FairPoint Communications.

Union members voted to authorize a strike last month. The strike authorization is a precursor to a work stoppage; it gives union leaders the go-ahead to call for a strike at some point in the future.

The company, which provides phone and Internet service to customers in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, will continue under most of the terms of the expired contracts.

Ange Amores Beaudry, spokeswoman for the company, said there has been no movement toward an agreement.

The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers she said have “dug in” on benefits under contracts from “a bygone era.” The two unions represent about 450 workers in Vermont.

“To date, the unions have rejected company proposals on most of the core issues in these negotiations,” said Beaudry. “There has been little or no movement on pensions, retiree medical for active employees or subcontracting, issues which are key to reaching new contracts.”

FairPoint and the union are in disagreement over use of outside contractors who would be used to replace union workers, among other issues, including a freeze on pensions and a discontinuation of health care benefits for retirees.

The company wants to restructure its retirement system for workers in order to better compete with its rivals in the telecommunications industry.

Unionized workers at FairPoint make on average $115,000 a year, including benefits. The company covers 100 percent of health care costs.

Anne Galloway

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  • Bill Guenther

    The Faripoint employee benefits are beyond generous.. They should be reduced to a reasonable level. I cannot fathom how any union thinks its fair to have 100% paid health insurance premiums, and unlimited sick days.. while we ratepayers suffer.. I typically side with Unions, as long as they’re demands are fair and reasonable, but these are not ….

  • Paul Richards

    “Unionized workers make an average of $115,000 a year with benefits. FairPoint also covers health care and paid sick leave.”
    It’s never enough. We are all hostage to these unwarranted union pay scales in these private sector monopolies and in public sector union jobs. I would be getting a raise if I made half that but I still have to pay my phone bill if I want service.

  • Jamie Longtin

    Before you all run off at the mouth about excessive benefits and pay remember that utility work is dangerous work. Working aloft, working alone, working on aging and maintenance neglected poles and wires, dodging drunk or distracted drivers day and night! Think about this next time your power is out, and you are sitting at home whining about it, there is someone who has left their warm home to get you back on line. When your internet isn’t working next time because of a car pole accident on a sub zero snowy night, remember, the ” over paid ” technician is out there restoring your service. Maybe you should stop whining about your low pay and make an effort to improve your own job situation and stop trying to tear down those who keep you warm and connected!

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