FairPoint Strikers Stand United
October 23, 2014
FairPoint Communications employees continue to man picket lines throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont as their strike against the company enters its first week.
Nearly 2,000 members of the IBEW and the CWA went on strike Oct. 17, citing the company’s continuing unwillingness to bargain after FairPoint negotiators abandoned contract negotiations in late August.
“There is a real spirit of solidarity among the members,” said Augusta, Maine, Local 2327 Business Manager Peter McLaughlin. “No one wanted to strike, but everyone understands we have to stick together if we want to see some change.”
Negotiations on a new contract started last April. The company wanted the power to outsource New England jobs to out-of-state contractors, as well as freezing pensions for employees.
Every money-saving compromise offered by union negotiators was rejected by FairPoint.
The company, meanwhile has accused workers of intimidating managers and sabotaging service by jamming call centers, charges the IBEW and CWA vehemently deny
“FairPoint has provided no evidence for any of this,” McLaughlin said. “And we’ve been working closely with police to ensure that everyone is following all laws.”
The Fairness at FairPoint campaign responded to the company on its Facebook page:
Prior to the strike action, the unions carefully trained our members about their federally-protected rights to engage in peaceful picketing activity. We will continue to work hard to ensure that our labor action is safe and respectful to our neighbors and friends throughout Northern New England, but we will not let FairPoint use these spurious and unfounded allegations to take the spotlight off of the company’s unfair practices and unwillingness to bargain in good faith over appropriate working conditions for the hard-working men and women who have served these communities for many years.
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