Union Leaders Cautiously Optimistic About Sale of FairPoint to Illinois-Based Consolidated Communications
For immediate release, December 5, 2016
Portland, ME—Leaders of unions representing telecom workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont responded to the announcement by Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. that it plans to purchase FairPoint Communications in 2017. The sale is subject to approval by both companies’ shareholders and state regulators.
“It’s clear that the ill-advised sale of Verizon to FairPoint in 2008 has had a profound negative impact on workers and consumers in Northern New England. Just last month, FairPoint announced another major layoff of nearly 10% of its workforce even as regulators continue to investigate their service quality failures,” said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2327 in Maine. “Therefore, we view this potential sale with cautious optimism. We are hopeful that Consolidated will work with us to create and maintain good jobs in our communities and really improve the quality of service that our customers deserve.”
Statement on FairPoint’s Planned Layoff of 153 Workers Across Northern New England
This latest attack on FairPoint workers is just one more example of the company’s complete disregard for its workforce and its customers. These same workers helped bring the company back from bankruptcy in 2011 after a disastrous acquisition in 2008. Since the major layoff in 2015, those workers who remained have been asked to do more with less time and time again, and our customers are the ones who suffer. But the Wall Street owners of this company have always had one strategy, to cut costs and maximize their profits no matter the impact on our communities.
Julie Dawkins Appointed Assistant Business Manager, IBEW Local 2327
November 4, 2016–Many of you already know Julie because of her role as the Work and Family Coordinator, a position she held from April 2008 through December 2015. She was a Mobilization Coordinator throughout the Fairness@FairPoint campaign and a Picket Captain during our historic strike against FairPoint. Julie chaired the committee that was responsible for administering the Solidarity Fund during and after the strike, which helped scores of members in need. Julie has been a tireless fighter for her fellow members, and we’re lucky to have her join the team at the Hall.
Help Get Out the Vote in Maine
October 27, 2016–Election Day is only 12 days away. So much is at stake right here in Maine. There are two important ballot initiatives and pro-worker candidates for the state legislature who need our help to win on November 8th.
Join us as we connect with fellow Mainers by phone or at their front doors to discuss issues of importance to working families. Click “Read More” for a list of dates, times, and locations of canvassing and phone banking around the state.
IBEW Local 2327 Members Raise Thousands for Scholarship Fund
September 27, 2016–Last Sunday, September 25th, members of Local 2327 competed in the Eighth Annual Robert Browne Memorial Golf Tournament. The event raised more than $3,100 for the James H. Mayo Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to members’ kids going to college.
Members, their families, and friends turned out for the event at the Fairlawn Country Club and enjoyed a potluck lunch provided by volunteers.
First place went to the team made up of Mike Beecy, Peter Keefe, DJ McPhail, and Chris Whidden. The team donated their prize money–$300–back to the scholarship fund. The team made up of Todd and Butch Lefebvre, Marcel Roy, and Bob Watson came in last. They, and the first place winners, took home handsome golf shirts with the IBEW logo.
Dependent Care Audit: Correct Telephone Number
September 9, 2016—All members with dependents must participate in the Dependent Care Audit. The deadline has been extended to today. You may still get an extension, but you need to call today. The correct telephone number is:
Once you get your new form, you should return it with your dependent care verification materials to the following fax number:
Maine Unemployment Appeal Update
August 31, 2016—Last October, Maine’s Labor Commissioner overturned the decision of the hearing officer in our unemployment case. We appealed that decision. In a big win for FairPoint strikers, the Business Court has remanded the denial of benefits back to the Unemployment Commission with a new set of guidelines for deciding workers’ eligibility for unemployment benefits. Now the employer has the burden of proof to show that strikers were not eligible for unemployment benefits, and the Commission must decide on a week-by-week basis for the duration of the strike.
There is no need for members who applied for and received benefits to take any action at this time. We will continue to update you as this process unfolds.
Petitioning FairPoint: Time for a Fair Contract
April 4, 2016—Bargaining is in full swing now for FairPoint Telcom workers whose contract expires Monday, April 4. In a petition signed and delivered this week, members called on Executive Vice President Peter Nixon to reach an agreement that includes affordable healthcare and reasonable wage increases.
FairPoint Workers Picket Portland Headquarters to Protest Company’s Refusal to Compromise on Layoffs
June 18, 2015 — Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communications Workers of America (CWA) who work for FairPoint Communications conducted informational picketing at company headquarters on Davis Farm Road in Portland today to protest the company’s unwillingness to compromise on significant issues during talks about the recently announced layoff of more than 10% of the northern New England workforce.
Update on Unemployment Insurance for Maine Members
June 8, 2015—We got some good news today for members in Maine. The Maine Department of Labor Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, issued its decision regarding our appeal for unemployment insurance (UI). The Chief Administrative Hearing Officer found that there was no “stoppage of work” during our strike, and therefore members of IBEW Local 2327 and CWA Local 1400 who applied for UI are eligible for payments from October 19, 2014.
Member Update for June 2, 2015
Leaders of the IBEW locals in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont met with company representatives in Manchester today. We have not concluded an agreement yet.
Our proposals are designed to reduce the surplus and increase vacancies within the company. We received a preliminary vacancy list from the company. Seniority is still in dispute because of our disagreement about members’ lost time during the strike. The company has committed to respond to union leadership on this and other issues later this week. We will update you as soon as we have more information. CWA leaders will meet with the company tomorrow.
Solidarity Days: June 2-3, 2015
Leaders of the IBEW locals in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont will meet with the company on Tuesday, June 2nd. CWA leaders will meet with the company on Wednesday, June 3rd.
In support of our leadership team, we must show the company that we remain as UNITED as we were on the the day we returned to work after our historic strike. We call on every member to wear RED on Tuesday and Wednesday. Take SOLIDARITY SELFIES and pictures of your co-workers demonstrating their unity. E-mail them to us at FairnessAtFairPoint@gmail.com.
Member Update for May 26, 2015
Leaders of IBEW locals in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont met with company representatives in Manchester, NH, today.
Our goal was to present proposals to the company that would reduce the surplus and create more vacancies and opportunities for movement within the company. We had an energetic exchange of ideas; however, we have not reached any agreement yet.
Find Updates on FairPoint Workers on Facebook
We’re now updating news and announcements regarding the union workers at FairPoint Communications via our Facebook page. Please visit us there, like us, and share news with your friends. Thanks!
A Heartfelt Thank You to Everyone Who Supported Us
Our battle for a fair contract with FairPoint Communications was a long one, and we are grateful for the countless visitors to our picket lines who offered their smiles and words of encouragement. We thank you for the gallons of coffee and dozens of donuts, for the pizza, sandwiches, and homemade treats you’ve brought out to the lines to keep us warm morning and night.
Latest News Coverage of the FairPoint Strike
Across Northern New England, many news organizations covered the FairPoint Strike. Take a look at the links to some of the news and editorials. Or find stories in our archive by using the categories and tags on our News page here.
Sign-Up to Join Our Network of Allies
We still have a strong group of allies and supporters in Northern New England and throughout the country. We simply couldn’t keep up our fight against corporate greed without their encouragement. Please consider joining us.