FairPoint Sponsors Conference on Health Care Reform While Slashing Workers’ Health Benefits

Amy MasciolaHealth Care, Mobilization, Press ReleaseLeave a Comment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, December 2, 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
CONTACT: Jim McNeill, 202-213-1614, Jim@FairnessAtFairpoint.com

Strikers will picket Tuesday at Augusta conference on health care reform co-sponsored by FairPoint, which has slashed workers’ health benefits

Union workers have offered compromise health plan that includes premiums and would save FairPoint more money than company’s own proposal

WHEN: Tuesday, December 2, 7:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Senator Inn & Spa, 284 Western Ave., Augusta, Maine

AUGUSTA — There will be some awkward moments Tuesday at a conference on health care reform co-sponsored by FairPoint Communications, which has slashed the health benefits of its own workers. Striking FairPoint workers will be on hand to picket and highlight the company’s unhealthy role in the event.

Health benefits are a key sticking point in the FairPoint strike, which began on October 17. FairPoint cut off the workers’ health insurance on October 31.

“Two thousand FairPoint families are scrambling for health care because this company refused to find common ground with its workers,” said Diane Winton, president of IBEW Local 2327. “FairPoint is the last company that should be sponsoring a conference about finding health care solutions.”

During contract talks that began in April, the union workers offered a health care package that would save the company $7 million a year. The union plan includes premium sharing and other compromises the company has sought.

The union plan would save FairPoint more money than the company’s own health care proposal. But the company rejected that and other union compromises when it abruptly ended bargaining in August and imposed its final offer.

Tuesday’s conference, entitled “Federal Health Care Reform: After the Mid-Term Elections and into 2015,” is being organized by the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. FairPoint is listed as an event sponsor.

FairPoint strikers and community supporters will picket outside the conference, which is being held at the Senator Inn & Spa and scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T-9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states. For more information, visit www.FairnessAtFairpoint.com.