FairPoint’s Intentions? You can’t take ’em to the bank.

Amy MasciolaMobilizationLeave a Comment

On September 12th, Bill Prins sent out another message to members describing the company’s plans to impose the outrageous terms and conditions of its final proposal.

In it he said, “I want you to understand that the Company does not intend to subcontract work that would cause the layoff of employees who did that work.”

We prefer to deal in facts rather than intentions. Let’s compare what the company has said and what it has actually done.

When FairPoint lobbied to purchase Verizon’s northern New England landline business in 2007, executives told regulators and customers that it was a financially viable company able to quintuple its size and add complex new operations.

Fact: After the sale, FairPoint was unable to successfully manage the cutover, leading to service quality problems and immense challenges for employees and customers. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy within 18 months of the sale.

When FairPoint came into Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont in 2008, executives promised to bring more than 700 jobs to our region.

Fact: According to CEO Paul Sunu, the company has shed 632 jobs (or 19.3%) in northern New England just since 2011. That’s what Sunu and his cronies on Wall Street call “head count rationalization.”

When FairPoint took over Verizon’s landline business, it said that it would be a local carrier and hire local people, bringing economic growth to our region.

Fact: During the transition the company outsourced dozens of jobs to a Canadian company and later to a New York-based company, all while laying off our members. Our union had to pursue the case all the way to the US Court of Appeals before a panel of judges agreed that the company illegally outsourced our jobs and ordered the company to bring the work back to Maine.

When asked about the imposed terms and conditions that allow the company to contract out our jobs, the company’s spokesperson has said repeatedly that, “contractors cannot be hired if it causes layoffs.”

Fact: The company has imposed on its union workers the terms and conditions of its final proposal. In that proposal, the company expressly removed all references to job security and reasonable limits on contracting out that existed in our expired collective bargaining agreement. The company has now greatly expanded its contracting out rights.

To be crystal clear, the current terms being imposed allow the company to contract out significantly more of our work than it did before. In addition, the company’s greatly expanded rights to contract out would ultimately lead to the elimination of our unions.