Two-thousand unionized FairPoint employees across New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine will vote this weekend on whether they are willing to strike. The vote comes after two months of unsuccessful contract negotiations.
The electrical and communication workers’ contracts end August 2. Don Trementozzi, president of the union representing the communication workers, CWA local 1400, says FairPoint is demanding a lot of concessions, including the ability to outsource jobs that are currently union-only:
"The company wants to be able to contract any and all work and all job titles whenever they want."
Trementozzi says that could mean layoffs in favor of international call centers, as well as outside contracted repair crews.
In a statement, FairPoint says the company has no plans to reduce wages of existing employees. However, the company says, “we believe the current Union benefit plans are out of sync with the meainstream.”
FairPoint acquired Verizon Northern New England six years ago. The company then filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and cut about 500 jobs.
If the members vote in favor of strike authorization – and negotiations don’t improve, a strike could begin as early as August 2.