CWA LOCAL 1400

Could Reviving the Strike, Revive the Labor Movement?

Find out at a book & author event with Joe Burns author of:
 Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America 
AND
• Strike Back: Using the Militant Tactics of Labor's Past to Reignite Public Sector Unionism Today

Joe Burns is a veteran union negotiator and labor lawyer, and a former local union president.

Tuesday, February 10, 7:00 – 9:00 pm 
SEIU Local 888, 52 Roland Street, Charlestown, MA
Four minute walk from Sullivan Sq. Orange Line T 

Sponsored by [list in formation]: Harvard Trade Union Program, Mass AFL-CIO, AFSCME Local 1526, CWA Local 1400, IBEW Local 2222, IBEW Local 2321, Jobs with Justice, The Labor Guild, SEIU State Council, SEIU Local 888, United Electrical Workers, Northeast Region, UFCW Local 1445, Work Rights Press.

Please RSVP by email rand.wilson@gmail.com or call 617-949-9720

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS!

On Wednesday, December 10th, our brothers and sisters in the Verizon Wireless retail store in Everett, MA voted 9 to 4 to join the Communications Workers of America.

For years management denied these workers job security, quota stability, and basic respect, but today the 15 employees in the store said enough is enough.

"Unity is strength." said Paola Johnson a Solutions Specialist who was hired by VZW only months before the election, "When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

 

 

IBEW-CWA Solidarity Fund

http://www.gofundme.com/IBEW-CWA-Strike-Relief

 

We are the IBEW and the CWA. We are your friends, your neighbors and your family. We have been repairing, installing and expanding the telecommunications network in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont for decades. We connect homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. We believe a hard day's work deserves a living wage.

We are in a battle against FairPoint Communications, New England's largest telecom company. FairPoint is owned by Wall Street hedge funds that are trying to destroy our jobs, families and communities. This is Wall Street vs. Main Street. 

We are on strike because FairPoint executives and their Wall Street investors decided it was more important to outsource good northern New England jobs than follow through on their commitment to provide good service.

We're fighting for good, middle-class jobs with decent wages, job security, affordable healthcare and a secure retirement. FairPoint wants to turn our jobs into minimum wage temp jobs, no matter the impact on our communities.

It's Wall Street they care about, not Main Street.

 

 

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU

from all the FairPoint Members on strike

to everyone who helped give them a

VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

 

http://www.seacoastonline.com

 

http://www.nh1.com

Dec 19, 2014 11:48 AM

1,000 toys donated for children of striking FairPoint workers

By: Siobhan Lopez

NH1.com

PORTSMOUTH - Christmas came early for the hundreds of striking FairPoint employees who have children. The union workers have been on strike for 10 weeks and many weren't sure what their holiday season would be like. In the matter of just a few weeks, more than 1,000 donations have come in from across the world to help make sure these families can have a nice Christmas.

The outpouring of support was clear at the CWA union hall in Portsmouth Friday, as striking workers loaded up trucks and vans to deliver the toys to families in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, the three states served by FairPoint workers.

Many who are receiving the gifts for their kids are overwhelmed. They say they are usually the ones holding drives for people in need during the holidays.

1,700 FairPoint workers walked off the job on October 17th. They say they won't go back to work until the company negotiates a contract with them. The company has since hired replacemnt workers.

 

FairnessAtFairPoint.com

 

Please go online, check out the photos and information, and sign up for updates. Also, tell your friends and be sure they sign up. This is a campaign for everyone in Northern New England who cares about fairness for our region's telecom workers.

Please fill in the Take Action form on the website.

 

CWA Local 1400 Tape Line for Bargaining Updates:

(603) 431-4440

 

 

On Strike Against FairPoint - STRIKE PICTURES - Click Here

Verizon Wireless Workers in Massachussetts Join the Union Movement

 

 

Who's next? EVERETT'S NEXT!

BREAKING: workers at Verizon Wireless in Everett, MA file this week for a union election to be represented by the Communications Workers of America!

This is the second union election sought by Verizon Wireless workers in the Northeast this year. The news comes just two months after workers in Brooklyn Verizon wireless enter contract negotiations with the company after voting 39-19 in May to be represented by the CWA.

"I'm ecstatic to know another group of my Vzw brothers and sisters have stepped up to fight for a union! They are brave and their unity will help them win. When they do, I'll be right in Brooklyn cheering them on. It's great to see more wireless workers see that we need a voice and a powerful movement to make some improvements!" - Tatiana Hill, Sales rep at Vzw & CWA LOCAL 1109 member in Brooklyn, NY.

In addition to the Sales reps and CSR's at Verizon wireless stores in Brooklyn represented by CWA, the workers in Everett seek to join the 85 techs at Verizon Wireless and over 40,000 members at Verizon landline.

 

Most Recent FairPoint Bargaining/Strike Updates:

 

For immediate release: January 2, 2015

 

UNION LEADERS RESPOND TO MEDIATION ANNOUNCEMENT

 

AUGUSTA-Today the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) announced that leaders of IBEW and CWA and representatives of FairPoint Communications would meet on Sunday, January 4, at the FMCS office in Washington, D.C. to resume negotiations for a new contract under the auspices of the federal mediator. [See the FMCS announcement below.]
 
Union leaders issued the following statements:
 
“We appreciate the federal mediator’s work to bring the two sides together,” said Peter McLaughlin, chair of the unions’ bargaining committee and Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 in Maine. “This is a positive step and we look forward to resuming negotiations with FairPoint. It’s time to reach a fair deal for working families and communities in New England.”
 
“We hope FairPoint will come to the meeting prepared to make the compromises necessary to reach a fair deal that preserves good jobs in New England and ensures the quality service that our customers need and deserve,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400.
 
“We welcome this development and are hopeful the mediation leads to an agreement that’s good for our members, our customers, and the future health of the company,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “We have been willing to compromise from the beginning, but it takes two to negotiate.”
 
“This strike has been hard for our members and for thousands of customers who’ve had to endure long outages and frustrating wait times for repairs as FairPoint’s contingency workers have failed to keep up with our winter weather,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont. “We appreciate the mediator’s efforts to bring the two sides together. We are ready to find common ground for the good of our communities.”
 
The federal mediation process requires that negotiators on both sides will not be allowed to disclose any information about the negotiations once they begin on January 4.
 
The two unions representing 1,800 workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont began negotiations for a new contract with FairPoint in April. Negotiations ended on August 27 and the company imposed the terms and conditions of its final offer on August 28. Union workers went on strike on October 17.
 
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.
 

###   

 

For Immediate Release: Friday, January 2, 2015

 

FMCS Statement on Labor Negotiations
Between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW),
The Communications Workers of America (CWA),
And FairPoint Communications Inc.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Allison Beck, Acting Director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), issued the following statement today on the labor negotiations between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and FairPoint Communications Inc.:
 
“In response to a request from the FMCS, representatives of IBEW, CWA and FairPoint Communications Inc. will meet under FMCS auspices in Washington, D.C.  FMCS has assigned a team of experienced mediators to assist the parties in reaching mutually acceptable agreements to resolve the work stoppage begun on October 17, 2014.”
 
As is Agency practice, the FMCS is not releasing additional information regarding meeting dates and locations. In addition, the FMCS will have no further comment at this time regarding the status or substance of the negotiations.
 
 
###

 

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, created in 1947, is an independent U.S. government agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 10 district offices and 67 field offices, the agency provides mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies and communities.

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 22, 2014

 

 

SHAHEEN, KUSTER URGE RESOLUTION OF FAIRPOINT LABOR DISPUTE

In letter to FairPoint Communications, Shaheen and Kuster call on company to return to negotiating table

 

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) in a letter today called on FairPoint Communications Chief Executive Officer Paul Sunu and the FairPoint Communications management team to return to the bargaining table and resolve the ongoing labor disagreement that has led to 2000 FairPoint employees striking across New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. The strike that began October 17 has led to disrupted service for customers throughout the region, including for police departments, fire departments, health care providers and schools, jeopardizing emergency communications and critical public safety services. 

 

“With the onset of winter weather increasing the potential for further damage to FairPoint’s network, we strongly urge you to return to the negotiating table and finalize a new contract,” Shaheen and Kuster wrote. “Reaching a new contract agreement with the striking workers will enable experienced, dedicated FairPoint personnel to return to their jobs and begin the critical task of repairing the telecommunications infrastructure that is vital to public safety in New Hampshire.” 

 

Since the strike started more than two months ago, the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission has received nearly 500 complaints from customers in New Hampshire reporting service issues.

 

The full text of Shaheen and Kuster's letter is included below:

 

December 22, 2014

 

Paul H. Sunu

Chief Executive Officer

FairPoint Communications

521 E Morehead Street, Suite 500

Charlotte, NC 28202

 

Dear Mr. Sunu:

 

We write to encourage you and your management team to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a reasonable compromise with FairPoint workers in northern New England that will bring an end to their two-month long strike.

 

Since FairPoint workers went on strike on October 17, the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission has received nearly 500 complaints from FairPoint customers around the state about service outages, lack of information and unduly long waits for repairs.  Clearly, FairPoint’s impasse with its workers is having a negative impact on both the company and its customers.  In fact, problems with FairPoint’s network since the strike began have not only affected residential customers, but have also caused service outages for police departments, fire departments, health care providers and schools throughout the state, jeopardizing emergency communications and critical public safety services. 

 

With the onset of winter weather increasing the potential for further damage to FairPoint’s network, we strongly urge you to return to the negotiating table and finalize a new contract.  Reaching a new contract agreement with the striking workers will enable experienced, dedicated FairPoint personnel to return to their jobs and begin the critical task of repairing the telecommunications infrastructure that is vital to public safety in New Hampshire. 

 

When FairPoint took over Verizon’s New Hampshire network in 2008, the company made repeated, public commitments to work collaboratively with its unionized workforce and to maintain their benefits and compensation.  We urge you to continue to uphold these commitments, to resume contract negotiations, and to reach a fair agreement that ends this strike and enables FairPoint’s employees to resume earning good wages and providing quality service to customers in New Hampshire.

 

Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen, United States Senator

Ann McLane Kuster, Member of Congress

 

 

November 18, 2014

FairPoint Refuses to Compromise at Meeting Today in Boston

 
BOSTON — FairPoint officials refused to modify their demand for $700 million in cuts at a meeting Tuesday in Boston. A federal mediator arranged the meeting, which was an attempt to jump-start contract talks that FairPoint abruptly ended this summer.

FairPoint’s nearly 2,000 union workers have been on strike since October 17 because of the company's unfair practices. The workers are calling on FairPoint to return to the table and negotiate an agreement that maintains good jobs and quality service for New England. 

“The company began these talks demanding $700 million in crippling cuts, and today they’re still making the same demand,” said Peter McLaughlin, Chair of System Council T-9 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). “They’re not trying to find common ground with us, they’re trying to turn good middle-class jobs into low-wage jobs with bare-bones benefits.”

The company walked away from negotiations with its union workers in August and imposed proposals that slash all workers’ benefits and cut pay for most new employees by more than 20 percent. Before going on strike, the workers spent nearly two months trying to reopen talks with the company.

“This North Carolina company can keep dragging its heels, but we will win a fair deal for New England,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont. “We will not allow them to outsource the good jobs of New England and turn them into temp jobs filled by out-of-state contractors.”

“FairPoint’s attack on its skilled workers is an attack on the customers we serve,” said Don Trementozzi, President of Communications Workers of America Local 1400. “FairPoint’s executives need to understand northern New England’s telecom network isn’t their own personal profit center. It’s the lifeline of the people we serve.”

FairPoint, a North Carolina-based company largely owned by Wall Street hedge funds, has hired replacement workers during the strike, but they are struggling to maintain the company’s network. There have been reports of widespread service interruptions and long lag times fixing storm-related outages.

“You can’t run a high-tech company with low-wage workers,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “Every day they prolong this strike is one more day they’re forcing substandard service on our customers in northern New England.”

Throughout the contract talks, which began in April, FairPoint has insisted on $700 million in deep and damaging cuts. The union has offered $200 million in cost savings, but the company has refused to make a single substantive compromise in bargaining.

In the wake of Tuesday’s meeting, FairPoint workers and their supporters from across the Northeast are moving forward with a major rally in Montpelier this Thursday, November 20.

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.

 

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2014


FairPoint Strike Becoming Major Election Issue in Northern New England on Campaign’s Final Weekend


Fight for good jobs by 2,000 FairPoint workers is impacting races in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont
 
With FairPoint poised to cut off workers’ health coverage on Halloween, the threat to region’s middle-class a frightening reality pols can’t ignore

 

MANCHESTER, N.H.—In the final weekend before Tuesday’s election, the strike at FairPoint Communications has become a major issue in races across northern New England. The two-week-old strike by nearly 2,000 union workers has drawn candidates to the picket lines in all three states and factored in New Hampshire’s final gubernatorial debate.
 
The dispute at FairPoint is set to get even more intense on Halloween, as the company has announced it will cut off striking workers’ health care coverage at midnight. With the strike—and the election campaign—heating up, following is an overview of the role the strike has played in the region’s races:
 
New Hampshire – In the Granite State debate on Wednesday, both gubernatorial candidates were asked about their stance on the FairPoint strike. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan offered strong support for the strikers, saying “these are workers who for the last three years have been helping FairPoint recover from bankruptcy, working incredibly hard to get the company back on its feet.”
 
Hassan went on to say, “I’ll continue to urge this North Carolina company to think about New Hampshire-specific solutions and the New Hampshire workers who are really trying to come to the table and work with the company.”
 
Republican challenger Walt Havenstein initially hedged his response to the FairPoint question, saying “both sides are right.” But Havenstein went on to say of the workers that he “respected their right to negotiate.”
 
Vermont – On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch issued a letter to FairPoint CEO Paul H. Sunu noting that he’d “visited with those walking the picket line in Burlington” and heard their “passionate commitment to customer service.” Welch said, “I strongly urge you to return to the bargaining table in good faith and find common ground with the working men and women of your company.”
 
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, though not up for re-election, held a press conference with FairPoint strikers on Wednesday and criticized the telecom firm for “putting the interests of the multi-billion dollar hedge fund companies who own the company ahead of its workers and customers.”
 
Maine – U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree has made multiple visits to FairPoint picket lines, as have Democratic candidate for governor Mike Michaud, Senate candidate Shenna Bellows, and congressional candidate Emily Cain.
 
The FairPoint workers—members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T9 and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400—have been encouraged by the high profile attention the strike has received.
 
“It’s great to see that we’ve got so many allies in this fight,” said Todd Bedard, a FairPoint service technician in New Hampshire and a member of IBEW Local 2320. “The company’s move to cut off our health care coverage shows that they’re out to gut good jobs in northern New England. But we’ve been preparing for this fight, so we’ve got our money saved and our friends standing with us, so we’re not going away.”
 
“The stakes in this strike are becoming very clear,” said Nicole Johnston, a FairPoint customer service representative in Bangor, Maine, and a member of CWA Local 1400. “If a telecom company can cut benefits to the bone, then no middle-class worker is safe. I grew up in a phone company family, so these were the benefits that gave us a good life. But what am I going to do for my daughters if our health care goes away?”
 
“We’re not looking to get rich, we’re just looking to sustain our families,” said Mike Gauthier, a FairPoint service technician in Brattleboro, Vt., and a member of IBEW Local 2326. “We offered the company a compromise that would save them millions in health care costs, but they refused. We’ve got to stand up for our families and for good jobs.”
 
Contract talks at FairPoint began on April 25 when the company came to the table with proposals that would cost workers more than $700 million. The company sought to freeze pensions, dramatically raise health care costs, cut retiree health care, and institute a two-tier wage system that would pay new hires as little as minimum wage. In addition, the company sought to outsource union members’ work to out-of-state and foreign contractors.
 
Though the workers offered compromises worth more than $200 million in savings for the company, the company rejected every significant union proposal. The company declared an impasse on August 27 and imposed the terms and conditions of their proposals on the workers. The unions have charged the company with violating federal labor law and are seeking injunctive relief from the National Labor Relations Board.
 
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T9 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
 http://www.fairnessatfairpoint.com/.

FairPoint Workers Strike Against Wall Street “Wolves”

Don Trementozzi (CWA) and Mike Spillane (IBEW) discuss the stakes for customers and employees at FairPoint. On October 17th nearly 2,000 FairPoint Communications employees, members of IBEW Locals 2320 (New Hampshire), 2326 (Vermont), and 2327 (Maine), and CWA Local 1400 (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont) began an unfair labor practice strike over FairPoint Communications unwillingness to bargain in good faith, and the company's illegally imposing its final proposals without the parties having reached impasse. The new employment terms include a two-tier wage system that would pay little more than the minimum wage to the lower tier, the elimination of defined-benefit pensions for future hires, a freeze on contributions to existing pensions, higher health care costs, and the freedom to outsource work to out-of-state or foreign contractors. In 2007, to win the states' approval of the FairPoint-Verizon deal, FairPoint promised to create at least 675 jobs. Yet FairPoint has cut its workforce by almost 22 percent, outsourcing jobs in violation of its promises and its collective bargaining agreements. Wall St. hedge fund speculators have a controlling stake in the company. The hedge funds operators are demanding cost-cutting measures, including lower wages and fewer benefits for workers to get bigger dividends for shareholders and to be more attractive for a merger or sale. The company has trained managers to be strikebreakers, and is using out-of-state scabs. Across all three states, customers will be collateral damage as installations and repairs will suffer without skilled staff to provide services and repairs. This is dangerous for rural populations whose emergency 911 calls could even be disrupted. We should demand that FairPoint provide essential telecommunications services by settling a fair contract.

 

October 16, 2014

 

Today your union leaders met with FairPoint company representatives. The company refuses to compromise. We now have no choice but to strike.

As of 12:01 a.m. October 17th, we are on strike. If you are working tonight, and your shift extends past 12 o'clock, leave your workplace at midnight--not before.

Picketing at pre-determined work sites will begin tomorrow, October 17th.
Please plan to report to your assigned picket sites tomorrow. You will receive more details from your mobilizer, steward, or picket captain soon.

Your bargaining team needs the full support of every member at this critical time. Only together will we win this fight!

We are Union. We are proven. Hang tough!

 

For immediate release, Oct 16, 2014

FairPoint Workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont On Strike


Unions Say Company Refuses to Compromise to Preserve Reliable Service and Good Jobs

Augusta, ME-At 12:01 a.m. on Friday, October 17th, nearly 2,000 employees of FairPoint Communications (FRP) in northern New England will go on strike. Early Friday morning they will establish picket lines at hundreds of work sites across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

“The company's actions have brought us to this place,” said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 in Maine. “We did not want to take this step. Our members want to work; they want to take care of their customers. However, our bargaining team worked as hard as we could to reach a fair agreement that would preserve good jobs and help the company prosper. We've offered significant concessions to this company that would save them hundreds of millions of dollars. But they absolutely refuse to compromise on any significant issue.”

Negotiations began on April 25th, when the company came to the table with proposals that would cost workers more than $700 million. The company sought to freeze pensions, raise health care costs, cut retiree health care, and institute a two-tier wage system that would pay new hires as little as minimum wage. In addition, the company sought to end job security and outsource union members’ work to out-of-state and foreign contractors.

After dozens of bargaining sessions during which the company rejected every significant union proposal, the company declared an impasse on August 27th and imposed the terms and conditions of their proposals on the workers. The unions have charged the company with violating federal labor law and are seeking injunctive relief from the National Labor Relations Board.

Employees say the North Carolina-based company, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, wants to slash labor costs in order to either sell the business or satisfy shareholders with dividends. “This company is largely owned by a small number of Wall Street hedge funds like Angelo, Gordon & Co.,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “Their priority is to squeeze as much money as possible out of the workers who've kept this company going, not to provide the 21st-century telecommunications system that northern New Englanders need and deserve.”

Union leaders say the company hired a notorious “union avoidance” law firm, Seyfarth Shaw, to lead the negotiations with the goal of forcing draconian terms on the workers. “It is clear that this company never intended to reach a negotiated agreement with our members,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “They put their outrageous proposals on the table on April 25th and never budged. That is not good faith. That is not compromise and cooperation. It is disrespect, pure and simple. Our members refuse to work under these conditions any longer.”

Members of IBEW and CWA as well as supporters from other unions and community organizations will picket at work sites in order to bring public awareness to their situation and to deter replacement workers from crossing their picket lines. They will ask customers and service providers not to cross the lines to do business or make deliveries to FairPoint locations.

“This fight is about keeping good middle-class jobs in our region and making sure that customers get the service they deserve from well-trained, experienced workers, not low-wage temps from out-of-state or overseas,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont. “Our members have been organizing and educating the public for well over a year. While they would much rather continue to work and take care of our customers, they are absolutely united and ready to strike for as long as it takes to win a fair agreement.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T9 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.

 

 

October 14, 2014

 

 

For immediate release: October 14, 2014

 

FairPoint Freezes Pensions of Nearly 2,000 Northern New England Employees
Union Members Call On Major Shareholder Angelo, Gordon to Intervene


Boston, MA—Today, FairPoint Communications froze the pensions of nearly 2,000 employees who build, maintain, and service vital telecommunications infrastructure throughout Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The company has already stopped providing retiree health care and support for child and elder care. Workers say that this is all part of FairPoint’s plan to turn their good middle-class jobs into low-wage temporary jobs.

Unions representing the employees had been negotiating with the company since April to reach new collective bargaining agreements. Leaders of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) say that FairPoint management abandoned the bargaining process on August 27th after refusing to compromise on any substantive issue since negotiations began.

Almost 50 percent of FairPoint’s stock is owned by just five hedge funds, including Angelo, Gordon & Co., FairPoint’s single largest shareholder with almost 20 percent of outstanding stock. FairPoint workers have called on Angelo, Gordon to urge company executives to resume bargaining with their unions and reach a fair agreement.

This morning, several FairPoint employees traveled to Boston to educate attendees of the 60th Annual Employee Benefits Conference about Angelo, Gordon’s role in freezing their pensions and ending retiree health care. Many conference attendees, including administrators of public pension funds and union Taft-Hartley plans, are potential clients of Angelo, Gordon because the firm manages billions of dollars in retirement investments of public sector workers and union members across the country.

FairPoint workers point out that Angelo, Gordon makes tens of millions in fees from public pension and union retirement plans, but has so far failed to stop FairPoint from freezing the retirement plans of its own employees.

According to Jenn Nappi, Assistant Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 in Augusta, Maine, “Angelo, Gordon wants to have it both ways. It wants to continue to profit from managing the retirement investments of working people from all across the country, while it allows FairPoint, a company in which it controls one-fifth of all shares and has a designee on the board of directors, to freeze the pensions of 2,000 workers in northern New England.”

FairPoint workers and their allies say they refuse to remain silent while Angelo, Gordon games the system. “Today’s action will be one of many in the coming weeks to expose Angelo, Gordon and the other major owners of FairPoint. The firm can play a positive role and engage with FairPoint management in support of a fair agreement with their employees,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “We hope they will reconsider their current position and make a difference for working families in northern New England.”

IBEW System Council T9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. CWA Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states.

 

 

October 3, 2014

FairPoint members support United Steel Workers in Waterville Maine. On the line was our next Maine Senator Bellows!!

October 2, 2014

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka met with members of our Bargaining Team, Jenn Nappi of IBEW Local 2327 and Don Trementozzi of CWA Local 1400, to discuss the company's assault on working families in northern New England and to strategize ways to enlist union members around the country in our fight for fairness. Matt Schlobohm and Don Berry of the Maine AFL-CIO also joined the meeting. Thank you President Trumka!

 

September 23, 2014

For immediate release: September 23, 2014

Major Hedge Fund Owner and FairPoint Investor Says Company Must Treat Workers Fairly
Unions Call on Angelo, Gordon to Push Company to Return to Bargaining

 
Augusta, ME—On September 5th, Angelo, Gordon & Co. president Lawrence Schloss responded to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s request that the hedge fund’s CEO urge FairPoint “to find common ground with its workforce” in the current labor dispute in northern New England. In addition to owning almost 20 percent of FairPoint stock, Angelo, Gordon & Co. has a designee on FairPoint’s board of directors.

DiNapoli is sole Trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF), the nation’s third largest public pension fund. The CRF is an investor in the AG Super Fund, a hedge fund managed by Angelo, Gordon & Co.

According to Schloss, “Angelo, Gordon agrees with [DiNapoli’s] belief that a company with a constructive relationship with its workers will become a stronger, more profitable and more enduring enterprise.” Furthermore, Schloss said the hedge fund owners believe that, “FairPoint must treat its workers fairly and in compliance with all laws.”

Schloss went on to say that the hedge fund owners have communicated to FairPoint that “we are against the termination of defined benefit and retiree health plans where there are other cost reductions available that can obtain similar financial savings.” Schloss concluded, “Angelo, Gordon has made clear its desire that both the company and the employees be willing to make the concessions necessary to reach a long-term agreement.”

Leaders of the unions representing almost 2,000 members at FairPoint Communications in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont welcomed Schloss’s intervention on behalf of FairPoint’s largest investor, but called on him to take additional action to resolve the dispute. “While we are pleased that Mr. Schloss has responded to Mr. DiNapoli’s concerns, we call on Angelo, Gordon to go further,” said Peter McLaughlin, chairman of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T9 and co-chairman of the unions’ bargaining committee. “Our bargaining team has been willing to compromise with the company from the beginning, offering counter proposals that would save the company more than $200 million, but the company has rejected every substantive proposal we’ve put forward. We urge executives at Angelo, Gordon to use their influence as the largest owner of FairPoint stock to persuade company negotiators to return to the table and engage in meaningful bargaining.”

Union leaders said they would continue to educate investors, the board of directors, and the public about the company’s attempts to destroy good jobs in northern New England and the impact on customers of FairPoint’s indiscriminate cost cutting. “Mr. Schloss claims that the company wants a swift and fair resolution, and maybe that’s what FairPoint CEO Paul Sunu has told his board of directors and his biggest investors,” said Don Trementozzi, president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 and co-chair of the unions’ bargaining committee. “However, if that were true, why has the company abandoned the bargaining process after months of refusing to compromise on any proposal? If that were true, why has the company imposed terms and conditions on its workers that allow them to outsource all our jobs to out-of-state and foreign contractors? Actions speak louder than words. If Angelo, Gordon really wants a swift resolution, it should urge FairPoint to return to the bargaining table immediately and bargain in good faith.”

IBEW System Council T9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. CWA Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states.

 

September 9, 2014

For immediate release: September 9, 2014

New York State Comptroller Intervenes In FairPoint Labor Dispute
Calls on Major Hedge Fund Owner and FairPoint Investor to Ensure Fair Treatment of Workers

 
Augusta, ME—On September 3rd, Thomas DiNapoli, Comptroller of the State of New York, wrote to John Angelo, CEO of Angelo, Gordon & Co.—owner of almost 20 percent of FairPoint stock—to express his concern about reports that FairPoint has violated federal law in bargaining with representatives of almost 2,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in northern New England.

According to Mr. DiNapoli’s letter, “In our experience as a long-term institutional investor, where a company has a constructive relationship with its workers and provides sustainable retirement benefits, the company becomes a stronger, more profitable, and more enduring enterprise.”

He went on to say that, “We are, therefore, concerned by publicly reported allegations that FairPoint has not acted in good faith and has violated federal law; specifically, assertions that FairPoint improperly declared an impasse in collective bargaining and unlawfully imposed” the terms of its final contract proposals.

Union leaders welcomed Mr. DiNapoli’s intervention. “Angelo, Gordon is the largest FairPoint stockholder and has tremendous influence over management’s decisions. We hope that Mr. Angelo takes seriously this intervention by Mr. DiNapoli, who represents one of the largest pension funds in the US,” said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 and chair of the unions’ bargaining committee.

The Chairman of FairPoint’s Board of Directors, Edward Horowitz, recently informed an advisor to union leaders that members of the Board have been briefed on the company’s bargaining position and that the Board fully endorses that position.

“It is disappointing to hear that members of FairPoint’s Board of Directors support the company’s attacks on working families across northern New England,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “We believe that our members are the reason this company emerged from bankruptcy and has begun to recover after its truly ill-advised purchase of Verizon. We will continue to educate investors like the CRF about this company’s decision to put short-term profits above the long-term interests of its workers, customers, and their communities.”

View the letter here.

 

September 8, 2014

CWA Local 1400 VT Members with Senator Bernie Sanders. The Senator is well informed of our contract fight with FairPoint!

 

 

September 3, 2014

 

Rally in New York City: Paul Sunu Speaking Engagement

 

Paul Sunu! You Can't Hide. WE CAN SEE YOUR GREEDY SIDE!!

Union members turned out by the hundreds to send a message to Paul Sunu, who is speaking this morning at a telecom meeting in midtown:

NO CONTRACT, NO PEACE!

 

 

August 31, 2014

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We write to you today at a crucial moment in the life of our Unions. The Company has imposed terms and conditions on us that would outrage any union member anywhere.

Have no doubt. We are outraged. We are disgusted. And, we are fighting back.

We urge every member to rest assured: your Bargaining Committee is united. We are working every single day to reach a fair agreement. We have an outstanding team of financial advisors, strategic campaign operatives, and attorneys on our side. And, most important of all, we have a team of well-trained and informed Member Mobilizers in every worksite across our three states. We’ve built a mobilization structure that works, and you should rely on your Mobilizers for good information. Anything you hear or read from a source other than someone on the Mobilization Team or the Bargaining Committee is not reliable.

Every move this company has made since before bargaining commenced has been with one goal, to gut our unions. With their union-busting attorney at the head of the pack, they made their outrageous proposals on April 25th and then refused to compromise on any substantial element during dozens of so-called bargaining sessions. All the while they brought in replacement workers in a blatant attempt to intimidate our members. Now they’ve implemented terms and conditions that insult us to our very core.

The IBEW and CWA across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont will not be bullied by the Company into taking any precipitous action that does not move us toward our common goal, to win a fair agreement for our members. Now more than ever, we must all focus our energy and our anger on the people who have brought us here: Paul Sunu and the Wall Street hedge fund owners who control his every move.

Our unions, together with unions and allies across the United States, will focus on holding Sunu and his Wall Street overlords responsible for their attacks on working people in Northern New England.

You and your co-workers have mobilized like never before and your visible actions have sent a strong message of unity to your Bargaining Team, the Company, and the public. We must all continue to fight together.

Stay focused. Stay united. Stay on high alert, and trust in your Bargaining Team.

We are union. We are one.

In unity there is strength,

Peter McLaughlin, Chair, IBEW System Council T9, and Business Manager, IBEW Local 2327

Don Trementozzi, President, CWA Local 1400

 

 

For immediate release, August 28, 2014

Contact:
For IBEW 2327, Maine: Peter McLaughlin, 207-623-2901, PeteMcLaughlin@ibew2327.org
For CWA 1400: Don Trementozzi, 401-465-1277, dtrementozzi1400@aol.com
 

FairPoint Walks Away From Bargaining Process, Declares Impasse
Unions Accuse Company of Federal Labor Law Violations


Augusta, ME--Unions representing nearly 2,000 employees of FairPoint Communications in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont met with the company on August 27 in Nashua, NH. The unions made a comprehensive proposal despite the company's rejection of several earlier proposals.

The company then waited several hours before notifying the unions by email that the parties are at impasse and that the company would impose its last contract proposals at 12:01 a.m. on August 28.

"We strongly disagree with the company. We have not reached impasse. The company should stay at the table and continue to work with us to reach an acceptable agreement," said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2327 in Augusta and chair of the unions' bargaining committee.

The unions have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the company of violating federal law by not bargaining in good faith.

"We are deeply disappointed that FairPoint has walked away from the bargaining process," said Don Trementozzi, President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400. "We have worked tirelessly for months to negotiate an agreement that is fair to our members, our customers, and the company. We believe the company never intended to reach an agreement with us, but has been pushing towards this outcome all along."

According to union leaders, the company has rejected every significant proposal the union has put forward since bargaining began in April and has refused to offer any counter proposals since before the contract expired on August 2.

"The company has refused to bargain with us, and their negotiators have even attempted to intimidate and bully us throughout the process," said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in Manchester, NH.  "But our members will not be intimidated by this company. They are determined to stand up for good jobs and our customers."

Union leaders say FairPoint management wants to outsource hundreds of good jobs in Northern New England to low wage, out-of-state contractors. The company’s proposals would be devastating for communities that depend on well-trained and experienced workers to build and maintain their landlines, cell towers, DSL, and even 911 systems.

"FairPoint's employees are some of the best trained, most experienced telecommunications workers in this country," said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Burlington, VT. "But FairPoint executives are determined to outsource their work to low road contractors no matter the impact on customers and our communities. We will continue to fight their attempts to outsource our future."

The union bargaining team will meet with its attorneys and other key advisors on Thursday morning to assess the situation and decide on next steps. In the meantime, the union has notified all members to continue working until further notice.

IBEW System Council T9 represents nearly 1,700 FairPoint employees in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. CWA Local 1400 represents nearly 300 employees in the three states.

 

 

August 28, 2014

 

EMERGENCY UPDATE
 
As we said in our earlier update, your bargaining team met with the company on Wednesday in Nashua, where we made a new comprehensive proposal. After keeping your bargaining team waiting for more than 4 hours, the company’s chief negotiator said they had to consult with their management team and left the meeting.
 
In true cowardly fashion, the company waited several more hours to notify the unions by email that the parties are at impasse and that the company will impose its proposals at 12:01 am on August 28.
 
We do NOT believe that the parties are at impasse, nor have we received from the company the specific terms which it has imposed. The bargaining team will meet with our attorneys and other key advisors as soon as possible to assess the situation and decide on our next steps.
 
In the meantime, all members should continue to work safely. Remain on high alert for information from your Mobilizers and Stewards. We will notify you as soon as we have made decisions about our next course of action.
 
Remember, we are UNION. We are ONE. In unity there is STRENGTH.

 

 

August 27, 2014

Your bargaining team met with the company today, Wednesday August 27.

The unions made yet another comprehensive contract proposal. The company has not countered any union proposal in three weeks.

Despite having fifteen management representatives on the bargaining team, the company’s chief negotiator said he needed to consult with management and they will get back to us.

The unions, once again, invited a counter proposal from the company. The IBEW/CWA bargaining team remains committed to negotiating a fair and equitable contract.

Remember you are union members. We are proven. We are union. Hang tough.

 

 

August 26, 2014

Our Bargaining Team will meet with the company tomorrow, Wednesday, August 27, at noon in Nashua, NH.

To support our team, let's ALL wear RED and put on those "I support my bargaining team" buttons.

Email pictures of your most creative expressions of SOLIDARITY to FairnessAtFairPoint@gmail.com and we will post throughout the day. Let's make every worksite wall-to-wall red tomorrow brothers and sisters!

Union Strong!! We are One!

 

 

 

August 2, 2014

Members support the Bargaining Team in Nashua, NH

Members join together at vigils throughout Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire on the night of the contract expiration:

 

 

*** One year away from contract expiration with Verizon ***

IBEW & CWA Members and Supporters in Boston 7/31/2014

 

 

 

'This book shows what it takes to defend democracy, workers rights, and social justice unionism.'  —Dolores Huerta

Steve Early’s new book reports on our 2011-2012 Verizon strike and contract campaign,

plus the future of labor movement…

CWA Local 1400 and its members figure prominently in Steve Early’s latest book on the American labor movement. Steve worked for many years as a District 1 staff representative and is a longtime friend of our local. 

Save Our Unions: Dispatches From a Movement in Distress describes recent telecom organizing and bargaining battles, plus our local's role in campaigning for health care reform and raising key issues at CWA's 2011 national convention. There's even a section on Vermont and the great work there by the Local 1400-backed Vermont Workers' Center and Vermont Progressive Party. 

Save Our Unions describes the challenges facing all workers, whether they’re trying to democratize their union, win a strike, defend past contract gains, or bargain with management for the first time. Drawing on forty years of first-hand experience, Steve describes cross-border union campaigning (like the T-Mobile struggle), more effective strategies for organizing and health care reform, and political initiatives that might lessen labor’s dependence on unreliable allies in Democratic Party. 

The book contains vivid portraits of rank-and-file heroes and heroines, both well known and unsung, and takes readers to union conventions and funerals, strikes and picket lines, celebrations of labor’s past, and struggles to ensure that unions still have a future in the 21st century. Steve’s insight, analysis, and advocacy help illuminate the paths to revitalization and reform of workers’ organizations, at home and abroad.

Copies of Steve's book can be ordered from Monthly Review Press at:http://monthlyreview.org/press/books/pb4277/

“This book shows what it takes to defend democracy, workers’ rights, and social justice unionism when all are under attack by big business.”
—Dolores Huerta
Co-founder, United Farm Workers
Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

“Very important work!”
—Noam Chomsky

“With labor now searching for new directions, this book should be at the top of activists’ reading lists. In his latest collection of essays, Steve Early hits on the key themes necessary for reviving the labor movement: union democracy, workplace activism, and a willingness to confront corporate power.”
—Joe Burns
AFA/CWA negotiator
Author, Reviving The Strike

“Never one to mince words or bow to authority, Steve Early’s latest work is hard-hitting and thought-provoking. Early is an activist/writer who sees unions, including his own, facing massive challenges but still searching for successful strategies. In Save Our Unions, Early chronicles recent workplace struggles with great sympathy and insight, showing the road taken by workers trying to reignite labor as a movement.”
—Elaine Bernard
Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School

 

Call Center Workers Lobby Maine Legislature in Support of Bill to Keep Call Center Jobs in Maine

For immediate release: February 6, 2014

Supporters Say Bill Will Benefit State’s Economy

Augusta, ME—At a press conference in the Maine State House Hall of Flags, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communications Workers of America (CWA), along with Senator Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) and Matt Schlobohm of the Maine AFL-CIO, called on the legislature to pass LD 1710, an Act to Retain Call Centers in Maine. Two of the workers, Schlobohm, and Jackson—the bill’s sponsor—then testified in favor of LD 1710 before the Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development.

Lobbying for Call Center Bill

LD 1710 would encourage Maine corporations to keep their call centers in the state, while punishing those who ship them overseas. If passed, the names of companies that outsource call center jobs would be publicized and those companies would no longer be eligible for certain state benefits. Further, the law would require that all state contractors operate call centers in Maine.

“I could have lost my job at FairPoint when the company moved Maine call center jobs to Canada after the Verizon sale,” said FairPoint call center employee and IBEW member Krista Jensen. “We were only able to stop them offshoring our jobs through the courts. I want my state government to make sure this can’t happen again.”

Call Center Bill-Maine 1

Nearly 20,000 Mainers are employed in call centers across the state. Increasingly, companies in Maine have closed down or downsized call centers. For example, in 2012, Bank of America closed down a call center in Orono, laying off nearly 200 workers.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” FairPoint call center employee and CWA member Serina DeWolfe added. “If consumers know which companies keep their call centers at home, they will vote with their dollars. LD 1710 keeps companies from hiding their offshoring.”

This week, the Department of Economic and Community Development released a Comprehensive Evaluation of Maine’s Economic Development Incentive Programs. The report recommends improving the transparency, accountability, evaluation, and monitoring of our economic development subsidies and tax breaks. It also recommends that the State of Maine should “Ensure clawbacks are clearly enshrined in incentives law with the protocols for receiving the clawbacks and sanctions if the company does not comply.”

Passing LD 1710 would be a step toward fulfilling some of the recommendations contained in that report. This bill would help bring standards of accountability, transparency, monitoring, and clawback provisions to costly economic development incentives offered by the state.

 

IBEW System Council T-9 and CWA Local 1400 together represent approximately 2,000 workers across Northern New England, including 600 call center workers.

 

 

click here to view above posters

 

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Wear Red On Thursdays
Wear Red On Thursdays