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CWA LOCAL 1400

 

 

Click the link below to view/print the 2015-2018 Contract:

2015 Fairpoint NNE Contract-CWA 1400

 

 

UNION MEMBERS APPROVE AGREEMENT WITH FAIRPOINT

 

Workers to Return to Work on Wednesday, February 25

 

AUGUSTA, ME—After three days of voting, IBEW and CWA members in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have ratified tentative agreements with FairPoint Communications. The new agreements protect good jobs and ensure quality telecommunications service for New England communities.

 

“This is great news for our members, their families, and our communities,” said Peter McLaughlin, chair of the union bargaining committee and Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 in Maine. “Our members remained united and committed to this fight for more than four months and today we have a fair deal that will bring them back to work and good service back to our communities.”

 

After initially demanding $700 million in concessions from workers, FairPoint implemented the terms of its proposals on August 28 saying the parties had reached an impasse in bargaining. The implemented terms included a dramatic increase in health care costs, a two-tier wage structure that would have paid new hires as much as 20 percent less to do the same jobs as current workers, and a greatly increased ability to outsource union members’ work to low-wage contractors from outside our region.

 

Ultimately, FairPoint agreed to a union-administered health insurance plan with better benefits that will cost workers and the company less. FairPoint also agreed to eliminate the two-tier wage structure.

 

“This agreement is a win for our members and for future FairPoint employees,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “We went on strike last October because we are committed to keeping good, middle-class jobs in New England. Our members walked the lines for more than four months, not just for themselves, but for future generations. Our success will benefit FairPoint workers—and New England’s working families—for years to come.”

 

The unions also successfully negotiated to protect jobs from outsourcing. During the strike, FairPoint brought in replacement contract workers to do the jobs of experienced, union workers. Complaints skyrocketed in all three states as customers experienced inadequate service, delays for repairs and installations, and increased wait times when calling customer service.

 

“Our communities have seen the results of outsourcing these last four months, and it has not been pretty,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “There’s no replacement for well-trained, skilled workers. Our members are eager to get back to work and get our network functioning the way it should.”

 

Approximately 1,800 FairPoint workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont launched their strike on October 17. The longest strike in the United States in 2014, workers picketed for 18 weeks.

 

“Our members are incredible. They walked the picket lines in blizzards and sub-zero temperatures. They stayed strong and they stayed together,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont.

 

The strikers enjoyed widespread support from their communities and from thousands of allies around the world. Lawmakers in all three states walked the picket lines with members; individuals delivered hot beverages and snacks to picketers; and people and organizations contributed more than $350,000 to the Solidarity Fund to provide financial aid for striking workers to pay for everything from prescription medicine to heating oil.

 

“The support we’ve received over the past four months has been overwhelming,” said McLaughlin. “Union brothers and sisters from all over the country sent financial help and messages of support. And our friends and neighbors right here in New England showed us their appreciation for our sacrifice every day. They knew that our members were not just striking to protect their own jobs, but that they were fighting for good jobs and quality service for all of New England.”

 

The new contracts will be in effect until August 4, 2018.

 

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T-9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,500 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.

 

 

 

FairPoint NNE Bargaining Updates:

 

 

 

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February 23, 2015

Click HERE to see full report: http://dhma.bluecurve.net/BlueCurveRMS-DH/pdfs/3017441.pdf

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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October 3, 2014

 

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

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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September 8, 2014

 

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

 

 

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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!

 

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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

 

 

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August 28, 2014

 

For immediate release, August 28, 2014

 

 

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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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!

 

 

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August 14, 2014

 

Your bargaining committee and the company met on Wednesday and Thursday. On Thursday morning the bargaining committee passed a significant comprehensive proposal. The company caucused briefly and then said they would review. In the presence of the federal mediator, the company refused to meet again on Thursday or set dates for additional meetings.

 

Your bargaining team remains committed to reaching a fair and equitable contract. Thanks to every member for your support. Your visible mobilization efforts make a huge difference.

 

We are union! Hang tough!

 

 

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August 5, 2014

 

Despite Working Past Contract Expiration, FairPoint Employees Can Still Strike at Will

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 5, 2014

 

 

Union leaders say company still refusing to compromise on any proposal

 

On Saturday night, just before the midnight expiration of contracts covering nearly 2,000 FairPoint workers across Northern New England, leaders of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T9 and Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 announced that their members would continue working and not go on strike. According to union leaders, negotiations will continue and employees will be covered by most provisions of the expired contracts. However, the unions can now call a strike or the company could lock workers out at any time without prior notice.

 

 

 

Union leaders and management have been in bargaining over a new contract since April, and negotiations have been tense from the start. In the last two weeks, the company has resorted to increasingly aggressive tactics meant to intimidate workers. Union leaders say this demonstrates management’s lack of commitment to reaching a fair agreement. In addition to posting new “no trespassing” signs and spray-painting strike lines on the pavement at many company locations, management went as far as housing strike-breaking replacement workers at the same hotel where bargaining is taking place—an open and hostile attempt to intimidate union leaders.

 

“This company is attempting to bully us into agreeing to their outrageous proposals,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Colchester, VT. “We’ve made it clear, we won’t be bullied. We’re going to keep right on fighting for our families and our communities as long as it takes.”

 

Union negotiators have put forward several proposals that would save the company almost $180 million. The company has rejected these proposals, saying that they are “non-starters” and not even in the ballpark.

 

Union leaders say they are deeply concerned about management’s demand to be able to replace local, well-trained workers with low-wage, out-of-state contractors. “Most of the current employees have been working for the phone company for decades and we know our customers and our systems better than any outside contractor ever will,” said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 in Augusta, Maine. “Customers will suffer if the company gets its way. But management cares more about cutting costs and giving that money to their hedge fund owners than in investing in our communities.”

 

“Our unions have shown a willingness to compromise from the start,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “But it looks to us like the company’s strategy from the beginning has been to lock out workers so they can replace them with out-of-town contractors. It’s a blatant attempt to gut good jobs in this region. Our members are unified and have the support of many allies and community members. We will not stand by and let this corporation and its Wall Street cronies get away with it.”

 

 

 

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August 3, 2014

 

In response to some questions from our members about the statement put out by our bargaining team last night:

 

The Unions Have Decided to Work Beyond Contract Expiration

 

The unions have decided to continue to work beyond expiration without a contract to fight for our bargaining objectives:

 

* Negotiations will continue.

 

* Members will still earn a paycheck.

 

* All benefits, including health care and pension, will remain in effect.

 

* The grievance procedure continues but arbitration may not. However, disciplinary actions can be negotiated at the bargaining table.

 

* Members have the right to participate in ”concerted activity.” This means that one person speaking for a group, or more than two people, can act “for mutual aid or protection.”

 

* The union still has the right to strike at any time.

 

Our fight for fairness continues Sisters and Brothers!

 

 

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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:

 

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April 25, 2014

 

FROM THE BARGAINING TEAM:

 

As expected, the company gave us their opening offer today and it's as bad as we expected.

 

 

Keep in touch with your bargaining team by attending local unit meetings, on our Facebook page and our Fairness@FairPoint web site.

 

REMEMBER: WE ARE UNION, WE ARE PROVEN, HANG TOUGH!

 

 

 

For immediate release: February 6, 2014

 

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

 

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.

 

 

Over 100 Member Mobilizers Trained and Ready

 

In January 2014 the IBEW and CWA campaign for a fair contract with FairPoint Communications is kicking off with more than 100 Member Mobilizers trained and ready for action. Since November state Mobilization Chairs have trained 55 Member Mobilizers in New Hampshire and 50 in Maine. In February, we will hold more workshops in Maine and Vermont to reach the goal of 200 trained Mobilizers.

 

Worker Training

 

“I feel really good after the training,” said David Garcia, a member of IBEW Local 2320 who works at 875 Holt Avenue in Manchester, New Hampshire. “I see my union taking the negotiations seriously, and that’s encouraging. The FairPoint CEO hasn’t been shy about coming after our contract, so we have to be ready for a struggle.”

 

Leaders at IBEW Local 2320 hosted nine training sessions in Manchester, and Local 2327 hosted two large sessions in Augusta, Maine. Members from both the IBEW and CWA attended the workshops, practicing one-on-one conversations with fellow members and discussing the best ways to shift the campaign into high gear this year.

 

“I’m excited to be involved in this joint campaign involving both of our unions,” said Serina DeWolfe, a member of CWA Local 1400 who works at the Portland Residential Service Center. “We really are stronger when we work together.”

 

“The training helped me understand the expectations of my new role as a Member Mobilizer. Now I know what to do, and I feel I’m part of a team,” said Local 2327 member Vicki Hill, who works at the Wholesale Service Center in Portland. “I’ve already started talking to people at work about the campaign and I’m getting a great response.”

 

Maine-training- with sign

 

Maine Mobilization Chair Jenn Nappi said she’s pleased with the response to the training so far. “We’re excited that we’re already halfway to our goal of training 200 Member Mobilizers as we launch the 2014 campaign. We’ll probably surpass that goal with the workshops in February. The campaign really depends on all of us getting involved and supporting each other-and it’s great to see that happening.”