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About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.

AFT’s Weingarten and Johnson on the Events in Ferguson, Mo.

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AFT_Logo-2WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten and Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson on the St. Louis County (Mo.) grand jury decision in the police shooting death of Michael Brown.

“Tonight, the fact remains that on Aug. 9, an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed. Given that we are a nation of laws, one can only hope that the lack of an indictment isn’t tantamount to any lack of zeal on the part of the prosecutor to do the job he was supposed to do to enable the grand jury to arrive at an impartial and fact-based decision. Having said that, tonight’s decision isn’t the last word in seeking justice for Michael Brown, as the Justice Department is still pursuing its investigation. We echo the calls of the Brown family, clergy and Gov. Nixon for peace, restraint and protection for peaceful protesters.

“This case once again reminds us that there is still much work to be done to achieve racial justice in America. It tells us that our moral compass and legal systems do not always align.

“In moments like these, we should redouble our efforts to ensure all children grow up in safe communities with high-quality neighborhood schools and a local economy rich with jobs—no matter their ZIP code, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

In Midst of FairPoint Strike, Unnamed Company Luring Telecom Workers to New England with $300,000 Offer

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 In “confidential” job posting on Monster.com, unidentified company offering telecom workers $5,000-$6,000 a week to come to New England

Job ad appears more than a month into strike in which FairPoint has struggled to provide service with unqualified contractors

The ad offers a wage that’s more than three times the average salary of striking FairPoint workers

An unidentified company is advertising for telecom workers and offering to pay them more than $300,000 a year to come work in northern New England. Many wonder if the unnamed company is FairPoint, the telecommunications firm that has struggled to maintain service during a strike now in its 39th day.

“FairPoint has been saying we make too much money, but now it looks like they’re offering people more than three times what we make,” said Peter McLaughlin, chair of System Council T-9 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “Instead of settling a fair deal with its skilled workers, FairPoint is squandering tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars on replacement workers who can’t do our jobs.”

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Screen shot from MONSTER.COM job listing

In a “confidential” posting on Monster.com, the unidentified company lists the job location as “Merrimack, NH.” The striking workers of FairPoint provide service in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. The full ad can be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/n7v43zg

In statements to the media, FairPoint has complained about the salaries of its skilled union workers. FairPoint claims that those workers make an average salary of $82,000 a year. The $5,000 to 6,000 a week salary being offered in the Monster.com ad would amount to annual pay of up to $312,000 a year.

The ad from the unidentified company calls for workers who “are comfortable working at customer premise locations including large banks, hospitals, cellular towers, etc. ” FairPoint maintains service at all those locations.

“It looks like FairPoint is finally learning the real value of its experienced workforce,” said Don Trementozzi, president of Communication Workers of America Local 1400. “Now that they know what we’re worth, it’s time for them to stop wasting money on unqualified workers from out of state and reach a fair deal for New England.”

IN OTHER FAIRPOINT STRIKE NEWS: FairPoint workers will continue their wave of actions for a fair deal today in Washington, D.C. Dozens of demonstrators will hold another protest against the company’s biggest shareholder, Angelo, Gordon & Co.

An official from the Wall Street hedge fund, which owns more than 20 percent of FairPoint stock, will be making a presentation at the National Multifamily Conference and Expo at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washingon. FairPoint workers and their allies will be on the street outside ensuring that the public is fully aware of Angelo, Gordon’s role in the attack on northern New England workers.

Angelo, Gordon manages billions of dollars in assets for public pension funds, but it has refused to publicly intervene as FairPoint has moved to gut the pensions and benefits of its employees.

WASHINGTON ACTION DETAILS

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 25, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

WHERE: JW Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

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.

This Weeks Open Communications Positions From UnionJobs.com

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NOVEMBER 21, 2014 WEEKLY SUMMARY OF COMMUNICATIONS POSITIONS POSTED AT UNIONJOBS.COM

AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations)
Communications Coordinator, Communications Department (MW Region)  Michigan
Organizing Field Communications Assistant, Organizing Department  District of Columbia
Development Manager, Digital Strategies Department  District of Columbia
Strategic Campaigns Coordinator, Organizing Department  District of Columbia
Safety and Health Fellow, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department  District of Columbia
Corporate Research Analyst, Office of Investment  District of Columbia


Action Now

Communications Director, Chicago  Illinois

AFSCME (Council 3)
Database Analyst and IT Coordinator, Baltimore  Maryland

AFT (American Federation of Teachers)
Human/Civil Rights Advocacy Director, Human Rights and Community Relations Department District of Columbia

ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association, International)
Sr. Communications Specialist, Herndon  Virginia

BAC (International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers)
Data Entry/Research Clerk  District of Columbia

CNA/NNU (California Nurses Association (CNA) / National Nurses United (NNU) AFL-CIO)
Web Editor, Oakland  California

CWA (Communications Workers of America, New Jersey)
Social Media Organizer, Trenton based  New Jersey

Labor Notes
Assistant Editor, New York New York

LECET (Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust)
Coordinator, New Media, New York City  New York

MAPE (Minnesota Association of Professional Employees)
Public Relations Coordinator  Minnesota

NELP (National Employment Law Project)
Campaign Coordinator (Home Care Fair Pay), New York (with an option of DC office)  New York

NNU (National Nurses United)
Educator – Immediate Opening, San Francisco Bay area  California
Communications Specialist, Oakland California

NYHTC (New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council)
Video Communications SupervisorNew York

OEA (Oregon Education Association)
Public Affairs – Lobbyist  Oregon

RTF (Raise the Floor Alliance)
Campaign Coordinator, Chicago  Illinois

SEIU (1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East)
Communications Specialist, Boston  Massachusetts

SEIU (Local 32BJ)
Communications Specialist: CT & NY, based in New York City headquarters  Connecticut, New York
Member Communications Strategist, New York City  New York
Communications Specialist: Mid-Atlantic Region, Philadelphia based Pennsylvania

SEIU (Local 721)
Communications Specialist  California

SEIU (Local 1989, Maine State Employees Association, MSEA-SEIU)
Systems/Database Administrator, Augusta  Maine

UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union)
Senior Strategic Targeting Coordinator, Washington D.C.  District of Columbia

UFT (United Federation of Teachers)
Digital Content Specialist, New York  New York

SEIU (SEIU UHW West, United Healthcare Workers West)
Database Analyst, Oakland  California

UNITE HERE
Communications Specialist II, Greater Manhattan area  New York

UPTE-CWA (University Professional and Technical Employees-Communications Workers of America)
Systemwide Director  California

Wisconsin Jobs Now
Online Campaigner  National

Working America (a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO)
Writer  District of Columbia
Communications Director  District of Columbia

NH DOL Works To End Illegal Misclassification Of Workers

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US Labor Department signs agreement with
New Hampshire Department of Labor to reduce misclassification of employees

Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor and the New Hampshire Department of Labor has signed a memorandum of understanding with the goal of protecting the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as something other than employees, such as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses.

Under this agreement, both agencies will share information and coordinate law enforcement. The memorandum of understanding represents a new effort on the part of the agencies to work together to protect the rights of employees and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice of misclassification. The New Hampshire Department of Labor is the latest state agency to partner with the Labor Department.

“Misclassification of employees deprives workers of rightfully-earned wages and workplace protections and undercuts law-abiding businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Which is why combating misclassification is one of several important strategies to promote shared prosperity to help ensure that our economy works for everyone.”

“Working with the states is an important tool for ending misclassification and other workplace abuses,” said Solicitor of Labor of the U.S. Department of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “These collaborations allow us to better coordinate and ensure compliance with both federal and state laws alike.”

“Misclassification of workers steals benefits and protections from employees, and allows unfair advantages to businesses that do it,” said New Hampshire Labor Commissioner James W. Craig. “This agreement will help us grow our state and regional economy by leveling the playing field for honest and law-abiding employers.”

Business models that attempt to change or obscure the employment relationship through the use of independent contractors may not be used to evade compliance with federal labor law. Although legitimate independent contractors are an important part of our economy, the misclassification of employees presents a serious problem, as these employees often are denied access to critical benefits and protections – such as family and medical leave, overtime compensation, minimum wage pay, Unemployment Insurance, personal protective equipment and retirement benefits – to which they are entitled. In addition, misclassification can create economic pressure for law-abiding business owners, who often find it difficult to compete with those who are skirting the law.

Memoranda of understanding with state government agencies arose as part of the department’s Misclassification Initiative, with the goal of preventing, detecting and remedying employee misclassification. Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Utah and Washington state agencies have signed similar agreements. More information is available on the Department of Labor’s misclassification website at http://www.dol.gov/misclassification/.

The mission of the department is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and ensure work-related benefits and rights.

To learn more about the Fair Labor Standards Act’s requirements, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free hotline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit its website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

 

When It Comes To The FairPoint Strike, Follow The Money

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This letter was sent to us from Joe Gallager, a long time union activist and labor leader from the Insulators Union.  Emphasis has been added by editors. 

Follow the Money

I went down to the Fairpoint picket line in Manchester today. There was a very large turnout of workers. I have been to many labor rallies over the years and I have learned to follow the money.

Fairpoint is not a local corporate community anchor, their workers are the community. Back when Fairpoint purchased Verizon the alarms should have gone off (just like the labor leaders foretold), it was like the corner superette going out and purchasing a major food market chain.

Then a number years back, Fairpoint was on the ropes facing bankruptcy, the community of union workers pitched in to avert this disaster.

Now we have a company from North Carolina partially owned by hedge funds that are trying to squeeze dollars from the communities in which the workers live. Note I said money from communities! This is not so much union and management but taking working class money and moving such to a some entity that is richer than all of the workers.

If taking the profit from our community does not work, then the business executive’s run the company into the ground  to take advantage of capital losses that only benefit the hedge funds.

What remains of the company?

Once again follow the money, it is going to leave our communities. When a community is short changed everyone suffers.

The math of a fair contract is simple:

  1. A living wage which is not using your neighbors tax dollars to live on.
  2. A health care benefit is prosperity for the community health industry and without or a reduced benefit the community is forced to step up and absorb the uninsured liabilities as they do not leave the community.
  3. A retirement benefit that keeps one from the need of public assistance and younger generations struggling to spend into a premature cycle of their own life expenses.

So as this company brings in under paid contractors from outside the community, sends jobs out of the USA, and prolongs a work stoppage, pick up the napkin and write the amount of money to follow that is leaving the community. And if your that person who hates union workers with such a passion, please hope for a settlement. If that union worker who lives next to you loses his home, try the math of a foreclosure in your neighborhood against your own home value.

Joe Gallager
Manchester, NH

Strong Support For The Capitol Corridor Rail Project

(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)
(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)

(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)

Study confirms the overwhelming
economic benefits of bringing passenger rail to state 

Thursday night members of the Nashua area met to hear the results of the long awaits “Capitol Corridor” study to bring rail service to Nashua and all of Southern New Hampshire.

The results of the study were exactly as many proponents of the rail expansion have been saying for years. The new expansion would bring an estimated 5,600 new permanent jobs and would boost the local housing industry.

The Nashua Telegraph had a great write-up on the two-year study where they reported:

Expanding Boston-bound commuter rail from Lowell, Mass., to Manchester with other stops at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and two others in Nashua – would be an economic boom for the region – bringing an estimated 5,600 new permanent jobs and 3,600 housing units by 2030, a two-year rail and transit study showed.

This Lowell to Manchester line – known as the Manchester regional commuter rail alternative – would draw a projected 668,000 annual riders and would costs a total $256 million in capital costs – about half of which could be eligible for federal grants and bonds, authors of the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor Rail and Transit Study said Thursday.

“This is one of the … biggest economic development opportunities for the state,” Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce President Chris Williams said.

“The issue is about jobs. It’s about moving the economy forward,” Williams added.

Williams urged Executive Councilors and state and local politicians to “have a real conversation about how the public and private sector can make this happen. We can’t do it without you,” he said to applause.

After the results were announced, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas released the following statement:

“The study’s findings prove that developing passenger rail service to Boston would be an incredible economic driver for New Hampshire,” said Councilor Pappas. “The Capitol Corridor would spur business development and help our state attract the well-skilled workforce needed for future economic growth.

“I look forward to working with leaders from both parties in Concord to ensure we seize this unique opportunity and create an exciting future for New Hampshire,” concluded Pappas.

Congresswoman Kuster has been a strong advocate for federal funding for projects to repair and expand New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure.  She is a cosponsor of the Partnership to Build America Act, bipartisan legislation to leverage private investments to fund an Infrastructure Bank for financing public works projects like the Capitol Corridor project.

“I’m very pleased that the preliminary findings of the Capitol Corridor rail study show a feasible option for expanded rail that could create thousands of jobs for our workers and lead to greater economic development in the state,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “After meeting with local stakeholders this morning, I look forward to learning more about the various options for new rail lines, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to provide support and funding for expanded transportation options across our communities. We must continue to invest in our public infrastructure in order to support our local businesses and help our economy grow.”

The project does have a hefty price tag, $120 million in capital costs, but this is an investment in our community that will more than pay for itself with fair revenue and a substantial boost to our local economy.

Senator Shaheen Meets With Officials At Sarah Long Bridge On Replacement Project

By Eric L. Reuter via Wikimedia Commons
By Eric L. Reuter via Wikimedia Commons

By Eric L. Reuter via Wikimedia Commons

At Sarah Long Bridge in Portsmouth, Shaheen discusses efforts to
repair and replace aging New Hampshire infrastructure

 (Portsmouth) – On November 21st, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) met with state officials at the New Hampshire Port Authority to tour the Sarah Long Bridge replacement project site and discuss New Hampshire infrastructure. While with officials from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), Shaheen discussed the need for continued infrastructure investments to improve public safety and economic competiveness, emphasizing the importance of continued support for the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Return (TIGER) program.

“Replacing the Sarah Long Bridge is an essential infrastructure project that will support economic activity in New Hampshire and Maine and the national security needs served by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,” Shaheen said. “The Sarah Long Bridge replacement project has been a bipartisan, bi-state effort that will benefit our economy for years to come, and I applaud the New Hampshire and Maine Departments of Transportation’s combined efforts to make this project a success.”

Shaheen has been a strong supporter of efforts to modernize and maintain New Hampshire’s infrastructure. She was a lead advocate for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s and Maine Department of Transportation’s joint application to replace the Sarah Long Bridge under the TIGER program. TIGER funds have been critical to many important New Hampshire projects including the replacement of the Memorial Bridge in PortsmouthConcord’s Downtown Complete Streets Improvement Project and improvements to the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad.

Kuster Volunteers at Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter

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Kuster strongly supports federal efforts to strengthen hunger relief programs 

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Nashua, NH – On Friday, November 21, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) visited the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter to volunteer, tour the agency’s new facility, and learn about the organization’s work to ensure that every Nashua resident has a warm place to find food and shelter this holiday season. The visit also provided an opportunity for Congresswoman Kuster to hear about ways she can help support hunger relief efforts at the federal level.

The Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter has been helping serve the local Nashua community since its founding in 1981. The shelter offers both hunger relief programs and services to help individuals get back on their feet.

“During the holiday season, it’s truly incredible to see so many volunteers giving their time and energy to support their community and help people in need. I applaud the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter for creating a safe place where vulnerable people in Nashua can come to stay warm and get a good meal,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I feel lucky to have the opportunity to help out and see the inspiring work they do here. In Washington, I will continue to work to ensure organizations like this have the support they need to keep serving the people of this community.”

Kuster has been a strong supporter of federal efforts to benefit food banks and soup kitchens, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, programs that support local farmers and farmers markets, and the Meals on Wheels program. She also introduced the Hunters Feeding the Hungry Act with Congressman Don Young (AK-AL), a bipartisan bill that would provide a tax credit to hunters who donate game to food charities. Additionally, Kuster supported the America Gives More Act to permanently extend the food donation tax deduction, which rewards small businesses that donate excess food to qualified nonprofits.

Congresswoman Kuster is the first New Hampshire Representative to serve on the Agriculture Committee in decades, which has jurisdiction over many hunger relief programs.  She worked across the aisle to successfully pass a Farm Bill last year, and she continues to fight for our local farmers in Washington, many of whom assist in the Granite State’s hunger relief efforts by donating fresh, nutritious food to local food charities and farmers’ markets that serve low-income populations.

New Poll: New Hampshire Voters Want Senator-Elect Shaheen to Tackle Climate Crisis

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Survey Shows Strong Support for Clean Energy and the Clean Power Plan

See The Results Here

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Sierra Club released the results of a new post-election poll conducted by Hart Research Associates showing that, regardless of whom they voted for, New Hampshire voters who participated in the 2014 midterms want the next Congress to act on the climate crisis now.

In New Hampshire, fully 66 percent of voters want Senator-elect Jeanne Shaheen to support efforts to protect communities from climate disruption.

“These findings make it clear that no matter which party they identify with or who they supported in the midterm elections, New Hampshire voters did not vote for dirty air, dirty water, or climate denial,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “Large majorities of voters support the President’s plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants and want policies to grow New Hampshire’s clean energy economy. The next Congress better listen up.”

In fact, this new poll shows 65 percent of voters favor the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants for the first time ever, while 69 percent indicated they are more likely to support a candidate who wants to increase the use of renewable energy.

A Summary of Key Findings in New Hampshire:

     65 percent of voters favor the EPA’s plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants — including 93 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and 42 percent of Republicans.

     66 percent of New Hampshire voters would be more likely to support a candidate who supports that EPA plan over a candidate that does not.

     66 percent of voters favor candidates who accept the scientific consensus on climate disruption over those candidates who do not.

     66 percent of voters want Senator-elect Shaheen to support efforts to address the effects of climate change.

     69 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate who wants to increase the use of renewable energy rather than a candidate pushing to increase the use of traditional energy.

This poll was conducted as part of a battleground state survey by Hart Research Associates for The Sierra Club. Approximately 500 voters in each of six states — including Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania – were interviewed via landline and cell phone between November 6 and 10, immediately following the mid-term elections. The margin of error is ±4 percentage points for each statewide sample.

See The Results Here

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

Wave of Actions by FairPoint Strikers Continues Friday in Manchester

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FairPoint strikers converge on company’s Elm Street offices calling for good jobs, quality service, and a Fair Deal for New England

Workers escalating their campaign after negotiators from North Carolina-based FairPoint made no movement at meeting earlier this week

Manchester protest marks the third major action by FairPoint strikers in two days, following events Thursday in Montpelier and Boston

WHEN: Friday, November 21, Noon – 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: 770 Elm Street, Manchester, N.H.

Fairness at Fairpoint BannerMANCHESTER — A wave of actions by striking FairPoint workers continues Friday in Manchester. Strikers and supporters from across New England are rallying on the picket line outside FairPoint’s Elm Street offices.

The striking workers are calling on the company, which is headquartered in North Carolina, to reach a Fair Deal for New England. They say that deep and damaging cuts the company is seeking in negotiations would make it impossible to deliver quality service to customers.

“The executives back in North Carolina don’t get it, but they’ve created a crisis here in New England,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320, which represents FairPoint workers in New Hampshire. “By attacking their skilled workers, FairPoint has left our customers relying on unqualified contractors who can’t do the work.”

The Manchester protest will mark the strikers’ third major action against FairPoint in two days. On Thursday morning, a delegation of strikers and supporters protested against FairPoint’s biggest shareholder — Wall Street hedge fund Angelo, Gordon & Co. — at an investor conference in Boston. At noon, the strikers held a major rally at the Vermont state capitol in Montpelier.

Earlier this week, union representatives participated in an effort to jump-start the deadlocked talks. They attended a meeting Tuesday with the company arranged by a federal mediator. But the meeting broke up quickly after FairPoint officials refused to modify demands for severe cuts that they’ve been seeking since bargaining began this spring.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan issued a statement after Tuesday’s meeting, saying, “I know that FairPoint workers, who stood by the company throughout its bankruptcy proceedings, have brought a constructive approach to the table and offered real concessions, and I encourage FairPoint’s leadership in North Carolina to do the same.”

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin spoke at Thursday’s rally in Montpelier, and said he had talked to the CEO of FairPoint two days earlier. Shumlin said he had urged the CEO to return to the table with the FairPoint strikers so they could “get service back to a level that is acceptable.”

Since the strike began on October 17, FairPoint has been struggling to maintain its northern New England systems with replacement workers hired from out of state. On Monday, Vermont’s Department of Public Service reported that it has received 271 complaints from Fairpoint customers during the strike, a significant increase.

The negotiations for a new contract at FairPoint began in April, and from the outset company officials pressed to increase outsourcing, cut pay for new workers and slash benefits for all employees. The workers have offered more than $200 million in cost-saving compromises during the talks. But the company has not altered its initial demand for $700 million in deep and damaging cuts.

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.

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