FairPoint Communications, Inc. ; System Council T-9 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (AFL-CIO) Locals 2320, 2326, and 2327; and the Communications Workers of America (AFL-CIO) Local 1400 are pleased to announce that today they have reached tentative agreements on the terms for new collective bargaining agreements.
The Company and the Unions agree that the terms of their new collective bargaining agreements will address, in meaningful and constructive ways, the objectives of the parties and that the new labor agreements will provide employees with wages and benefits that are among the best in northern New England. At the same time, the agreements permit the Company to achieve a much more competitive position in the marketplace.
Union members will vote on ratification of the tentative agreements as soon as possible. Effective with the signing of the tentative agreements, the parties agreed that striking employees will return to work on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.
Further comments will be withheld until the ratification vote is complete.
AFL-CIO Communications Director Eric Hauser issued the following statement in light of recent worker victories:
“What a difference a day makes. In the past 24 hours, Walmart workers got a raise, IBEW and CWA workers settled their strike with FairPoint, and United Steelworkers made safety at oil refinery plants a national issue. One 24 hour period shows how much progress can be made when workers come together to speak with one voice.
“Collective action must be at the heart of the growing discussion about raising wages. Only when workers pool their power can they make progress that benefits not just union members but all workers and entire communities.”
After the announcement Governor Hassan applauded the news:
“The work done by the highly skilled employees of FairPoint Communications is critical to our state’s communications infrastructure, our public safety systems, and our regional economy. I am encouraged by the news that both parties have worked constructively to reach a tentative agreement and I look forward to the employees returning as soon as possible to their work, which is essential for New Hampshire’s economy and public safety.”
Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton) praised the agreement in his statement:
“This is great news for Fairpoint, their workers, and the state of New Hampshire. This is a hard-earned compromise and one that strengthens our communications network, which is vital to our economy, public safety, and the quality of life we enjoy in New Hampshire.”
“I congratulate both sides on their agreement and I am so very thankful that the workers can get back to work next week.”
U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) released the following statement in response to the tentative agreement between FairPoint Communications and its workers:
“FairPoint Communications employees support vital services for New Hampshire’s public safety, consumers and our state’s economy. The tentative agreement announced this afternoon that will allow FairPoint’s dedicated employees to return to work in the near future is great news.”
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had this to say after the announcement:
“I applaud the extraordinary courage of the FairPoint workers. They have stood together month after month in opposition to a massive assault on decent wages and benefits. Their efforts deserve the thanks of all Vermonters.”
Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern today applauded the tentative resolution of a five month strike and labor dispute between Fairpoint’s management and workers, saying the deal to bring nearly 2,000 workers back to the job next week will be good for New Hampshire consumers and workers.
“Resolving this strike will be a big step forward for thousands of workers and their families, for Fairpoint’s consumers, and for New Hampshire’s economy as a whole, and I thank Governor Hassan and our state agencies for playing an active role in protecting NH consumers,” said Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern.
In December, when Fairpoint labor talks has stalled for months and NH consumer service levels were at dismal levels, Councilor Van Ostern asked Governor Hassan and state agencies to delay a pending $13 million Fairpoint contract for state phone services, which they did on December 23.
After the delay, Fairpoint management and its union workers returned to the negotiating table on January 4 under federal mediation, and the state contract was then passed with the addition of six upcoming public hearings across the state to add ongoing public accountability for Fairpoint. The Council began scheduling those hearings last week, on February 11. The State of NH is one of Fairpoint’s largest customers.
“I believe Fairpoint’s management, it’s workers, its consumers, and New Hampshire’s elected officials all want the same thing: a healthy and stable company that provides good service and good jobs,” said Van Ostern. “Frankly we haven’t had that lately, and today’s news is a step in the right direction – all parties involved should be proud of of this progress.”
Stay tune to the NH Labor News for more on this story as it comes out.
Statement from Congresswoman Annie Kuster:
“FairPoint plays a vital role in our state’s public safety network, and the telecommunication services provided by FairPoint workers allow many of our residents to remain connected to their families and loved ones, especially during increasingly frequent weather events in the Granite State. FairPoint employees are extremely valuable to both the company and our communities, and I’m so pleased to hear that a tentative agreement has been reached. This is truly great news for the Granite State, and I commend both parties for working together to reach an agreement.”
Statement from Kelly Ayotte:
“I’m encouraged by today’s announcement that a tentative agreement has been reached between FairPoint and its employees. New Hampshire residents, businesses, and public safety departments rely on the communications services provided by FairPoint, and I am hopeful that normal operations will resume as soon as possible.”
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree welcomed news today that negotiators had reached a tentative agreement to end the Fairport strike.
“The men and women who work at Fairpoint are some of the best trained, most experienced and dedicated telecommunication workers around,” Pingree said. “It’s important to keep those jobs in Maine and get these people back to work. It’s been clear that our telephone network has suffered without them on the job.”
Pingree, who visited the picket line several times and wrote to the company CEO urging and end to the strike. praised the workers for their endurance.
“They spent months on the picket line, sometimes in very cold weather, fighting to keep these good jobs in Maine. Their perseverance in very difficult conditions was impressive,” Pingree said. “And the support of the community has also been incredible, from people who dropped off food on a daily basis to the donations to the strike fund that helped workers keep their homes heated and their families fed.”