Union Says Waiting For FairPoint Response To New Offer

Aug 14, 2014

Following the first negotiating session since labor contracts with FairPoint Communications expired 12 days ago, an official with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Vermont expressed frustration with the status of the talks. 

Mike Spillane, who is part of the IBEW negotiating team, said the two sides met with a federal mediator in Portland, Maine on Wednesday. 

Spillane says Thursday morning the union offered a contract package that was “further than we wanted to go.” 

He says at that point talks recessed. No new sessions have yet been scheduled and Spillane says the company’s response to the union offer will be "critical to what happens next."

Union members have voted to allow the leadership to authorize a strike, but no decision has been made.

FairPoint has consistently maintained that the terms of the now expired union contracts are out of line with current industry standards. 

The company says union concessions on health care coverage, retirement benefits and the use of non-union contract workers are critical to the company’s financial future. 

Both sides have portrayed the others as unwilling to compromise.