Four unions representing more than 1,000 Consolidated Communications employees in New England have agreed to a new four-year contract to replace the previous contract that expired August 7, 2021. The new contract includes wage parity for rural workers and better protection against subcontracting. In addition, workers will receive a wage increase.
Specifically, workers will get wage increases of 1.5% the first year and 1.75% each year for the remainder of the contract. In addition, the new contract has a work-from-home agreement and a clause noting that the company will not increase health insurance copays annually.
In late July, employees represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) agreed to authorize a strike against Consolidated. Among their complaints, the workers accused the company of “hiring too many outside contractors” and said it had been “bargaining in bad faith” since March in negotiations for a new contract to replace a three-year agreement which expired August 7.
Consolidated, like many of its peers, has been aggressively deploying fiber in its markets and it needs a strong workforce to meet its goals. The company in the second quarter added 76,000 new fiber locations in its footprint, which is a significant increase from the 45,800 locations it added in the first quarter. The company’s goal is to add 300,000 new fiber locations this year and 1.6 million fiber locations by 2025.