FairPoint puts contingency plans in place during northern New England labor strike

FairPoint Communications' executives will soon begin contingency plans in their northern New England region so they can maintain customer service as their union employees continue with their strike.

The service provider said it is mobilizing managers, non-union workers and contractors to meet service needs and safeguard the company's networks.

It also sent a letter to the leaders of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communications Workers of America (CWA) asking for their members to stop their efforts to disrupt services and intimidate employees and customers.

"FairPoint is concerned with activities to disrupt services and intimidate employees and customers and is taking steps to ensure these activities are stopped," FairPoint said in a prepared statement. "It is critical for customers and especially emergency personnel to have communication capabilities."

FairPoint is hardly alone with disruptions during an employee strike. In 2011, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) fired 40 employees for violating the company's code of conduct while protesting proposed changes over pension and sick time to their labor contract.

After negotiations with the service provider broke down over retiree health care, freezing pensions and the use of extra contract labor, nearly 1,700 Fairpoint workers represented by the northern New England chapters of the IBEW and CWA went on strike.

At this point, no new talks have been scheduled and the service provider is using replacement workers to maintain the region's phone and Internet services.

FairPoint said that it anticipates deploying extra resources to battle any outages caused by the onset of heavy rain in the New England region.

"We are expecting heavy rains across northern New England over the next several days and those rains may cause system disruptions," FairPoint said. "As our managers, non-union employees and contingent workforce ramp to capacity to address the needs of our customers, we are deploying all available resources to prepare for and respond to any storm related impact."

For more:
- see the release

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