FairPoint says vandalism on network has spiked during union strike

FairPoint Communications is reporting that the amount of vandalism incidents against its network and related equipment in northern New England has risen sharply since a union strike began last week. 

The service provider is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of anyone that has tampered, damaged or destroyed its network equipment.

At the same time, FairPoint has asked people in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to report any suspicious behavior to the local police amidst a spate of vandalism against its property.

FairPoint said it has suffered eight incidents of vandalism to a number of major pieces of network infrastructure and outside plant facilities. Interestingly, for the five years prior to Oct. 17, the telco only investigated one of these kinds of incidents.

"Most of the strikers are exercising their legal right to stop working and to publicize their position, but it is no coincidence that these acts of vandalism are being committed during the strike," said FairPoint spokeswoman Angelynne Beaudry, in a release. "It is not enough for strikers to deny that they are vandals. We understand that the vast majority would never vandalize. But it is time to help us stop the vandalism."  

In the wake of the strike, FairPoint said last week that it would begin contingency plans in its northern New England region so it can maintain customer service as union employees continue with their strike.

Besides seeing an uptick in vandalism against its network and related outside plant facilities, FairPoint reported a spike in "computer-generated" calls that it said were "intended to interfere with our ability to answer legitimate customer calls" at call centers.

Neither the two unions--the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)--nor FairPoint have yet to come to an agreement on a new contract. Both sides have been deadlocked on the amount of concessions each side should make on issues such as health care and pensions. 

For more:
- see the release

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