FairPoint to ax 110 northern New England team employees, cites legacy TDM service declines

FairPoint Communications
FairPoint is letting go of nearly 110 employees in its northern New England region.

FairPoint is letting nearly 110 employees in its northern New England region go from the company as it continues to see ongoing declines in its legacy TDM services business lines.

Angelynne Beaudry, a FairPoint spokeswoman, said in an Associated Press report that the job loss amounts vary across the three New England states it operates in today: 35 workers in Maine, 55 workers in New Hampshire, and 20 workers in Vermont.

In particular, FairPoint said the layoffs are driven by a double-digit decline in traditional POTS voice customers over the past year.

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"We're in a highly competitive industry and we've seen our voice lines decline by nearly 11 percent in the past 12 months," Beaudry said, according to the AP report. “As any prudent business would, we need to align the size of our workforce to meet the needs of the business.”

This trend was certainly seen in its third-quarter earnings results, where it reported total revenues of $207.1 million, down from $221.6 million as price increases and broadband speed upgrades could not offset continued line losses and lower regulatory funding.

Although FairPoint did not provide a specific timeline on when the cuts would take place, FairPoint and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) will meet on Monday.

Officials from both unions say that the job cuts will hinder the company’s customer response time to service issues.

Union officials said Friday that the job reductions are going to further hurt the company's ability to respond to customers.

Not being able to respond quickly to customer issues, particularly in states like Maine, could be a major issue for FairPoint. The state PUC is considering levying a $500,000 fine against FairPoint for failing to meet the state's minimum service standards for landline customers, for example.

FairPoint’s relationship with the unions has always been tenuous. Following a four-month strike that started in October 2014 by 1,800 workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the CWA and IBEW ratified agreements with the telco in early 2015.