FairPoint workers to protest company's planned layoffs

FairPoint union workers will picket the company's headquarters today in Portland, Maine, to protest FairPoint's plans to lay off more than 200 employees in northern New England. FairPoint announced in May that it was going to lay off nearly 260 workers across its 17-state footprint and that the majority of the layoffs would occur in its northern New England territory.

At the time of the announcement, the telco said that the workforce reduction was due to the loss of landline phone subscribers. Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communications Workers of America (CWA), which organized the protest, said that the cuts are unnecessary and will erode service quality for consumers. Since the company's May announcement, FairPoint has met with both CWA and the IBEW leaders to discuss the layoff process in an attempt to reduce the number of workers who will lose their jobs, but no agreement has been reached.

Last October, more than 1,700 FairPoint workers walked off the job after the two unions and FairPoint were unable to resolve contract negotiations in which the company wanted to cut $700 million in operating costs and the unions offered $200 million in concessions. An agreement between FairPoint and the two unions over the issue was inked in February.

In other FairPoint news, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission fined FairPoint $10,000 and the company must pay $5,000 in refunds to overcharged customers. The commission found Ellensburg Telephone Company, which does business as FairPoint, charged customers for rates not approved by the commission. The company also failed to provide notice to customers before changing rates twice.

For more:
- see this Miami Herald article
- see this Press Herald article
- see this Daily Record article

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