Frontier has activated its strike contingency plan in West Virginia to minimize disruptions to customer service caused by the work stoppage CWA has initiated after 1,400 employees began a strike on Sunday.
The workers went on strike after not being able to come to an agreement with the telco for a new labor contract that expired after two contract extensions.
Members of the company’s management team, outside contractors and representatives from other Frontier organizations will continue to conduct necessary installation and maintenance for West Virginia customers.
The service provider said a number of these people will be local and regional workers.
“The Company is working to minimize disruptions to customer service by deploying these resources to cover the work abandoned by the CWA,” Frontier said in a statement.
Frontier directed residential customers to call 800-921-8101 and business customers to call 800-921-8102. Additionally, customers may also access Frontier’s Help Center at www.frontier.com to manage their accounts.
One of the key sticking points for CWA union workers in the negotiations was job security. Frontier countered that it has offered what it says is “a very generous package with continued job security for the great majority of the workforce, minimal benefits changes, and solid wage increases without asking for any significant concessions.”
Frontier said that 85% of the employees represented by the CWA bargaining unit for West Virginia are currently and would continue to be protected against any layoff, regardless of the financial condition of the company. CWA has sought 100% job security.
As part of its proposal that CWA rejected, Frontier offered a new contract that included various wage and healthcare benefits: a $14 million wage increase; healthcare benefits of more than $21,000 per employee per year; and the continuation of a profit-sharing bonus for every CWA employee.
Besides not agreeing on the job-security issue and on other benefit issues, Frontier refuted CWA’s claims that the service provider has not kept up with making necessary upgrades and maintenance on the network facilities in West Virginia. At issue was CWA citing an analysis of informal complaints filed with the West Virginia Public Service Commission that says complaints have risen 69% from 639 complaints in 2014 to 1,072 complaints in 2017.
Frontier said that since 2015, it has enhanced broadband and network connectivity to a large number of residential and business locations via the FCC’s CAF-II program.
“We have worked in partnership with CWA workers and improved more than 165,000 homes and businesses to bring them up to FCC regulations for the Connect America Fund in the last three years. We have invested more than $500 million in the network improvements since Frontier has been in West Virginia,” Frontier said. “Together we’ve made major improvements in the network.”