Frontier layoffs in Fort Wayne, Ind. will cause customer disruption, argue unions

Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) may have recently championed its support for FiOS, but unions believe its move to cut 31 service technician positions in Fort Wayne, Ind. will do more harm than good.

Local union leaders think that customers will have to pay the price with longer wait times to activate service and repairs.  

Bruce Getts, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 723, argues that since only 60 of 142 service technicians in the Fort Wayne area actually conduct service activity in the field, they are reducing the local service staff by almost half.

"I tried to tell them that this isn't the way to be going, but they obviously didn't listen to me," said Getts, whose union represents about 850 Frontier employees in Fort Wayne, in a Journal Gazette article. "If someone is going to champion the cause of the customers, it's going to be (the union)."

These technicians, who are about to begin negotiations on a three-year contract that expired last November, will be offered positions in another part of the state or in Michigan. Getts thinks that the majority of the employees will likely take local call center positions that will reduce their hourly rate from $26 to $13 an hour.

Matt Kelley, a Frontier spokesman, maintains that the move is just part of an ongoing effort to "work more efficiently."

"It is a rebalancing of our (resources)," he said, adding that some Fort Wayne workers are already servicing customers in other parts of the state and Michigan. "Employees will have the opportunity to relocate to one of our locations in Indiana or Michigan."

For more:
- The Journal Gazette has this article

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