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FairPoint Strike Vote Delayed

A union representing FairPoint Communications workers in Vermont says it will be another week until the results of a strike authorization vote are known.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents about 1800 FairPoint employees in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. 

The vote results were initially expected as early as today, but because of storms earlier in the week, union officials have spent the past several days juggling the voting schedule.  

Mike Spillane of the local IBEW in Vermont says it now appears the vote count won’t be completed for another week.

Spillane says official had hoped the voting could be completed sooner, but ongoing outages caused by the weather have prevented workers from attending meetings where the votes are held.  He says the biggest delays are in New Hampshire.

“New Hampshire was having a big meeting Sunday,” says Spillane. “But they now have so many troubles with FairPoint service that all of their techs are coming into work Sunday, so the union is going to move their vote out.”

FairPoint and the union are at odds over a number of issues, including starting wages, and health care and pension benefits.

"I'm pretty sure it will pass." - Mike Spillane, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

The vote would allow the union to call a strike between now and the expiration of its contract with

FairPoint on August 2.

Spillane is confident the strike will be authorized by workers.

“Unofficially I know the feeling of the people and I don’t see many problems. We’re all fighting for same thing. ” says Spillane.

A second union, the Communications Workers of America is also holding a strike authorization vote. 

It represents about 200 FairPoint workers in Northern New England.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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