Unionized Consolidated Communications Workers Authorize Strike
Unionized Consolidated Communications workers in northern New England have authorized their leaders to call a strike if ongoing contract negotiations with the company don’t succeed.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America say they represent more than 1,000 workers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The unions’ contract expires Aug. 4.
According to a statement from the unions, outsourcing work to non-union subcontractors is the key issue.
“Management continues to insist on outsourcing work, and we strongly believe that will hurt consumers and the hard-working employees who support, build, and maintain Northern New England’s critical telecommunications infrastructure,” said Peter McLaughlin, the bargaining team's co-chair, in that statement.
A statement from Ryan Whitlock, vice president of human resources at Consolidated Communications, said the company is willing to agree that any subcontracted work will not result in union layoffs, and has offered to hire union workers to oversee sub-contractors.
“We are hopeful to negotiate contracts that will allow us to more effectively and efficiently serve our customers, benefit our employees and ensure we are a sustainable and competitive Company,” the statement said.
Consolidated Communications is based in Illinois and operates in 24 states.
In 2017, Consolidated purchased FairPoint Communications and took over its northern New England landline, internet and telecommunications business.
Unionized FairPoint workers staged a four-month strike beginning in late 2014 after the company unilaterally imposed new contract terms. Ultimately the unions agreed to a contract that reduced benefits for current employees and retirees.