Another pen­sion freeze

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

Go back to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble. Ne­go­ti­ate in good faith. Agree to a con­tract that is fair to the work­ers, the cus­tomers and the company as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Some 1,700 work­ers through­out north­ern New Eng­land, in­clud­ing 450 in Ver­mont, went on strike on Oct. 17 after the North Carolina-based company cut health ben­e­fits and froze work­ers’ pen­sions.

To date, FairPoint has of­fered only a plan to slash la­bor costs by more than $700 mil­lion. The company wants to freeze pen­sions, elim­i­nate fu­ture re­tiree health ben­e­fits, force work­ers to pay hun­dreds of dol­lars more a month for health care and let man­age­ment out­source some jobs over­seas.

The In­ter­na­tional Brother­hood of Elec­tri­cal Work­ers and the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Work­ers of Amer­ica of­fered their own plan that would save the company $200 mil­lion, but FairPoint re­fused to con­sider the of­fer. “That is not what ne­go­ti­a­tions are all about. FairPoint’s man­age­ment must un­der­stand that it can’t have it all,” San­ders said.

Mike Spil­lane, an IBEW business man­ager in Ver­mont, said FairPoint is at­tempt­ing to “de­stroy mid­dle­class jobs.” Mike O’Day, a CWA vice pres­i­dent in Ver­mont said, “They want to out­source all of this work and let Wall Street make all of the money.”

Don Tre­men­tozzi is the CWA pres­i­dent in New Hamp­shire, Ver­mont, Maine and Mas­sachusetts. “This is about Main Street, not Wall Street. They want to de­stroy this company and mid­dle-class jobs,” he said. “This is about keep­ing good jobs here in New Eng­land,” added Keri Evin­son, the CWA ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for New Eng­land.

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