WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 – Vermont’s congressional delegation today sent a letter to FairPoint Communications urging the company to negotiate an end to its ongoing labor strike.
“We are extremely disappointed that FairPoint management has not come back to the bargaining table with any meaningful concessions to end this strike,” wrote Sens. Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch in their joint letter. “It is becoming increasingly clear to Vermonters that management is more concerned with the interests of corporate owners of FairPoint than negotiating a reasonable agreement that is fair to your workers and customers.”
Since the strike began, Vermont’s Department of Public Service has received more than 600 complaints from FairPoint’s customers. A recent equipment failure caused a roughly six-hour outage of Vermont’s 9-1-1 system, resulting in nearly 100 missed calls from Vermonters trying to reach emergency dispatchers.
“It is imperative that FairPoint returns to the bargaining table as soon as possible, negotiates in good faith, and allows its experienced and dedicated employees to get back to work. We are prepared to do whatever we can to help FairPoint’s workers and management reach a compromise in these very difficult times,” wrote the delegation.
It has been 136 days since FairPoint’s labor contract expired and 61 days since the beginning of the strike. More than 1,700 members of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are on strike against FairPoint in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.