1,700 Workers Strike

Telephone and internet workers are on strike. They are asking the public to join their picket lines in Brattleboro and Keene. More than 1,700 workers at Fairpoint Corporation are on strike in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The company is the monopoly provider of landline telephone and DSL internet in those states.

Fairpoint is based in North Carolina. It wants to cut wages for workers it hires in the future by 40 percent.

In 2012, the most recent year for which data was available, the CEO of Fairpoint was paid $4.2 million. Fairpoint employees in New England work in winter at the top of telephone poles in strong winds, near high voltage power lines.

Mark Anderson was on the picket line in Brattleboro on October 23. He lives in Vernon, Vermont and has worked at Fairpoint for 27 years. The town of Vernon borders Massachusetts and New Hampshire. “Fairpoint wants to be able to lay us off without giving any reason and they want to be able to hire non-union workers,” he told the Valley Post. “They have always provided a pension for workers when they retire. They want to stop doing that.”

Workers who join a union in the USA make an average of 27 percent higher wages. That's according to www.bls.gov.

Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason. Most union contracts say that workers can only be fired for a good reason. If the boss and the worker disagree, a neutral third party decides.

Millions of workers in the USA are union members, including all the workers at UPS and Stop & Shop.

The Fairpoint workers' web site is www.fairnessatfairpoint.com/picketing-locations. Locations and times for picketing in Keene and in Dummerston, Vermont (which borders Brattleboro) are there. The Brattleboro picket location isn't listed -- it is directly across the street from the downtown post office on Main Street.

The workers' Facebook page is www.facebook.com/fairnessatfairpoint.

These photos show the picket line in Dummerston on October 23. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full-size image.” photos by Eesha Williams

Comments

Thanks for your support.

Thanks for your support. Remember the word Boston strong started in Vermont. Vermont strong forever

1,700 Strike

Great photos. Good wishes to the Strikers: may they prevail.

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