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Feds Find Against Unions In FairPoint Fight

FairPoint Communications didn’t act in bad faith by walking away from negotiations with two unions, an initial ruling by the National Labor Relations Board found.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), who have been in a labor dispute with FairPoint since October, accused the company of breaking federal labor laws by walking away, the Associated Press reported.

FairPoint, which provides communications services to businesses and private consumers in 17 states, has been at odds with the unions over the company’s desire to freeze pensions, eliminate health coverage for retirees and have employees contribute more to their health care costs.

“FairPoint has been informed by a responsible official of the NLRB that now each of the six bad faith bargaining charges filed by the CWA and IBEW against FairPoint has been rejected,” a press release by FairPoint explained Tuesday.

The press release continued, “The most recent dismissals will follow an almost five month long investigation into both parties’ conduct and NLRB Region 1’s conclusion that there was no basis to the allegations that FairPoint bargained in bad faith or that its implementation of its final contract proposals was unlawful.”

“The company will provide further comment when the NLRB ruling is officially issued,” they concluded.

The NLRB Region 1 told Fierce Telecom, “that there was no basis to the allegations that FairPoint bargained in bad faith or that its implementation of its final contract proposals was unlawful.”

At least one of the unions is already planning on appealing.

“While disappointing, the NLRB’s decision is not surprising,” Peter McLaughlin, business manager for IBEW Local 2327, told Fierce Telecom. “Unfortunately, US labor law favors corporations like FairPoint, not working people.”

McLaughlin concluded, “The NLRB is one tool in our toolbox—the NLRB does not decide what’s best for our workers and our communities. We remain united and committed in our fight for fairness at FairPoint.”

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