Last week, the state of New Hampshire withdrew a $13 million contract with FairPoint Communications that had been up for approval by the Executive Council. Recent consumer complaints about the company’s service caused some of the Councilors to ask for additional time to check into the customers’ criticism. “I have big concerns that the poor service levels we’ve been seeing from FairPoint right now wouldn’t live up to the terms in the contract,” Democratic Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern said.
It is little wonder that customer complaints are rising. Over 1,700 FairPoint workers in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine went on strike in October after management offered the workers a new contract that significantly cut benefits. Replacement workers and management are unable to deliver the same quality service as the well-trained and experienced workers who are striking.
SEA, SEIU Local 1984 officers, members and staff joined Fairport workers two weeks ago at a state house rally that emphasized the striking workers’ position.
Gov. Maggie Hassan and other state officials have met with FairPoint executives and are urging both sides to return to negotiations.
FairPoint already provides most of the phone and Internet services for state properties and agencies. Under the contract in question, FairPoint would provide all services through 2020.
We will keep you updated on this important labor story.