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Frontier and union announce temporary contract extension

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Communications Workers of America and Frontier Communications announced a third contract extension on Sunday, to allow negotiations to continue until April 5.

A prior extension had ended on October 12 and another had ended on Saturday.

The original contract, which expired on August 2, covers about 1,600 employees in West Virginia.

In a press release, Frontier officials said the third extension of negotiations will give them an opportunity to work directly with CWA leaders to reach a new contract.

Both Ed Mooney, a CWA International Vice President, and Ken Arndt, President of Frontier's East Region Area, will participate in upcoming collective bargaining.

In a press release, the CWA stated, "Agreements have not yet been reached between the union and the company on critical agenda items, and both sides felt they would be unable to complete negotiations by the deadline.

"The recent water crisis also necessitated the cancellations of scheduled contract talks and caused further delays."

The contract covers former Verizon employees who became Frontier employees after Frontier bought Verizon's landlines in West Virginia. The purchase was part of a multi-state, $8.6 billion dollar deal made in 2009.

Elaine Harris, CWA's international representative in West Virginia, based in Charleston, said, "We felt an extension was the best solution for both our members and the company.

"The extension alleviates a bit of stress for our members and allows us to continue to negotiate diligently on issues of vital concern to them," she said.

Arndt, the Frontier executive, said, "We are optimistic that we will make positive progress on the core issues. The company is committed to have the right decision-makers at the table, find common ground and get to a full tentative agreement.

"Frontier Communications knows that settling this contract is important for our employees, our customers, our business in West Virginia, as well as the health of the many local economies in the state," Arndt said.

Today, Frontier Communications has 13,900 employees in 27 different states.

Frontier provides telephone and internet services, as well as a variety of specialized computer and satellite services, to individuals, home offices, local businesses and national corporations.

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.


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