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Frontier, union reach contract agreement

By Paul J. Nyden
F. BRIAN FERGUSON | Gazette
Last week, Communication Workers of America members demonstrated in downtown Charleston during negotiations with Frontier Communications on a new contract. The company and the union agreed on a contract Monday.

After 13 months of negotiations, the Communications Workers of America and Frontier Communications reached a labor-contract agreement on Monday. It will cover 1,500 CWA members working for Frontier in West Virginia.

Frontier and the CWA issued a joint statement about the contract Monday evening.

“We are pleased to announce that Frontier and the Communications Workers of America have reached a tentative contract settlement in West Virginia,” Ken Arndt, president of Frontier’s east region area, said in the release. “Throughout our negotiations, we worked to achieve an agreement that treats employees fairly and allows the company to provide excellent customer service and succeed as a business in a highly competitive industry.

“This proposed agreement is important to our West Virginia business given the number of employees represented and the experience they have in serving our customers,” Arndt added in the statement. “A ratified agreement with CWA will allow our employees to do what they do best – put our customers first.”

The new four-year contract, which will continue through Aug. 5, 2017, will also be retroactive back to August 2013, when the previous contract expired. Company and union officials had agreed to several extensions of the old contract while negotiations continued on the new one.

“CWA understands the critical role Frontier’s employees and our members play in providing West Virginia with communications services,” Ed Mooney, a district vice president for CWA, said in the release. “CWA members have a rich history of supporting Mountain State customers. This tentative agreement allows CWA members to continue this tradition while maintaining great middle class jobs in WV.”

The previous contract was originally negotiated with Verizon. It covered former Verizon employees who became Frontier employees after Frontier bought Verizon’s land lines in West Virginia, as well as recently-hired employees.

That purchase was part of a multi-state, $8.6 billion dollar deal made in 2009. The West Virginia Public Service Commission approved the deal in May 2010.

The new contract agreement apparently reached on Monday must be ratified by the union’s members before it becomes a formal contract.

During the past year CWA members have led a vocal “Fighting for our Future at Frontier” campaign.

After the new contract is formally approved by both parties in the negotiations, it will be sent to CWA local members for their ratification. The process should be completed by the end of August, union officials said.

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


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