CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  Frontier Communications and the Communication Workers of America have announced a fourth contract extension but this time only for 20 days.

The announcement came Friday afternoon just ahead of Saturday night’s deadline of the third extension. The previous three extensions have stretched for three months or more. The new deadline is April 25.

Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

Members of the Communication Workers of America displayed solidarity in their cars Friday in Charleston.

“We felt an extension was appropriate for both our members and the company,” CWA International Representative Elaine Harris said in a release from the union. “The extension alleviates some of the pressure on negotiations which allows us to continue to focus and negotiate diligently on the issues important to our members.”

Frontier East Region Area President Ken Arndt said the company believes a deal can be reached.

“With additional time, we are optimistic we can find all of the common ground needed to reach a new agreement,” Arndt said. “Frontier has negotiated in good faith to seek a balanced contract that treats employees fairly, allows the company to provide the highest levels of customer service West Virginians deserve and gives the company the flexibility necessary to succeed in the intensely competitive communications industry.”

Frontier workers held an informational picket outside Frontier headquarters in Charleston Friday morning. They wore camouflage and carried signs calling for a fair contract.

Margo Cain is a CWA member. She brought her young son with her to the picket. He’s a big reason why she’s so determined to make sure the union workers get a fair shake.

“I have two small children who have different medical issues that our insurance helps provide the care that they deserve,” she stressed. “Frontier trying to cut our benefits and cut our pay seriously hurts our family!”

The old contract ran out last August. Cain said the union membership is prepared to walk off the job.

“[We want to] let them know that we are together. We’re not backing down. We will wait one more day than them. We will get a fair contract,” stressed Cain.

Both sides agreed to a third contract extension back in January but the water crisis slowed down talks for several days.

The contract covers approximately 1,600 Frontier workers who are CWA members.

 

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Comments

  • College Ave

    I feel bad for Frontier employees, both union and management. They're in an industry that's dying and they're doing everything they can to hang onto what they have. No one should blame them for that.

    However, it wouldn't be realistic for CWA, IBEW or any other union to expect much of anything around job security or retiree benefits. The competitive and financial pressures on businesses are just too great now. The days of working for a company for 30 years, retiring at 55 or 57, and buying a new car every four years off a pension are long gone.

    And cutting the CEO and senior management's salaries to $1 wouldn't fix anything.

  • sean

    The last thing WV needs is to lose more high paying jobs. Who is going to pay for infrastructure and libraries once the educated people leave the state? People working low service jobs pay little to no taxes..(WalMart employees, Home Depot, etc...). Technology firms are not going to move to the state b/c rednecks do not value education.

  • CWA Local Member

    I work hard all day doing what is best for my customers. With a company who is making great profits and pays their CEO and shareholders very generously from the hard work we West Virginians do. I would certainly think they can afford to keep their promises they made to us and the state before the sale was approved. They wouldn't just lie to get what they want, would they. This should not be allowed. I commit to my job and give 100% for a return of being able to care for my family. When did my family drop in worth to them? I plan on holding this company to their word.

  • WVoutdoorsman

    There's not one person reading this that isn't a union employee that wouldn't be wanting to keep the pay/benefits they had if they were a union employee . Plan and simple no matter the line of work.

  • Jeff

    We don't want your sympathy. We get paid according to our skill levels. There are way more jobs than just splicers and we make all different rates. No one is asking you to feel anything other than want what's best for WV workers. I want everyone to be able to live well in WV. It's why I stayed here rather than leave like thousands of others who flee the state. We need good jobs to stay, not low wage, low skill ones.

  • No Sympathy

    Sorry union employees, but I don't think you're ever going to get much sympathy from the thousands of other WV workers out there working just as hard or harder, and earning far less than you guys. It's always amazed me how union employees making $35-40/hour don't realize how many people out there would kill for a job like that. But I realize the unions indoctrinate you and always stress how management is "out to get you".

    • Seriously

      Well no sympathy if the people who had "no sympathy" would quit wishing bad for those who make a good wage and get out and do what it takes to get a good job then maybe this state or country would be better off. But hey if anyone thinks they can do it better they take applications every day.

      Low wages is what has destroyed this nation and our communities and besides I don't think the welfare system can keep paying the worthless on $10 an hr. I wish I did have a job making $35 an hr so I could pay even more taxes. Love people that have no clue but love to down other people for wanting to just keep what they have

      • No Sympathy

        Actually the unions are one of the biggest problems. If a lot of the utility workers, gas, phone, electric, etc. weren't union, and the companies weren't forced to pay exorbitant wages and benefits to them, they could afford to hire more people and invest more into their systems for maintenance, etc.

        • telco/power lineman

          Just remember if you have a job that provides paid vacations, weekends off, health benefits, unions lobbied for that. You can't talk from both sides of your mouth on this topic. I suggest you give up the benefits or thank the unions. You have no idea the training, and dedication it takes to work telco or power. You post is uneducated and meaningless. Do some homework before spewing out useless information.

  • Ben

    The workers are only wanting they were promised when Verizon sold off WV. If everyone thinks these jobs are so easy to do. Why is it only 5 or 6 people out of 10000 are hired because they can't pass the test and maybe 2 of those will retire from the company. Like someone else said, yea we get overtime ,but how would you like to come home at the end of your shift , plan on going to your child's whatever and get a call to go back to work after working 10 or 12 hrs. Then stay out all night and be expected to work your normal shift the next morning. This may happen 3 or more times a week. Doesn't matter what the weather may be..
    The workers are wanting to keep the salary they were getting from Verizon, not $5-10.00 less a hr. and then maybe a 1/3 less for a pension..

    • DWL

      Guess you should have migrated with Verizon then. Frontier's days are number and the CWA's are even less. The union has killed it's self.

  • Union Worker

    You're right. We are so greedy. So greedy in fact that all we have asked Frontier to do is continue paying us what we make now. No raise, no "better deal", just simply pay us what you promised to pay us when you bought the state of WV from Verizon and stood in front of the Public Service Commision and promised to continue paying us a fair wage.

    • cwa employee

      I find it amazing that people are so ignorant when it comes to understanding just what a union is and how hard they have worked throughout the years so we can have a higher living and benefits. As one person said, you can put in an application anytime. If you don't want to make minimum wage get yourself an education and work hard to better yourself. Don't put us down because of our jobs. It sounds to me like pure jealously and bitterness.

  • Wv_pat

    United We Stand Divided We Fall!

    • DWL

      Enjoy the free fall!

  • Wv_pat

    Union Proud! United Stand Divided We Fall!

  • Jeff

    You guys don't realize that the cell towers worked off of circuits provided in the "crappy" copper cable and fiber maintained and spliced by CWA employees. Also, how could it possibly be the workers fault that most of the cables were placed in the 1960s and 70s. Maybe the company's that have bled the state through the years could have installed some new lines. Lastly, your amount you think they are paid is way off. Most employees earn 50,000 or less and just like Union coal miners, extra money is only made off of overtime that is typically force through the busy times. There you go experts.

    • Larry

      I've heard experienced phone co. splicers, or whatever they're called, earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $35/hour, which equates to around 72,000/year before any overtime. Another thing, Frontier claims to have a 100% US based workforce, if that's true then they must employ every person from India who has ever immigrated to the USA.

  • Union Clown

    Larry, hey Larry wake up, I don't care about the service I just want to milk my company for everything I can. Who cares about the service as long as I get my $100,000+ every year. Time for you to wake up and smell the greed boy, me, me, me that's all I'm worried about. Oh and the protection I get for be being lazy. My God, Country and everyone bless the union!

    • Seriously

      Spoken like a true idiot

  • Larry

    If I were a phone co. lineman, I'd be more concerned about how much longer my job will be needed, I can't imagine that job will be around much longer with the proliferation of cellular and wireless technology. The landlines are in horrible condition, and they are not investing any money to improve them.

    • DWL

      Larry, Frontier and the employees need to worry if they will be in existence in a few years. They are the worst operation I have ever seen. Like every other business in which the union has infiltrated - they kill them quickly. Lazy and rude employees. Fire them all!

      • cwa employee

        Well, we hope your boss does the same with you. I am sure you are a slacker and do not do your job well from your remark.

        • DWL

          My job is to put union employees out the door. Its called busting the unions. I actually enjoy watching unions collapse upon themselves. Especially when you have sworn your life to a m0r0n(d) in DC. your days are numbered. You might want to start a new resume that doesn't include union work.

          • Gawker

            DWL, you're not a union buster, just another Teabagger political nut case.

      • cwa employee

        God does not like ugly. Everyone of you who have made stupid comments need to grow up and wish people well, not put us down and wish us harm. It is no wonder WV gets talked about and ridiculed all the time, it is people like you who make it this way.

  • Inwood

    They extended the contract for three more weeks