CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Communications Workers of America announced Tuesday its members in West Virginia and Virginia are prepared to go out on strike against Frontier Communications unless “substantial progress” is made toward a new contract by Saturday’s extension deadline.

Negotiations between the CWA and Frontier started last May. The current contract was scheduled to expire on Aug. 5, 2017. It was extended initially to Nov. 4, 2017 and then to March 3, 2018.

The union claims complaints to the PSC of Frontier’s service have risen 69 percent in the last three years. The CWA claims it’s because Frontier has eliminated 500 jobs in West Virginia with more layoffs planned for next month.

“Frontier promised West Virginians that they would continue to provide the high quality service that is critical for families and businesses across the state,” CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney said. “Instead, what we have seen is a sharp increase in customer complaints that has coincided with job cuts. There are simply not enough employees to get the job done.”

Frontier Communications Manager Andy Malinoski issued the following statement Tuesday evening:

“Frontier continues to engage in constructive contract negotiations with CWA to position the Company and its workforce to provide competitive, high-quality, communication services to the citizens of West Virginia. Frontier is proud to be one of the top employers in the state, providing an average annual salary of $70,000 and valuable benefits for our workforce. We look forward to our continued work with CWA to expand and improve connectivity in the state.”

The contract under negotiation covers 1,600 CWA members in West Virginia and Ashburn, Va.

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