CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Frontier Communications says it would like to continue talks with the Communications Workers of America to reach a contract agreement.
“We would like to continue to engage in constructive contract negotiations with CWA and resolve this matter quickly,” Andy Malinoski, communications manager at Frontier, told MetroNews this week as a statewide workers strike continues.
Nearly 1,400 Frontier employees in West Virginia and Virginia have been on strike since Sunday because their company and the union have been unable to agree on a contract. Negotiations have been ongoing since last May.
The CWA is seeking 100 percent job security within the contract — a sticking point within negotiations. Frontier wants to extend the current contract, keeping 85 percent of job security in place. Union employees say that’s not enough.
“This was basically a status quo renewal. We were not seeking any major or significant concessions. They’ve seem to have drawn a line in the sand for 100 percent job security protection,” Malinoski said.
Malinoski said Frontier needs to take both its employees and customers into consideration.
“We need to balance the interest of our employees, the needs of our customers and the realities our company faces each and every day in the hyper-competitive and ever-changing telecommunications industry so that we can adapt our network, our processes and our operation to be positioned to be successful for West Virginia in the future,” he said.
The company, Malinoski said, has offered “a very generous package” with fair wages. The offer provided to the CWA included wage increases of more than $14 million, health care benefits of more than $21,000 per employee per year, a continuation of a profit sharing bonus for every CWA employee and the withdraw of pending layoff notices.
Frontier employees previously told MetroNews they’re concerned about job cuts. The CWA said it will continue to strike if a fair contract is not reached.
The company stated in an email, “Our objective in these negotiations has been to preserve these valuable jobs, serve our customers, and manage the company’s resources to remain viable for the future.”
Malinoski said Frontier is working to address the strike issue so it doesn’t impact its customers.
“Our customers can rest assured that we’ve activated a strike contingency plan for West Virginia. We’re working to minimize disruption to customer service,” he said.
For more information, residential customers can call 1-800-921-8101. Business customers can call 1-800-921-8102.