CWA workers still on the job as contract talks continue

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the Communication Workers of America continue working status quo as negotiators work to hammer out the next contract between the union employees and Frontier Communications. J.D. Thompson, President of Local 2001 of the CWA in Charleston, said although the old contract expired Saturday night at midnight, they continued to work because of progress in the bargaining talks.

“The bargaining committee came back and reported a good amount of progress had been made on Saturday. I think they just ran out of time,” he explained.

The talks have resumed and are ongoing. Workers staged informational pickets Friday outside the Frontier facilities on MacCorkle Avenue in Charleston. A large contingent also showed up to demonstrate Saturday at the bargaining venue. Thompson said more informational pickets are coming as they await a tentative agreement.

“Even though they’re still talking, we’re trying to crank it up a bit,” he explained.

The key sticking points, as in most negotiations, were wages, job security, and healthcare coverage for both active and retired members of the union.

The union had threatened a strike if no progress was detected, and a work stoppage is still a possibility if things stop progressing, but Thompson said from all indications things are moving in the right direction.

“It seemed like finally after some long days of slow going something finally broke and started moving,” he explained.

Local 2001 has 500 members who work for Frontier out of Charleston. They are among the 1,600 members of CWA who are covered by the Frontier contract in West Virginia and in the area of Ashburn, Virginia.

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