Frontier-Verizon: Union, W. Va. Staff Could Can Deal

Frontier Communications (FTR) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) hope to close their $8.6 billion landline deal by the middle of the year despite union opposition.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is trying to block the transaction because it’s concerned the spinoff of Verizon’s wireline assets to Frontier will create job losses. CWA officials say Frontier will take on too much financial obligation and that burden will lead to layoffs. The union has gone so far as to sponsor a demonstration in Washington, D.C., to get the FCC’s attention, but focused most of its efforts on West Virginia – it’s the one region in the 14 states at stake where the landlines are controlled either by Frontier or Verizon. If any state refuses to approve the Verizon-Frontier plan, the deal will fall apart.

But Verizon and Frontier seem confident the spinoff will take place as intended.

“Everything the union and others have brought up we’ve been able to shoot down with immediacy,” Steve Crosby, senior vice president for government and regulatory affairs at Frontier, told the Wall Street Journal.

A Verizon spokesman told the newspaper, “We expect to close by the middle of this year.”

The CWA isn’t the only entity that doesn’t like a Verizon landline sale to Frontier. A judge in Illinois recently recommended the state’s public utilities commissioners nix the deal. And in what could be bad news for Verizon and Frontier, staff at West Virginia’s Public Service Commission also have recommended commissioners reject the deal. Those officials should make their decision in late April or early May, according to reports.

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