Frontier Communications, CWA Spar Over Contract

Frontier, the communications provider that serves customers in two dozen states, is in a contract battle with members of the Communications Workers of America union in West Virginia.

Three-hundred people turned out in Kanawha City, W.V., on Saturday in support of the workers, six days ahead of their contract expiration date. The existing agreement covers 1,600 employees who made the move from Verizon when Frontier bought Big Red’s landlines across multiple states four years ago.

"Executive compensation in this country has skyrocketed, while at the same time corporations are decreasing pay and benefits for the average worker," Elaine Harris, a CWA rep at the rally, told the Charleson Gazette.

Neither side discussed specifics about their negotiations, but a Verizon spokesman was quoted as saying, "We operate in a competitive marketplace, and our goal remains constant: to provide West Virginians with competitively priced, 21st Century broadband communications services that create more jobs in West Virginia, better educate our children, and make a meaningful contribution to improving the overall quality of life in the state."

Contract negotiations between many carriers and their landline workers have become more dicey in recent years as customers dump their fixed lines in favor of cellphones; as a result, the wireless side of the industry is bringing in a lot more revenue.

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