FairPoint declares impasse, unions disagree - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

FairPoint declares impasse, unions disagree

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FairPoint Communications is unilaterally implementing a series of benefit cuts after the company says negotiations with employee unions reached an impasse.

After meeting Wednesday night, FairPoint let union leaders know they are deadlocked. The company wants to reach a new collective bargaining agreement-- one that cuts down labor costs-- that would affect employee pensions and health care plans.

Union spokesperson Mike Spillane says the union offered a compromise to save money, but FairPoint did not change its demands, meaning employees may strike.

"I think we're just about there. We have done everything we can to invite them in to bargain in a reasonable manner, to sit down and we've encouraged them to give us counter-proposals but they don't," Spillane said. "We do not want to impact our customers at any costs. Our customers are our friends, our neighbors, our families and we don't want to do anything that affects that, but the company may leave us no choice but to try something different."

FairPoint says it has to cut labor costs to stay competitive with other telecommunications companies.

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