On November 8, hundreds of Fairpoint workers and their allies gathered in Portland, Maine to continue the fight for decent jobs, healthcare and pensions. For over two weeks, Fairpoint workers affiliated with the IBEW and CWA have been on strike to protest Fairpoint’s callous attacks on its workers. Braving the brisk New England autumn, workers from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York gathered to collectively say no to Wall Street corporate greed and yes to fair wages and benefits. Union representatives, rank and file workers and community members took to the podium at Monument Square to denounce Fairpoint’s shameful attacks on workers’ rights.
Fairpoint is a major communications company that oversees much of New England’s communications networks. Since a botched merger six years ago, working people have been paying for the incompetence of Wall Street bigwigs. Over half of the company is owned by the top five shareholders (four of which are hedge funds). These investors have absolutely nothing in common with the communities they are attacking or with working people in general. Over 22 percent of Fairpoint’s workforce has been cut since the merger.
With the expiration of Fairpoint workers’ contract on August 2nd, Fairpoint proposed $700,000,000 in concessions. This translates to a dramatic erosion of healthcare and pension benefits that Fairpoint workers (2/3 of whom were protected by collective bargaining agreements) have worked and fought so hard for. Negotiations between Fairpoint and the organized workers are set to begin November 18th. During the negotiating process, union workers and their allies will maintain the picket lines until decent wages and benefits are won with a fair contract for all.
It is actions such as these, led by organized labor, that show us what worker power looks like in the here and now. Rather than an abstract concept, strikes show us that the working class, when unified, can maintain picket lines, win concessions from capital and sustain itself thanks to the generous solidarity of other workers and unions. Fairpoint’s anti-worker behavior demonstrates the need for the resurgence of militant labor struggles across the country.
For more information about the ongoing strike visit: http://fairnessatfairpoint.com/
One day longer, one day stronger!
No contract, no peace!
An injury to one is an injury to all!