FairPoint Communications has announced that it has declared impasse in its negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) after contract negotiations between the parties failed to produce an agreement.  Accordingly, FairPoint will now begin unilaterally implementing the terms of its most recent contract offer to the union. 

FairPoint will begin moving its current employees from a defined pension plan into a new 401K plan, which is already offered to management officials at the company.  The company is also planning to eliminate retiree medical benefits and change its employees’ health benefits plan. 

For its part, the union is angry.  Union members have authorized a strike action, although it remains to be seen whether employees will walk off the job.