On November 18, a Federal Mediator will sit down with representatives of FairPoint Communications and two labor unions to attempt to bring an end to a three-week labor strike.  The meeting, which will take place in Boston, will be attended by negotiators for the company, as well as higher-ups at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

The IBEW and CWA represent almost 2,000 FairPoint employees working across New England.  During the strike, FairPoint’s customers have experienced widespread service disruptions, which union officials believe brought the company back to the table.

“It’s a shame that it took back-to-back weather emergencies to bring home the reality that inexperienced replacements from out of state just can’t maintain our network,” [the President of CWA Local 1400] said in a statement. “It’s time for FairPoint to put the needs of its New England customers first.”

Another union official also signaled that picket lines would still be set up outside of FairPoint facilities while negotiations continue.  Trouble started during collective bargaining negotiations because the company wants to freeze pensions and eliminate health care coverage for retirees.  The dispute then escalated in late summer when the unions began filing unfair labor practice charges against the company.

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