As of this morning, employees working for FairPoint Communications in the New England area will return to work after striking for the past four months.  The workers began striking on October 17, 2014 when negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement with their employer began to stall out.  However, a new contract has finally been reached.

The contract, which has been ratified by union members, lasts until August 2018.  Among its more controversial provisions are a union-run healthcare plan, as well as a provision allowing FairPoint to outsource work to non-union members in “extreme situations.”

As we reportedly previously, the contract negotiations were prolonged and nasty.  At one point, the unions representing FairPoint’s unionized workforce filed unfair labor practice charges against FairPoint with the National Labor Relations Board.  But those charges were dismissed in December 2014.

Once a federal mediator came on the scene, the deadlock began to dissipate.  And with the contract now ratified, FairPoint’s employees can finally get back to work.

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