PORTLAND – FairPoint Communications announced Monday it has reached tentative agreements with two unions representing 2,500 employees it will inherit as part of its purchase of Verizon’s land-line phone and Internet service in northern New England.
FairPoint said it came to terms with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America on wage and pension increases for active employees, health care benefits for active employees and retirees, and 401(k) improvements.
The agreements are subject to ratification by the unions’ membership.
Both unions had opposed the $2.35 billion purchase, which won approval from the Federal Communications Commission and Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont regulators. The deal is scheduled to close at the end of this month.
In the announcement, FairPoint President Peter Nixon cited the crucial role that employees represented by the two unions play in providing excellent customer service.
“This agreement lays the foundation for good relationships going forward. We’re looking forward to closing the transaction and welcoming these employees into the FairPoint family,” Nixon said.
Peter McLaughlin, business manager of IBEW Local 2327, said the long-term agreement is a big step in easing the membership’s fears about changing companies.
“Now that this is out of the way, we can concentrate on making the transition in the three northern states as seamless as possible for our customers,” McLaughlin said.
In opposing the sale, the union had expressed concern about job security and questioned whether North Carolina-based FairPoint would be able to maintain the service Verizon provides and expand high-speed Internet access.