1,400 Frontier employees go on strike - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

1,400 Frontier employees go on strike


After ten months of negotiations, members of the Communications Workers of America have been unable to reach an agreement on what they see as a fair contract with Frontier Communications. As a result, 1,400 Frontier employees in the two Virginia's are now on strike.

From Martinsburg to Huntington to Bluefield, Frontier employees could be seen on street corners. They are holding signs that say "CWA on strike", and wearing placards that read "Fighting for our future". Johnny Bailey, President of CWA Local 2276, says outsourcing is the first of many sticking points. "That's the biggest reason that we're on strike today. Frontier is doing outsourcing work, of 30 people we have working here in Bluefield; wanting to move their jobs out of the state, or overseas."
Todd Compton has been working at Frontier for 20 years. Compton prides himself on the customer service that he and others have provided. "When you're in the service department and everything, you're out there working with the customers, getting their phone line repaired, or their internet, or whatever." Especially with the elderly. And you know, internet now is the big thing. So I mean the kids in the school. I've got a 15 year old, you know, they've got to have it!"

Compton says employees aren't striking for better pay or cheaper insurance. He says they're overworked because of a shrinking workforce. "We don't have the people now to keep up with the outdated, outside plan that we have in place now. Plus they're not upgrading anything, and getting anybody any access to any higher speeds, internet, or anything."

Bailey is also frustrated by what seems to be a lack of investment into an aging grid. "They promised, to the governor, that they would provide a high quality internet, dial-tone, and service. But Frontier will not spend the money, to provide the type of service we need to give to the customers. We live and work in this community, and we want to be able to face the customers with pride, and provide them a good service." 

So, what does Frontier Communications have to say about the strike? We spoke with Communications Manager Andy Malinoski Sunday evening. He says they offered to keep 85% job security in place, but that the CWA was asking for 100%.

As for network upgrades, Malinoski says, "We have improved more than 165,000 broadband connections in the past three years in our work with the CWA."
Malinoski also stated, "We have invested more than $500 million in network improvements since Frontier came to the state."

The strike continues on Monday.

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