- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The Latest on Consolidated Communications‘ labor negotiations (all times local):

Consolidated Communications says it’s negotiating in good faith as it seeks an agreement with unions representing workers in Maine, Hampshire and Vermont.

Ryan Whitlock, vice president for human resources, said Wednesday that Consolidated seeks an agreement that helps the company efficiently serve telephone and broadband customers while benefiting workers and ensuring the company is sustainable and competitive.

More than 1,000 workers belonging to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communications Workers of America have authorized a strike. The contract expires Aug. 4.

One of the sticking points is outside labor. Whitlock said the company wants more subcontracting flexibility but said there will be no layoffs as a result.



This is the first contract negotiations since a 131-day strike preceded an agreement with FairPoint Communications, which was bought by Consolidated last year.

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10 a.m.

Unions representing Consolidated Communications workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have authorized a strike if negotiators fail to reach an agreement on a new contract.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communications Workers of America are engaged in their first negotiations since a 2014 contract that was preceded by a 131-day strike against FairPoint. Illinois-based Consolidated Communications completed its $1.3 billion purchase of FairPoint a year ago.

The two unions together represent 1,000 workers across the three states. Their contract expires Aug. 4.

Peter McLaughlin, co-chair of the unions’ bargaining team, said Wednesday that the two sides are still far from an agreement, despite having been in negotiations since April. He said concerns including outsourcing of work the unions believe will hurt workers and communities.

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