We were disappointed to see FairPoint spend its money on pricey ads in the Press Herald and other newspapers across New England. In our contract talks, FairPoint has said it doesn’t have the money to maintain good, middle-class jobs, so it must pay some new workers a wage that’s below the poverty level for a family of four. And yet FairPoint seems to have plenty of money for misleading ads.

The contract FairPoint is trying to force on us would undermine job standards for every worker in the region. If FairPoint can turn good telecom jobs into poverty-wage jobs, then all workers are in trouble.

Instead of working with us to find common ground, FairPoint walked away from bargaining without making one substantive compromise. They rejected our offer of over $200 million in cost savings and keep insisting on over $700 million in savage cuts.

FairPoint, a North Carolina company largely owned by Wall Street hedge funds, has tried to demonize its Maine workers by pointing out the good wages many of us make. But the starting wage for a typical telephone technician in Maine is about $560 a week. As we gain experience, our skills are rewarded with better pay. We think that’s a good thing.

It’s painful for us to see customers struggle with the poor service provided by FairPoint’s temp workers. And these problems are just a preview of what people will face if FairPoint succeeds in outsourcing work to cut-rate contractors.

We may not have the deep pockets of FairPoint’s Wall Street owners, but we have a deep commitment to the people of New England. And that’s why we’ll keep fighting till we win a contract with good jobs and quality service for all our customers.

Peter McLaughlin

business manager, IBEW Local 2327, Maine; chair, IBEW System Council T-9, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont

Benton

Don Trementozzi

president, CWA Local 1400, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont

New Market, New Hampshire