Unions begin 3 days of voting on FairPoint contract

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Striking FairPoint workers are reacting positively to a tentative agreement aimed at ending a four-month strike.

More than 1,700 workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are voting over the next three days during meetings in which they're being briefed on details.

Hundreds of workers arrived for a meeting Friday in Portland chanting "One day longer, one day stronger!"

They said they were told FairPoint would retain a defined pension for current employees and workers' health care contributions would be lower than originally proposed. Also, there would be limits on contract workers, and current workers would get a stipend for health insurance upon retirement.

FairPoint workers in the three states went on strike in October. The agreement follows more than six weeks of federally mediated negotiations.