PARKERSBURG, W.Va. - UPDATE: 03/17/2018 8:30 P.M.
A West Virginia judge has granted a telecommunications company a temporary restraining order against its protesting employees.
Roughly 1,400 Frontier Communications employees in West Virginia and Ashburn, Virginia, represented by the Communication Workers of America have been striking since March 4 after union leaders and the company failed to reach a contract agreement.
News outlets reported Frontier filed its request for an injunction Thursday. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports for now, it has the order granted by Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Charles King that will be in effect until 5 p.m. Monday.
Frontier's Thursday filing says CWA and its affiliates have "embarked down a dangerous and lawless road."
Ed Mooney, vice president of CWA District 2-13, says union members are following the law and the filing is an attempt to subdue strikers through the courts.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.
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UPDATE: 3/16/2018, 11:05 A.M. (WSAZ) -
The union representing Frontier Communications workers has released a statement on an injunction sought by Frontier.
In a statement released Friday, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union said,
"We believe the request for the injunction is an overreaction by the company to the lawful activity of our striking members. The court has given the parties until Monday evening to come to an agreement on the parameters of that activity during this strike, and we will work to ensure that our members’ rights are protected."
Nearly 1,400 Frontier Communications workers in West Virginia and in Ashburn, Virginia, went on strike early this month.
News outlets report the company filed the request Thursday for the court's "assistance to protect life, limb and property." The filing says the union and its affiliated members have "embarked down a dangerous and lawless road," noting more than 100 incidents of abuse including threatening employees and blocking property access.
CWA members say they have been negotiating with Frontier since last May.
The CWA workers contract, originally set to expire on Aug. 5, 2017, was extended until November 4, 2017, and then extended again until March 3, 2018.
In Friday's news release, the CWA also said,
"The company’s action comes in the face of the tremendous support that residents and business owners across West Virginia have shown for the strike, and shows that the company is worried because that support has spread to Connecticut, where Frontier workers have set up informational pickets at work locations and at Frontier's headquarters. We are strong, we are united, and we are committed to the fight for good jobs and quality service in West Virginia."
The CWA represents 700,000 U.S. workers in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.
UPDATE: 03/15/18 5:00 P.M. (WTAP) -
Brian Zoller has worked at Frontier for 24 years. He currently works in the operative services department. He joins dozens of local workers who've been striking outside Frontier's offices on Market Street in Parkersburg. He says one of the issues that prompted the strike was job security.
"We've got people that just in this office alone (Parkersburg Market Street location) there's like 18 people that were hired since 2014 that could be laid off in 90 days notice and then there's legacy people with Frontier who were with Frontier before they bought West Virginia and some of those people have 30 plus years in and they could be laid off in 90 days notice," Zoller said.
"But yet they've got money to spend on outside contractors to do the jobs that these people should be doing."
Zoller says the telecommunications company needs to also provide high quality service for its customers.
"We want them to invest in us and we want to help them succeed by giving the people good service, there's no reason that we can't," he said.
Frontier Communications workers have been on strike since midnight on March 4. That's when a contract extension ended between the Communications Workers of America and the company.
A Frontier spokesperson said, “Our objective in these negotiations has been, and continues to be, to preserve good jobs with competitive wages and excellent benefits while addressing the needs of our ever-changing business. At this particular juncture, Frontier is electing not to comment further on the details associated with negotiations.”
Zoller said local workers have been striking on Market Street for 24 hours a day since the strike started.
"We'd like to be at work doing what we like to do," he said.
UPDATE: 3/10/18 5:45 P.M. (WTAP) -
It's been one week since Frontier Communications workers went on strike in West Virginia and parts of Virginia after a contract extension expired.
Union workers continued their pickets outside of Frontier on Market Street in Parkersburg Saturday.
The Vice president of Communications Workers of America local 2009 says, “Our message has been clear from the very beginning. This is not about wages, this is not about benefits, this is about saving the jobs of 200 people. High paying good middle class jobs in West Virginia and we're not going to go back until the company lives up to the obligations that they made to West Virginia and these employees to make a reliable and dependable network and it takes all of us to do that."
Monroe says they are extremely grateful of the area teachers. He says they have stopped by their picket lines every day and showed their support any way they could.
ORIGINAL STORY: 3/4/18 7:45 P.M. (WTAP) -
1,400 union members at Frontier Communications have gone on strike in West Virginia and parts of Virginia after a contract extension expired.
Several employees of Frontier Communications lined the streets in front of the downtown Parkersburg office on Sunday. Negotiations between the Communications Workers of America and the company have been ongoing since last May. A contract extension expired on Saturday. Frontier workers say they want fair wages and the proper tools to provide the best service possible to the community.
Eric Gant, an employee out participating in the strike spoke with us about what the workers want from Frontier. "We are fighting for West Virginians, we want Frontier to complete the promises that they made when they met with the PSC and when they met with the state of West Virginia. They said they were going to bring in better products; faster internet speeds and everything and that's something they haven't followed through with. So, we are fighting for our customers and our job securities."
A Frontier spokesperson says during the strike Frontier customers should not expect any disruptions or changes in service. Frontier midwest region senior vice president Greg Stephens says the company would like to continue contract negotiations "and resolve this matter quickly."